Stepping into your purpose: Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, job application tips, and Entrepreneurship, with Brittaney Jenkins

hosted by:

In this episode, Sujani sits down with Brittaney Jenkins, the founder and CEO of Jenkins Public Health Consulting. They talk about working in public health without a graduate degree, job application advice for early career professionals, and Brittaney’s experience with entrepreneurship and creating her own business.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How early experiences with volunteering and job shadowing led Brittaney to pursue public health
  • The pros and cons job shadowing vs. volunteering with an organization
  • Job application advice for early career professionals who may not have a lot of paid work experiences or a graduate degree in their field of interest
  • How the desire for independence led to Brittaney forming her own consulting company focusing on community outreach
  • How Brittaney balanced running her own business in earlier stages with working a corporate position 
    • What prompted Brittaney to move into full time work with her own business
  • The biggest challenges Brittaney faced with running her own business 
  • Tips on attracting and retaining clientele for those interested in entrepreneurship and the importance of social media in this age
  • What a day in Brittaney’s life as a public health consultant looks like

Today’s Guest:

Brittaney Jenkins is a Public Health Practitioner, Consultant, Certified Health Education Specialist, and Mentor. She obtained a BS in Public Health from Ball State University, has over 10+ years of experience in public health, and went from NPO to CEO. Brittaney is the Founder of Jenkins Public Health Consulting, LLC, helping clients develop innovative community outreach strategies to increase awareness and engagement of public health & wellness programs, ultimately improving health outcomes. She also runs a Public Health Mentor program for current and aspiring public health professionals. Brittaney is originally from Indianapolis, IN, now residing in Birmingham, AL.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript

Brittaney 0:00
When you don’t have paid experience in the field, make sure you’re at least getting volunteer experiences that are related to your field of work. So that when there is a job opportunity, you can still sell yourself of having that knowledge base, right? You might not have the paid work, or the degree, but you have the knowledge base, and sometimes that’s what they need, right.

Sujani 0:25
Welcome to PH SPOTlight, a community for you to build your public health career with. Join Us weekly right here. And I’ll be here too, your host Sujani Siva, from PH SPOT. Hey, Brittaney, and welcome to the PH SPOT podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today to yeah, share your journey, share some great advice and tips that you’re going to throw our way. I think I in various different topics. So I’m very excited to get into it all.

Brittaney 0:58
Same. Thank you so much for having me.

Sujani 1:00
So the first question I love to start with with any of my guests is asking them how they discovered the field of public health and what kind of prompted them to establish a career in that field. And just based on where you’ve kind of like done your training and in the work that you’ve done, I think you might be one of the few people that I’ve come across who actually has an undergraduate degree in public health. So I’m very much curious to hear like, how did you find out about public health at such a young period of your career?

Brittaney 1:37
Oh, man, that’s interesting. But I got into public health, and maybe some people who are familiar with your podcasts have heard me on others. I got into public health at a very young age, because my grandparents actually put us in volunteering opportunities, philanthropy, fundraising, that was our lifestyle. And it was something that we really did enjoy. It was never anything that we were like, ugh, another thing we have to do, it was something in our hearts that made us feel that we need to serve people who are less fortunate. A lot of times we were at the missions, folding clothes, or serving food, or fundraising for Haitians family. And that was very impactful to me and my siblings, and we still do things today to get back in our community. So for me, that was my like entryway into public health and serving. And also one of the individuals at my church at that time, his wife was a pediatric doctor, and I had the opportunity to shadow her one day. And after that, I was like, oh, I want to be a pediatric surgeon. This is exactly what I want to do. I was like 14 years old, seeking all these type of job shadowing opportunities. And I remember this doctor saying, you’re way too young to be going this hard right now. Like, enjoy your childhood, you know.

Sujani 2:55

Brittaney 2:56
I actually enjoy the opportunities that hospitals actually give you to job shadow in different parts of their hospitals. So if that’s something people aren’t doing, definitely look into that. Now with COVID. And everything, they might be less strict at this time. But that’s a great way to kind of get some visual experience and possible hands on experience. And further into my life and career. Public Health actually wasn’t well known. Initially, I went to Indiana State University located in Terre Haute, Indiana, and their program was dealing with some challenges their nursing programs, so I transferred to Ball State University. And that’s where I discovered public health because all my credits didn’t transfer. And I was gonna have to do additional time. And I’m like, what else can I do? And I knew I love to serve. And public health was a big topic at Ball State, but even my network of professionals, healthcare professionals was like, no, just be a nurse, you know, just be a doctor. They didn’t think public health will go anywhere. But I’m so happy I stuck to what I want to do. It’s really led to many fulfilling opportunities. And I’ve had so many amazing experiences in the field of public health, working and volunteering.

Sujani 4:05
That’s so wonderful that you had those opportunities at such a young age, and for you to be able to, like, make those connections at a young age, right? I mean, yeah, like, where I’m in Canada and in the province I’m in, in Ontario, in high school, we have to do a number of hours for volunteering. I’m not sure if it’s the same in the States. But you know, I know a lot of the people within my network, you kind of just wanted to get those hours done out of the way, regardless of where it is, but for you to, like make those connections and, like almost discovered that purpose that was within you is fascinating at such a young age.

Brittaney 4:43
Yes. And for what I do as a business. I think meaningful connections are so important. And like you said, you know, we were just getting those hours to fulfill the requirement but when you feel more part of it and have a real purpose behind it, it will change your life. You’ll see things differently. You will think back on that experience, whether it was a requirement or not, and say, Wow, that really opened my eyes to something, whether it was a learning experience, or a change in your path to pursue that as a career. So, being intentional about the decisions you make is definitely important. Even if you don’t think it matters, I think everything matters, and it’s gonna come full circle one day.

Sujani 5:20
when you were looking into Ball State, were you thinking, Okay, let me see if my nursing training that I had at Indiana State will kind of transfer over to Ball State. And then as you’re scrolling through the different programs, you’re like, Oh, what is this? What is public health? Let me look into it more? Or were you already making those connections and had discovered that there was this area of work called Public Health? And then seeing how the work that you did with your grandparents with the volunteering or the job shadowing at the hospitals, how they all played a role within that, like larger field of public health? Like how did that connection, and then decision to pursue that bachelor’s degree take place?

Brittaney 6:00
Yeah, so it was interesting. It was a little heartbreaking, actually, when I contacted mostly and the transition didn’t happen the way the conversation was, so I came to Ball State thinking I was going to, you know, pursue nursing and the credits didn’t transfer. And I’m like, Okay, what else can I do? Let’s think about respiratory therapy. And when I started to job shadow at the hospital in Muncie, Indiana, that’s where Ball State is located. I realized there was so many sick people, I was overwhelmed. I was crying all the time. Like it was an emotional impact on me to see young children, intubated. Adults, you know, saying goodbye to their parents, like, it was very traumatizing to me. And it was in that moment where I realized a lot of these people are dying from things that could have been prevented through education or proper resources. And that’s then when I found out about public health, it was Health Education and Promotion at Ball State University. Having that relationship with those professors in that department had still I communicate with them to this day, they have been a big factor in my confidence and my success and my knowledge, for sure.

Sujani 7:08
Yeah, I think this having those mentors, so early on in your career really helps to set the stage for the future, right. I keep hearing you talk about job shadowing. And I think I don’t hear it enough in the people that I speak with, or the early professionals that I mentor, you had such a early experience to step into job shadowing. And I think it was like, well, before you started your undergraduate degree, and then it sounds like you carry that on through your your degree. And I’m sure you did that even later on. Yeah, I don’t know, do you hear that often? Like, I feel like I don’t.

Brittaney 7:45
I don’t either. And you know, that’s a great way to get experience when you aren’t able to do an internship, right? A lot of the times you’re doing an internship, your senior year of college, which I think you should even consider them sooner than that. But Job shadowing is a great thing to do in the in the midst or in between that time to get experienced and make sure that you’re not waiting to your senior year to get that hands on experience to realize that’s not what you want to do. You get hours, you can ask the hospital to sign off on you’re getting hours if that’s a requirement, or you can job shadowing just be helpful to that team for free. And I think sometimes, you know, as you’re an emerging leader, public health professional, you need to get that free experience by supporting different teams in hospitals and local clinics, etc.

Sujani 8:28
Yeah, have you found that it’s been easier to get job shadowing opportunities versus volunteer opportunities, like I’m just wondering, like, which one would be easier for someone to go and pitch to if they’re interested in kind of learning about what an organization or an individual does in their role?

Brittaney 8:46
Volunteering would definitely be easier, because when it comes to job shadowing, you run into HIPAA, when it comes to public health, you run into HIPAA, so you would likely have to get HIPAA training from that organization, be on boarded, is almost the same way as staff in some cases, not all. But HIPAA is kind of the thing that people can run into when it comes to job shadowing. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no opportunity. You just have to put it out there, right? If you don’t ask, you won’t know. So just ask and get to know and keep moving forward or say, you know, if you don’t have a resource, can you share one with me? Or if I can’t intern or shadow with you, can you share a resource with me?

Sujani 9:23
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the fears and messages around that we get that PH SPOT are individuals thinking they absolutely need further studies, and especially like a master’s degree in public health in order to land a public health job and just looking at the path that you’ve taken. You’ve been able to build a very successful career in public health with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health Science. And it looks like immediately after graduation, you are able to enter the workforce and take on a public health role. And maybe you can tell us a bit about like how that transition from being a student into the workforce took place in your experience job searching with a bachelor’s degree.

Brittaney 10:07
I just really want to talk about my experience more than I realized or my journey. But in college, when I definitely was pursuing public health as an degree, I had the internship opportunity. And I was very intentional about what I wanted to where I wanted to intern. And I was always interested in health departments, because they have all these different programs, I knew that I could probably touch a lot of those different programs to get experience. And so I got in at a local health department in Muncie, Indiana, great experience, absolutely awesome experience. And during that time, my supervisor wasn’t sure if I was ready to take on a lot of different responsibilities. And I said, I want it all. I want to develop nutrition programs, I want to develop presentations and lunch and learns and do environmental health inspections, and I wanted to do everything. And so that’s exactly what she allowed me to do. So it gave me a lot of experience. And through those experiences, I met an environmental health specialist at the State Department of Health in Indiana. And he gave me an opportunity to work on their environmental health team. Like he knew someone who would let me get on possibly if I, you know, applied and interviewed and everything. And I interviewed and I landed that job. So I think with those connections, it’s hard, right? Not everyone’s outgoing, some people are shy, some people may not know who to talk to. But if you start talking to someone, they say, Hey, I actually know this person who I can introduce you to. And that’s exactly what happened. That led me to actually being hired in that role prior to graduation of my bachelor’s degree.

Sujani 11:37
That internship where you kind of explained that you asked your manager to let you do like everything you possibly can. Was that part of your Ball State University Program at the bachelors level, like you were expected to do an internship or is it something that you pursued on your own?

Brittaney 11:51
That was a requirement of my degree? Yes. So that was the last four months of my degree. And it turned out to be great. And I was like, really nervous. I’m like, I don’t want to do these people who never find a job after college. So I’m doing everything I can volunteering with the American Red Cross writing grants for them stepping outside of my showing this meeting every single person to say, hey, it’s their job opportunity. So meeting, this guy was awesome. And he introduced me to another person in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I was able to work at the Marion County Public Health Department. And I was able to be an environmental health specialist for them, a community health worker, chronic disease health educator. And those experiences have shaped me to who I am today, because that was the most amazing organization to work for ever.

Sujani 12:39
Yeah, you spent about three years at the Marion County Public Health Department.

Brittaney 12:44
Yes, yes, I did. And that’s where a good work culture is, at least that was my experience with them. And I missed that, you know, that’s a place that gives you plenty opportunity. They support continuing education, it was a great organization to work for.

Sujani 13:00
I guess, how you got introduced to the hiring manager. And we can’t say enough about just putting yourself out there talking to people. Because, you know, there’s this idea of the hidden job market, which are jobs that are needing to be filled, but they’re never really posted publicly on the job boards that we’re always looking at. So that’s like a different conversation. But then, you know, you get introduced to this manager who is looking for somebody, how did you position yourself as someone who, you know, is qualified, can do this role, just coming out of school. And so like for our listeners, whether they are graduating from their bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree or PhD degree, and you know, on paper, it seems like they may not have, quote, unquote, full time work experience, what was your experience, kind of selling yourself and being the best candidate for them?

Brittaney 13:55
Yes, and I’ll touch on both. So from my experience, my way of pitching to the hiring manager was the experience that I gained through college by volunteering in relatable fields of work. So as I mentioned, the American Red Cross, I did things with them. They have an environmental aspect to their work, like preventing home fires, they have the home fire campaign, and then we educate children about those different topics as well. And I had an opportunity to do that. And then also, my internship was super beneficial to my entire life, things that I still think about today. And so I was able to position myself as someone who’s willing to learn their different processes. I talked about my experience with the American Red Cross my talk about my experience growing up. So I think when you don’t have paid experience in the field, make sure you’re at least getting volunteer experiences that are related to your field of work, so that when there is a job opportunity, you can still sell yourself of having that knowledge base, right. You might not have the paid work or the degree, but you have the knowledge base and sometimes that’s what they need, right? You mentioned briefly before that there’s people who have all the degrees, but sometimes they do like the experience. And so it can go both ways, right? So you want to be prepared and with a degree, if possible. But if you don’t have you know, the degree, then definitely have that experience and the knowledge base.

Sujani 15:16
Absolutely. I think we put all of the emphasis on paid experience when we go to pitch ourselves for a role whether you know, pitching in the sense of when we’re speaking to a manager, or we’re like submitting a cover letter or resume. And I think we don’t put enough emphasis on some of the other work that we’ve done in our life.

Brittaney 15:37

Sujani 15:37
And, you know, one story that comes to mind, I was speaking with an early professional, I think she had just graduated from grad school. And she started with the phrase like, I have no work experience, like, I have no idea how you can apply to these jobs. And then she goes on to tell me about these, like incredible things that she had done in school. You know, one of them was something about they had done a project, they had even like, presented it to the medical health officer, then they had like, work together to work on like a policy document. And that was like, wow, like, that’s a lot of experience that public health departments or wherever you wanted to work they could use and just being able to, I think, show that you do have the skills and leveraging some of the work that you’ve done in school or outside and your volunteer experience, or even you know, I’ve met a lot of people recently, just through pure passion has started, like social media accounts, during the pandemic, to really like educate the public on vaccination or the pandemic itself. And like translating scientific information, I think a lot of that stuff should make its way into your application.

Brittaney 16:47
Absolutely. There’s a lady I know on social media, who was hired by a fortune 500 company based on the education she provides on her social media, she does not have the degree that they have required, but she shows the expertise by her language that she’s speaking in that field. So great point, it’s not always about, you know, the actual experience and definitely use your undergrad classes. Because in most public health courses, you are supposed to develop a program. So talk about that process of developing a program, right? If you’re looking for that type of position. Grant writing grant writing was a piece of undergrad, at least for me, and I swore I would never do that. But I was a grant writer for six, seven years. I’ll never say never.

Sujani 17:32
Yeah, no. And I am just like thinking I’m so glad I have you on the podcast, because I get this question quite a bit about, you know, landing a job right out of undergrad, and really great to see that you were able to build such a great career. Which takes me to you know, I think after about just under three years at Marion County Public Health, you decided to move on to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Yeah. So how did that transition take place?

Brittaney 17:59
Yes, so my husband actually had an opportunity, his company transferred us to Nashville, Tennessee. And I’m thinking I’ve never had to really transfer from a different company. So I’m like, What am I going to tell these people, I want them to know that I’m here to stay. And I also knew that, hey, any position I take from here on, I’m gonna level up, I don’t want to just come in at the same rate, like, there’s no reason for me to look for the same pay or the same type of position, I want something greater. And I saw this opportunity at Vanderbilt. I think I met most of the requirements, but not all of them. And that’s a good thing to apply for it actually had forgot to apply for it that was applying to so many positions and got the position as the director of community outreach, which I would say that position will be called director grants. Because I mainly wrote grants, and that was handled local, state and federal funding. So that was a great opportunity for me as well.

Sujani 18:56
I love that you said that you told yourself you’re gonna level up with this new position.

Brittaney 19:02
Yes, initially, we were saying we want to make at least what I was making in my prior position at the health department, right? I don’t want to make more than that. Like, I don’t have to make less I’m not in a desperate situation, because we were getting a pay raise in the family, but still wanted to make sure we’re bringing in income as well. But yeah, so I went for the big position. And I got it. And I was very grateful for that. And, you know, it’s interesting, my American Red Cross experience as a volunteer, educating specifically about poisonings, I think, is what put the nail in the coffin. And you could say for that interview, and so that goes again to tell individuals that volunteer experience can really actually be a big asset to you. And I think it allowed me to get that director level position.

Sujani 19:46
That’s amazing. Yeah. When something on your resume that you don’t even consider as being that final like cherry on top. Yeah, that makes you kind of smile a little, right?

Brittaney 19:56
Absolutely. It’s like a little bragging, you know?

Sujani 19:59

Brittaney 19:59

  • but yeah, yeah, awesome experience, for sure.

Sujani 20:04
Yeah, I remember an interview I’d done a long time ago, they had, like, picked out this one single bullet from one of my internships and they’re like, Oh, tell me how you got 80% participation rate from like, the surveys that you administered? And I’m thinking myself, like, when was that? Like, when did I do? So yeah, no, it really goes to show what you put on your resume, like they read it. And then some things that you don’t think is gonna hit it home, like really does for for certain positions.

Brittaney 20:33
Absolutely. And you made a great point, you were very specific about that outcome. 80%. I’ve interviewed people in three different states, you know, working for organization, and a lot of people, we don’t have resumes that are results driven. And specific.

Sujani 20:48

Brittaney 20:48
Naming the job description does not tell the employer anything about your abilities or your skills or competencies.

Sujani 20:54

Brittaney 20:55
So being very specific with providing results, even if you don’t have a result of what like increasing, you know, staff engagement by 80%. How many people were on your team that you managed? Or how many programs did you put out? Or how often did you put the program out? Was it by monthly or annually? We won’t know that. Right? So being very specific about the things that you did in your role if you sent emails to 3000 healthcare professionals, every week, put that on there be very specific.

Sujani 21:23
Yeah, I feel like we’re getting into like, completely different topic here, which is great. I heard you also say something like when you were applying to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the director role you in passing said, I didn’t meet all of the qualifications they were looking for. But I still went ahead and applied. Right? That’s such a such an important point to also discuss when it comes to job applications.

Brittaney 21:48
Yes, I agree with that people think you should meet every single requirement. And leadership says, you know, if you meet every single requirement, then you probably are overqualified. So if you meet the requirements, that’s great. If you don’t meet all of them, that’s fine to still apply. You never know who they’re looking for. You never know if what you say to them, it’s gonna resonate so much that they want to choose you, even if you have less degrees or experience in the other individual.

Sujani 22:13
I know this was probably a number of years ago, but do you recall how many of the bullets you met and you didn’t meet?

Brittaney 22:20
I know, they want it federal level experience with managing grants, I had never had federal level grant management experience. So that’s, NIH, I did not have that experience. And I was a little intimidated by that. I’m like, what is that? How different is that, but I did have local grants that I wrote. And the difference really is just the amount of contracts. And there’s a lot more requirements at the federal level, I would say for sure. But it’s all manageable.

Sujani 22:46
Yeah. I think like Just hearing that attitude in your voice like, Yeah, I mean, like, I can do it. That’s what’s important. And like, never do a job application. When you don’t have like, extreme confidence that day and yourself. And you’re not in a good mood, I guess.

Brittaney 23:01
Yeah, or call someone who’s going to just hype you up and say, Hey, you can do it. Just put action behind everything on your resume, put results, and you’re gonna be just fine. If they don’t hire you, they missed out. That’s what I say.

Sujani 23:14
And like, read your resume back to yourself. And you’ll be shocked at like, wow, like I did all of that. Right? Like, sometimes we forget, because like, those bullets have just stayed there for years. And you think, okay, yeah, it’s just my resume. But when you start reading and reflecting on the actual work that you did, and the impact that you had, and the results that you drove for those organizations that should hype you up.

Brittaney 23:33
It does. And oftentimes, I don’t really speak a lot about myself. It’s more so about my business and community outreach. Even being on here today is a reminder of like, how things have been great. And my journey. I mean, there’s been plenty of challenges. I could talk all day about that. But looking back, it looks really good.

Sujani 23:52
Yeah, yeah, I hear that, like, I’ll hear like a lot of my guests. After we’re done recording go, wow, that was really nice. I got to reflect a bit on where I’ve been and how I got to where I am, which is really wonderful.

Brittaney 24:04

Sujani 24:04
Yeah, that kind of takes us to, you know where you are today. And right now you run your own consulting firm, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the founder and CEO of Jenkins, Public Health Consulting. And I think there was like a bit of overlap between your consulting firm and you being the director at one of the other organizations. And, yeah, maybe we can start by asking you like, what drove you to want to pursue entrepreneurship or running your own consulting firm? And then we’ll get into a bit about when you decided you wanted to start this because I think you pretty much started consulting two years after graduation, and then you kind of like, ran the firm for about four years. And just a few months ago, you decided, you know, you’re gonna go all in and do this full time. So yeah, tell us a bit about that journey of being an entrepreneur.

Brittaney 25:02
There’s not a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, actually. But I knew I wanted to build, not necessarily a legacy. I was thinking at that time, but I wanted to have my own independence to do exactly what was in my heart to do that, I felt like I wasn’t being fulfilled with other organizations. So I wanted to do the type of work based on my personal mission versus serving someone else’s mission. And that’s where I was doing Jenkins, Public Health Consulting. And initially, I was helping other organizations with grant writing, because my experience with the Red Cross was awesome. And then my other experiences managing projects. So I did that initially in the 2018 timeframe. And then I’m seeing a lot of the times with, with grant writing that they’re missing the community outreach piece, which to me is like the most fun and overlooked part of your, your application and your program. I like to tell people that not only does the community benefit from community outreach, but so does the organization. Because when your organization has intentional outreach, and they’re actually recording the data properly, the organization is going to benefit as well, and partnerships and funding. And then the community is going to benefit through access to resources, improved health outcomes, independence, and whatever that might look like for those different communities. So that’s then why I transitioned my business to focus specifically on community outreach, engagement and overall community impact.

Sujani 26:29
When you started dabbling into I guess, your consulting firm, I think it was four years ago, how did you balance both work and your business? And then how was that experience?

Brittaney 26:42
Yes. So the way I balanced work and corporate was, when it was five o’clock or four o’clock, whatever time I was off, I was off, unless my employer had asked me to stay later or anything, I was off and straight to my next client, I made use of my lunch breaks. And I will take meetings in my car, outside, when I would go on my walk, I will have those client meetings and potential clients was fine at that time. So taking advantage of my time off in my breaks is really how I was able to balance corporate and my business before I was able to quit full time.

Sujani 27:17
Did you not feel, you know, just tired at the end of the day, after a long day at work?

Brittaney 27:23
You know, my work in my past positions and corporate, I don’t feel like they were very like energy, like draining. Especially this last role. I was really in the office mostly, which is why like community outreach means a lot to me, I like to be in the face of people, whether it’s online or in person. But I feel as if when I was working on my business, I gave me a different type of energy. I was always excited to talk about it. I couldn’t wait to connect the next person where it was a potential client, or person I was mentoring.

Sujani 27:52
Yeah, I think back to the early days, when I launched PH SPOT, like, I was excited to like, stay up till midnight after work to like really like work on a blog or the website or whatever it was, and, and, you know, to your point, where you were saying you wanted independence to work on your own mission, and I think that passion to work towards that mission? Is what like really gives you the energy, right?

Brittaney 28:16
Yes, it does. It does.

Sujani 28:19
You kind of alluded to challenges, I think when we’re talking about your corporate career, but maybe I might ask you just in the four years of running your business today, what are some challenges that you’ve had to face with that?

Brittaney 28:35
So the most interesting challenge that I faced in my business was typically when you’re presenting a program to the community, that communities are this thing, right? When you’re working for corporate, like you don’t have to do the marketing? Well, maybe you do. But it’s it comes a little bit easier, because you’re not specifically doing marketing by yourself. You’re not developing the program by yourself. You’re not doing all the aspects of success, fully implementing a program by yourself. So as a business owner now having to make sure that a new community in Birmingham, Alabama, who I know not one person here, knows about my business, that I market effectively to have participation in my business, that I actually, you know, make income, and then retention, making sure clients come back or they’re excited to share. That has been the biggest challenge, I will say so far, is reestablishing my business in multiple states. But even now, especially in Birmingham, where I don’t know anyone, but I’m very confident. I actually plan to get a billboard.

Sujani 29:35
Oh, yeah.

Brittaney 29:35
Now that I’ve said it out loud, I think I’d have to but I have to know, right? I think that would be the most impactful way for me to be in a new city and state and plan a to do a workshop here to reach those for profit and nonprofits with a public health or wellness program to teach them all things about community outreach.

Sujani 29:53
Wow. I guess my question is around getting new clients, right. That’s the biggest I’ll say maybe like pain point, when someone considers starting a business, we’ll narrow down to the field of public health. If your client is like a not for profit or a for profit, or its direct to consumer, regardless of that, like the biggest barrier for anyone to even like consider jumping into entrepreneurship is this idea of getting a client. And for you, you know, you probably have different challenges now, like you’ve ran the business for four years, you kind of know the process of getting a client for your business. But then this new challenge, now that you’re in a new city, comes from finding local clients. But like, yeah, just overall, in the four years of experience, what are some tips or advice you could give to folks who may be considering, you know, starting a consulting firm, or even maybe just a business in public health around this, like fear of, I’m never going to find enough clients to sustain my business, for example?

Brittaney 30:56
Yes, I will say showing up online is definitely number one, that’s where everyone is, you know, until you have that team that can help you with your marketing and posting on multiple social media platforms, I will say cold calling has been really successful for me. And then making sure that don’t be afraid to tell your last employer that you’re interested in working with him. I’m currently in that process with former employers, and they know me. And they know, the work that I did with them was quality work. And now they see all that I have to offer as a consulting firm. So reaching out to old contacts, telling your friends Hey, share myself with your network. That means your friends and your current job, if it relates to what you’re working on. Yeah, prospecting, finding potential clients, I would say cold calling and YouTube, Pinterest are the two top platforms. I actually have a video coming out on YouTube, probably today, if I get it uploaded. So people can follow me on YouTube. And I’m also on Instagram, but I’m not there 100% all the time. I do more. So mentoring promotion on my Instagram. With my client work. I’m really focused on working with them. I haven’t made much content on that.

Sujani 32:07
Yeah, yeah, it’s almost like we forget, even if like our clients, our businesses or not for profit organizations, or university, like whoever they may be, there’s still people behind those organizations. And those people live on some sort of internet platform, whether it’s on social media, or they’re doing a Google search. So like, you need to get in front of them in the spaces that they’re kind of interacting with.

Brittaney 32:35
Absolutely, to a great point. Sometimes you connect with like the CDC, right? But there might be staff who are just watching social media might find your profile, and say, Hey, we actually love this information that they put out. Well, you definitely want to be on social media. I’m not really big on ads, because I like the organic reach. And that’s a whole different conversation, but cold calls and social media.

Sujani 32:58
Do you remember who your first client was? I mean, you don’t need to name them. But just like how you found them how you started working with them.

Brittaney 33:06
I’m trying to figure out how I found him. I definitely remember the engagement. It was really good. I’m not sure how I found them, actually. But yeah, it turned out to be really good. It was a grant writing opportunity to help a school that was newly developed. And they just wanted to have assistance on grant writing. And I think I did well, they said I did well. And that was that.

Sujani 33:30
Do you find that most of your success, you said has been like cold calling and interactions through social media. When you do like attract someone, I guess, do you kind of just say, Hey, are you interested in working with me, these are the services that I offer, is that kind of the pitch that you go with?

Brittaney 33:46
A lot of these things have been through word of mouth, I’ve received a lot of opportunities through word of mouth. And then even actually, with the AmeriCorps, how they have the Public Health Corps now, I had shared that in September, with every single person on my network. And one of the person individuals that I shared with actually hired me to help them implement that, because I shared it with them in September. So that was crazy, that I had that opportunity. And I was just being a resource person. And so I think, you know, being mindful of those things too.

Sujani 34:15
what does the day look like now that you’re a full time entrepreneur, you know, working on your business?

Brittaney 34:23
A full day for me, looks like filming. I have an online course that I’m perfecting, and it’s for nonprofits and for profits for the public health and wellness program. And it’s focusing specifically on community outreach. I’m also always talking to individuals about mentorships. I think that’s super important to have a mentor and someone who has at least the experience or the knowledge or motivation to mentor you. And so most of the time I’m curating content for that as well. So working with clients, reaching out to clients and creating content is pretty much my daily task. I’m working on work life balance, even as an entrepreneur.

Sujani 35:06
Yeah. What prompted you to go full time into entrepreneurship? Like, I think you’ve been full time for about four months now?

Brittaney 35:16

Sujani 35:16
It was a recent decision. And we’re recording this towards the end of the summer here in North America. And we’re going to air this probably towards the end of the year. But, you know, you you made this decision, I guess, set the ending of spring, what was the reason like what what pushed you?

Brittaney 35:32
You know, I’ve been wanting to quit corporate probably for three or four years, it’s been a long time. And I think it was more so out of fear not to leave corporate because corporate has its way of making you feel like, okay, you have the salary, you have the benefits, you have the team, I felt like corporate instilled fear in me personally, that I wasn’t able to, like, actually go out and do things on my own. When it came to a business, it was almost like a forbidden filling. But I’ve been wanting to quit for a very long time to step out into my purpose, which is Jenkins, Public Health Consulting. And the opportunity for me to do that was my husband, again, he received a job opportunity for us to move to Birmingham, Alabama, with a new company. And I actually just had a baby in December. And they sent the offer letter, probably two days before I had the baby. And he’s like, do you want to do this, I’m like, let’s go, you know. And I didn’t think I will be leaving corporate at that time. But it wasn’t sustainable for me to work remote with that position. So I was excited. I was like, Yes, I’m leaving corporate. And it was scary too, right, because now you have to like really make sure you’re you’re doing your thing. As a full time entrepreneur, and mother, and wife and homeowner, and all these different things in life that you know requires you to show up.

Sujani 36:49
Regardless of what your passion is, and what your purpose is that you want to step into. Just thinking about it constantly which you were over the past, like four years when you were actively working on your business. And you have that preparation, and you’re kind of like thinking about it all the time. And then when that opportunity hits, you know, it’s the time and you’re ready to jump into it.

Brittaney 37:10
Yes, I was ready to submit that LinkedIn posts that I posted that I’m you know, full time, I wanted to submit it the day I left, but I’m like, let me wait at least. So I’ve been eager for a very long time. And you know, it’s just like our job a hard job, it’s going to be challenging, it’s going to have its rewards. I think it’s the same thing for entrepreneurship, it’s a lot harder, because you have to manage everything on your own. Until you get to a team. It feels different. It feels like you’re serving your purpose, your passion. And it’s a lot more exciting to talk about. I mean, I was very excited to talk about chronic disease prevention. When I worked for the health department that was my jam still is. But when you talk about your business and what you’re doing, it’s a little bit different.

Sujani 37:54
Yeah, no, I totally feel that. And yeah, I love meeting people who are entrepreneurs, just, you know, having an idea, bringing that to life, like that whole process just like excites me. And they want to keep talking to the individual. So for our listeners who are like, Oh, maybe you want to like try this idea I have that there’s like a small group of individuals in public health doing this work. And we’re always looking for more. So this is your like, calling to just dabble into it. And you know, like Brittaney, you did, it didn’t have to be so scary when you started, right? Like you’re still working, whether it whether you’re a student, or you’re employed with like a stable job, just start and then you kind of you know, pivot and figure out what it is that you like, don’t like and then build it in a way that fits your purpose.

Brittaney 38:40
Absolutely, and a good point to make, and I hear this all the time, people think, Oh, I’m gonna just quit my nine to five and start a company, don’t let that nine to five, support your company, your business until you are able to quit your job. So for me, my nine to five was actually getting in the way of my clients. That means I was losing money by working for corporate and I’m just like, Okay, it’s time for me to go. And when that opportunity came, I was running out the door. I think I put a tik tok up, I had to send it to you. It was so funny. To me at least it didn’t go viral.

Sujani 39:13
Share it with us. We’ll make it go viral.

Brittaney 39:16
I was so excited to know that. On the other end of things, I wouldn’t be returning back to corporate. But the corporate definitely has its benefits. And as I mentioned, like corporate find your business until you can take that financial step to leave.

Sujani 39:29
Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting, because this morning, I recorded an episode and we kind of talked about this idea of intrapreneurship where you can like, find opportunities within the organization that you currently are at and like find ways to innovate and push things forward there. And this afternoon, I’m talking about entrepreneurship. So yeah, really nice day for me because it’s topics that I absolutely love talking about. Thank you so much, Brittaney. I mean, I can’t believe like the full hour so that we’d been together flew by, which is so wonderful. And I’m sure I’ll be bringing you on again just to hear more about your journey and chat with you a bit more.

Brittaney 40:09
Would love that, absolutely love that.

Sujani 40:14
Hey, I hope you enjoyed that episode. And if you want to get the links are information mentioned in today’s episode, you can head over to And we’ll have everything there for you. And before you go, I want to tell you about the public health career club. So if you’ve been looking for a place to connect and build meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, from all around the world, you should join us in the public health career club. We launched the club with the vision of becoming the number one hangout spot dedicated to building and growing your dream public health career. And in addition to being able to connect and build those meaningful relationships with other public health professionals, the club also offers other great resources for your career growth and success, like mindset coaching, job preparation, clinics, and career growth strategy sessions in the form of trainings and talks, all delivered by experts and inspiring individuals in these areas. So if you want to learn more, or want to join the club, you can visit our page at And we’ll have all the information there. And you know, as a space that’s being intentionally curated to bring together like minded public health professionals who are not only there to push themselves to become the best versions of themselves, but also each other. And with that, I can’t wait to see how this is going to have a ripple effect in the world as we all work together to better the health of our populations and just have immense impact in the world. And I hope you’ll be joining us in the public health career club.


About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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