When asked what title to use after her name, Exton, PA local Jen Croneberger said, “I’m not a fan of titles, but if I had to pick one, I would use ‘Inspirational Speaker,’ to describe my speaking career.” Also the owner of JLynne Consulting Group, LLC (JLC), an expert in areas of sports psychology, and author of These Five Words are Mine, Croneberger sat down with OUTWORD.Today to share her passion for speaking, her relationship with her late mother, and the “five words” she lives by.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Reading, Pa, then lived in New Jersey during my elementary years, and eventually wound up at the University of Delaware for a degree in English and Journalism.
I stayed in Delaware for almost 10 years until moving to Thorndale, PA in 2007.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My father coached boys little league and I remember wanting to play baseball with the boys and was the only girl. One day, when I went behind home plate to catch, the umpire said to me, “The rule book says that all catchers must wear a protective cup…, So, are you wearing a cup?”
I didn’t think twice. I shoved the cup in my pants and walked up to the plate like it was no big deal. I thought, Let’s play ball!
It was a defining moment for me. If I wanted to play, I had to wear a cup. So, I put the damn cup on!
Do you have siblings?
I have three sisters and one brother. I’m the baby of five. My older sister was a stay-at-home mom, then worked part time for a family friend selling products on Ebay.
My middle sister owns a cleaning business in Reading. My third sister is an attorney. She worked for the Port Authority at the World Trade Center during 9/11. And my brother is an interior designer.
Where did you wind up after college?
Well, I didn’t do anything with my degree at first. At the time, it seemed like a wasted degree. So I bartended at a gay bar in Wilmington for a few years, worked at Kinko’s as a Corporate Liaison for a while (a fancy word for delivery person), then I moved to the corporate world in the telecom side of the finance world.
After that, I sold Volvo’s, worked for ADT, and offered accountability and team training to corporate companies.
In my late 20’s, while moving up through the corporate world, I offered private pitching lessons on the side. I began hosting small softball clinics and developed a following. I also became the Varsity Head Softball Coach at Unionville High School.
Eventually I opened Excellence Training Camps (ETC), a training facility in Wagontown, PA. I ran my facility for three years.
At the same time, I coached and taught as an adjunct professor at Ursinus College and earned a Masters in Sports and Human Performance Psychology from the University of the Rockies’ distant learning program. My favorite class was “Leadership and coaching,” because we talked about how other people affect us and how leaders lead.
In fact my Capstone project was all about leadership.
I eventually started working one-on-one with clients in sports psychology.
I entered my bachelor’s degree program with every intention of majoring in child psychology. Throughout my entire life, people came to me for advice, and I thought, “I should make this a career. I’m good at this!”
Friends have told me that I’m non-judgmental and give great advice. But more importantly, I love helping people see the good in themselves.
But good plans aren’t always the best plans.
During my freshman year at the University of Delaware, my English teacher and Graduate Assistant, Colleen Webster, expressed interest in my work.
At the end of the semester, I had to write two challenging pieces. One, a personal story and another, a controversial piece. My first piece was called “Clean Up is a Woman’s Job,” which twisted words to share the story of my youth as a little league baseball player. The second piece was titled, “Homosexuality in Religion: A Contradiction of Terms?” triggered by my relationship with my father, a liberal priest in the Episcopal Church and then Bishop.
Apparently my writing got my teachers attention, because she insisted that I change my major to English. I went that day to make the change. While I wanted to do psych, I needed to write.
Eventually, I earned my Master’s Degree in Psychology.
When did you get into speaking?
My speaking career developed while working as a mental game coach for teams like the Philadelhpia Force, a professional women’s softball team.
I eventually closed ETC in 2011 to take on JLC bas a full time endeavor. While I primarily speak, I still coach individual clients, although they’re fewer and further between.
Where did 5’s C’s come from:
I started to read and study about common struggles. I eventually realized that while each of us may express ours struggles differently, the roots share commonalities. I then grouped those commonalities into five categories, which eventually became my 5 Words.
- Character (foundation)
Every now and then I might change it up, or add a couple of words, like commitment and consistency, but for the most part, they remain the same.
How often do you do what you preach?
I live by the acronym LIGHT, representing another 5 words. LIGHT stands for love, integrity, gratitude, honor and truth.
I check in with myself everyday and make sure I’m following at least one of the five words above, although not always all at once. I aim to focus on at least one each day.
I show up as my best self as often as I am able. I push myself, too. As someone without a running history, I went from “I Can’t to I Can to I Did” by running 47 races, in less than two years, from 5K’s to half-marathons.
I do what I preach and I live by my five words 100%!
As a motivator, how do you motivate yourself?
I consistently and consciously check in. I also see an amazing personal coach, Mark Goodwin. It is my belief that the best coaches have coaches. He helps me with accountability, meditates with me, and coaches me through challenges.
I used to think “am I good enough,” but I don’t think that any more. I know I am.
Who is your ideal client?
Going to a really awesome large corporation that wants to change their mindset. A company ready for a kick-ass conversation. I like speaking to anyone, not just C-level persons, but the large corporate gigs are always nice.
When I speak to teams, I also encourage parents and coaches to participate. I want everyone to be on same page. This goes for the corporate world, too. There’s no point putting a sponge back in dirty water. Everyone should be in the same clean water.
What defines your success?
Feedback forms and letters from participants are my favorite measurements of success. Words are often worth more than money, although bills must be paid.
Do you have any feedback forms that stick with you?
None specific, but those that come from kids are often so candid and beautiful.
Why do clients work with you, as opposed to someone else?
I can connect with people. I’m the person sitting next to them. I don’t talk over people’s head. I’m just genuine, real, and relatable. Oh, and sometimes funny. Sometimes.
Have you written any books?
I have co-authored a workbook with a sports psychologist on instilling confidence and I wrote These Five Words are Mine, a collection of blogs, life stories, and my journey into awareness.
And I have a new book coming soon…
How has your mom’s passing affected your career?
My mom passed on the day after Christmas in 2013 from Corticobasal Degeneration, meaning an atrophy of brain cells.
I mention her in my book a lot. My goal was to complete the book before her passing, and I did. I have a photo of her holding the book, in fact.
My mom taught me so much about life. She was a huge part of me. She always used to tell me to “pay attention,” so I do.
My mom taught me to slow down and take advantage of every moment. She taught me how to be versus do. But my favorite thing mom always said to me were these three words: Do it good. And so I hope my work makes her proud to this day.
What are you reading now?
I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. I like both non-fiction and fiction. It depends on my mood and whereabouts. My favorite book is Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.
What type of philanthropy do you get involved with?
I am a Team CMMD committee leader, where we raise money for cancer, and I sometimes offer my services to girls’ leadership programs, like Girls Take Charge and Girl’s Leadership in the local middle schools.
How does being part of the LGBT community affect your business?
Honestly, I don’t really focus on it, or talk about it. I’m not ashamed, but I don’t usually bring it up. I am just me.
Ironically, I was the Education Chair of the University of Delaware’s Gay Student Union and I spent hours rewriting and redeveloping the entire awareness program, but I haven’t been a part of anything LGBT-specific since then.
To me, if I don’t see [being LGBT] as a problem for me, it’s not a problem.
During my talks, I often inspire LGBT youth and every now and then, I speak on diversity – with the focus on being authentic and having courage. I encourage people to see each other for who we really are, and not simply our label.
MORE! I have so many more lives to affect! I want to positively affect 1,000,000 people in my lifetime. Some may balk at that goal, but I know it’s possible. And if I “failed” and only reached some of them, well… that’s not really failing at all is it?
2008 – Facility #1 Gym in the Philadelphia area by My Fox Philly Hotlist
2009 – Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry – Female Business Leader of the Year
2015 – Best of Thumbtack #1 Motivational Speaker in the Philadelphia Region
To hire Jen Croneberger for a speaker events, please contact her here.
To purchase The Five Words Are Mine, click here.