By: Sydney Meister, GWWIB Ambassador
Courtenay Jagel graduated from Skidmore in 2011 with a degree in English. After working with Ootra Boutique (located both in Chappaqua, NY and Naperville, IL) in 2013, she became COO of the company in the beginning of 2015. A recently married woman living in Connecticut, she has her eyes peeled for new business opportunities – most recently, a reality TV show about her boutique and life on the road working pop-up shops across the country.
What do you think most helped to shaped your success after school?
I think my commitment to having a job, any job, helped me after graduation. I was an English major and I had no clear career path in front of me, so I just started working wherever I found an opportunity. I went from working on a farm, to bartending, to working in a bakery before I found my place with Ootra. I see each one of those jobs as a stepping-stone to where I am now.
How have unexpected changes and adversity further motivated you in your business endeavors?
I've found that unexpected changes and adversity really show the tenacity of a person and of a company. When an event doesn't go as planned I immediately question what went wrong and how we can approach the situation differently in the future or even if we have to change paths completely.
What advice would you give to an undergraduate student with an entrepreneurial spirit?
I would tell undergraduates to keep your eyes open and meet as many people as you can. You never know who it is you're going to meet.
What is something that you live by?
I always try to surround myself with positive and motivated people. It's incredible how much one person's negative energy can impact the whole team.