Women in Business: Jay Amargós

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Jay Amargós
Founder and Chief Mindful Officer
i’mindful Studio LLC
Residence: Bentonville
Education: B.B.M. and M.B.A., University of Phoenix
Professional background: Amargós started i’mindful Studio on April 1, 2016. She was previously head of minority small business inclusion at Startup Junkie Consulting. Before that, she was chief operating officer at GPA and vice president of operations at ALPFA. Before that, she worked for Arvest Bank for 12 years, eventually becoming vice president.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made? Best: First, is marrying my husband of 22 years, followed by moving to Arkansas, and third, becoming an entrepreneur and pursuing my dream of opening i’mindful. Worst: Not taking care of my health and ignoring the signs that had always been there. Not taking care of this led to a few bad decisions in my life.

What was your dream job as a child and why? I loved entertaining people as a child, so when I role-played I was always a singer or an actor. People have always been an important part of me being happy.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? Ourselves standing in our own way. Lack of confidence that we build by our own fears and by allowing others to put fear in us. Also, we must be assertive. This is something I learned pretty late into my career. Assertiveness will give you confidence and will let others see you are confident.

What woman inspires you and why? My mother … her resilience, savviness and resourcefulness.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women following you? I don’t know if we will have more challenges than we have already. Women are becoming, smarter, faster, more resilient and are making their own path. I think challenges will always be there, but I believe women will always find a way to problem solve.

How do you spend your free time? I do a lot of reading in my free time, definitely spend time with my family. My son is my everything — my biggest gift in life, and I spend as much time as I can with him. I am very intentional about this. I also love helping others, so I spend a lot of time consulting and mentoring others.

What’s something about you others would find surprising? I am a pretty open book, so I don’t know if there is much my friends and family do not know. Although, I have always dreamed of acting or singing.

What volunteer projects are you involved in? I dedicate a lot of time to our i’mindful Gives Back Foundation and helping women entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

How many customers do you have? We have 10 major corporate clients, 170 individual clients and 12 nonprofit organizations.

What is the focus of your business? People: i’mindful Studio is a place where people come to learn, cultivate and practice mindfulness. We do this in group classes, private sessions or workshops. Companies: i’mindful Leadership delivers leadership skills through mindfulness and emotional intelligence. We do this in group classes, programs and individual coaching. Communities: i’mindful Gives Back Foundation is a nonprofit organization providing mindfulness education and training to nonprofits, law enforcement officers, firefighters, veterans and schools. Entrepreneurs: i’mindful Incubator is a new area of focus helping women entrepreneurs in the field of wellness and well-being establish and grow their businesses. We provide space, mentorship, and resources.

What led you to start your business? My own personal journey, my passion of wanting to help and share my knowledge with others and the innovator in me wanting to bring mindfulness to NWA.

You previously worked for a startup consulting agency. How did you help other entrepreneurs achieve success? I simply listened and shared my knowledge with them. This was truly a two-way street. I also learned so much from my clients. Entrepreneurship requires a level of craziness, grit and persistence and a whole lot of resilience.

Anything else? Entrepreneurship can be lonely and truly challenging. Your spirit can be drained by others not believing in you, copying you or simply just ignoring you. If you have the ability to help others, help them. That’s my priority each day. I have knowledge and experience, thus I want to share this with others who want and need this. Someday, I will have enough capital to also provide others with this kind of help. It’s been a lonely journey, and a lot people who could have opened doors have not. Although, I am grateful for the people who have opened doors, believed in me and are still standing by me. Those are the folks for whom, in part, you do this.