Welcome My 1st Employee… Nola Grace Brown, Assistant Extraordinaire

What better way to celebrate being in business 3 years tomorrow, than to hire my 1st employee and no longer be a ‘one-woman show’!!!

Please join me in welcoming the ever SO fabulous & extraordinary, Nola Grace Brown
to the Jen Mink Photography team!


In only ten months of knowing this sweet young lady, she has brought SO much to the Jen Mink Photography world…

As many of you know, Nola Grace was my first Fab Grad Spokesmodel for the Class of 2016. She also introduced her friends & now fellow Spokesmodels, Audra & Olivia to me and the program; brought in the most referrals this year; and numerous applicants to the Class of 2017 program.

NGBAssistant011616_0002In September, I had a session for our current Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen, Kenzie Hansley… so I offered Nola Grace the opportunity to either babysit while Ken assisted me OR to come try helping me out herself, then he could stay with the kids. She took me up on the offer to come assist. And wow… did she do such a great job! Jumping right in – connecting with everyone on set, catching little details (a spec of dirt on the dress, a wrinkle, hair in the face – you name it, she caught it!) and wasn’t shy to speak up and offer up very useful, appropriate suggestions. She caught everything I would if I were up close instead of feet away shooting, she has an artistic eye complimentary to my own and we get along great. It was AMAZING… I recall coming home and just gushing & gushing to Ken about how wonderful it was to have her on set and how I wish I could do that EVERY session! However… still only being able to work semi-part time around the kids, I wasn’t ready logistically or financially to hire anyone. To which he responded “Why don’t you see if she can intern with you?”. That would help her with experience, etc and also help you at the same time – you both grow & it’s a win/win. My initial reaction was that as much as I loved the idea, there was no way she would have time in her busy schedule and chose to not bother putting her on the spot with such a question. A few weeks later, opportunity came up to mention it and turns out she & her parents were thrilled at the idea, we carved out some time in her schedule and off we went!

NGBAssistant011616_0003Over the last few months, Nola Grace has worked with me about one evening a week + sessions. Helping with everything from matting prints & preparing reveal walls; to learning some Photoshop & helping design a custom book; to brainstorming ideas & plans for moving forward. She’s taught this old lady how to use SnapChat (well, attempted anyway – I need to start actually ‘using’ it) and about Pandora, reminding me how nice it is to work to music and much I enjoy listening to my own music, not just background cartoons. My hubby gets a good laugh at how much fun we have up here in the office, constantly making comments along the lines of ‘Oh geez, now there’s 2 of them!’ and ‘HOW do you girls get any work done?!’.  And we do giggle… a lot (…it is usually around things we truly are working on). It’s nice to have the company and I thoroughly enjoy having her here. She’s, of course, gotten to help on more sessions… even starting our first behind the scenes video capturing while I photograph the portraits! Most recently she’s been an invaluable part of the Class of 2017 Fab Grad Spokesmodel interviewing and selection process. As we discussed with her dad last night… we have found a rythm & flow quickly – there are parts I discuss, parts she discusses and it all fits together perfectly. And… I hear, she’s even subconsciously pulling her learning’s into school as they do yearbook superlative pictures – instinctually advising on posing & touching up friends hair as if she were on set!

Last month, I realized that the internship time we’d arranged was coming close to an end… I also realized I just couldn’t have that! I take my business VERY seriously, am admittedly a very detail oriented, perfectionist, control-freakish type gal and do not mess around with who I let in this far. The idea of having employees previously scared me – as exhausted as I was, I was at least in control of every detail. I could trust that my clients got only the very best possible from Jen Mink Photography because I took care of every.single.detail myself. Then this young lady came in and changed my world forever. She showed me… that the right person, can both be a help & a beautiful addition… that I don’t have to be a one woman show, that I can learn to trust & let go & share this… and that it’s not just okay, but it’s better than ever! I ‘found my groove’ in my Senior market this fall and definitely think she played part in that! She genuinely & I’d even dare say, passionately, believes in Jen Mink Photography, gets my vision, what I’m trying to give and truly wants to see it grow & blossom. She is not just my spokesmodel, intern or assistant, she’s most certainly become my very dear friend, confidant, adviser, cheerleader, supporter, role model to my kids & addition to my family. I am truly beyond blessed to have her. And I can only hope that I give back to her equally! I certainly try to. Whether or not I could afford an employee, I knew I absolutely couldn’t afford to let her go. It was time to ‘put on my big girl panties’ and figure out what exactly is involved in bringing on an employee to the team!! And that I did. I found and met with an accountant, I worked out the numbers, found formal legal paperwork… the works!

Yesterday, Nola Grace finished the last of her internship hours. Today… in addition to being an awesome student at Longleaf School of the Arts, accepted Meredith College student, an accomplished dancer at City Ballet, very talented painter and so many other outstanding things… she can now add employee of Jen Mink Photography to that resume!

Welcome, welcome, WELCOME to the sweetest addition to this crazy fabulous dream come true world of mine… I couldn’t imagine a more perfect person to become my first employee!


You can now reach Nola Grace directly at nolagrace@jenminkphotography.com!

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