Business Women’s Day: Jill Tracy on Leading with Empathy and Living Your Life

September 22, 2020

Behind any thriving community are successful businesses, and behind these successful businesses are often the women who made them that way.

September 22nd marks American Business Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of businesswomen across the nation. In honor of this day, I spoke with BSTRO’s own founder, CEO, and all around she-wolf, Jill B. Tracy.

Why did you decide to start BSTRO?

It wasn’t actually intentional. While I was taking time off to consider where I wanted to take my career, people in my network kept reaching out for marketing advice and for help designing their logos, sales materials, startup collateral. While I sat at my kitchen table pondering my future, I did some marcom consulting. As it got busier, I brought in some great creative folks to help me. Within a few months, I had 8 people sitting with me in my little house in Bernal Heights, SF, doing ad campaigns and helping entrepreneurs launch their companies. At that point, I realized it wasn’t just “a little consulting” so I filed for a business license and made us an agency.

Why is it important for women to start their own business?

For me it was and is important because I want a certain degree of freedom and flexibility to create my own life. The corporate jobs I had had, there wasn’t yet the flexibility and understanding about how to embrace the alternative ways women sometimes have to work to get their jobs done. I work a ton but I’ve had times when I couldn’t physically show up during business hours because I needed to be with my family. I got the work done, but it was not in a traditional manner. Through BSTRO I’ve been fortunate to have hired a great team that lead us to success when I am not able to.

I’ve also been able to support other women at my company so that they can take care of the complicated things that life has thrown at them. That feels good. I am not sure how other small businesses show up for their employees but I am proud to be a woman who tries to lead with empathy and give my team time to “do life” and not just take care of business. We play the long game and invest in relationships. So far, it’s been paying off.

Who is one businesswoman that inspires you?

Too many to count – saying just one is too hard. When I was growing up, there was only one mom who had her own business, and she was also the only mom who had a “white collar job”. Her name was Andrea Moss and she had an answering service business. Back in the day, when businesses were closed, and someone called, there used to be a service that screened the important calls — like emergencies to doctors or very important business calls – and got them to the right people. This was WAY before there were even pagers. Andrea was a boss all the time. We feared and adored her. There was no one in my town like her. In my early career, I was fortunate enough to work for Gina Bianchini, at her first startup. Gina was a magnetic force that brought ideas together and made people believe that magic could happen. It’s no surprise that to this day she’s consistently on the list of most influential women in Silicon Valley.

What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Hire well and delegate often so you can live your life.

To learn more about BSTRO’s work culture or for bite-sized digital marketing tips, follow us on Instagram @creativebstro.