I had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Jenkins-Smith who is a dedicated, hard working entrepreneur, mother, and music enthusiast. She has a degree in Liberal Studies, a Masters in Psychology, and an Executive MBA. Her personality exudes kindness, passion, and an go-getter spirit.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
I started out with passion for music at a very young age. My uncle was affiliated as a writer and producer with Motown and Berry Gordy.
So I have always been impressed with the “behind the scenes” side of things and the production of it. I had my own studio at the age of 26. So when my son started doing music it refueled my passion and motivated me to create a platform where he and other young artists could express themselves in music and the arts. Hence the start of Young Millennium Records.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Young Millennium Records stands out because we are a company that actually stills provides real artist development in a world where the industry wants you to be package ready without showing you the ropes or the rules.
We take our artists’ careers and dreams very seriously so we take the time to groom them and train them with respects to the music business and overall entertainment industry.
We also foster their social side — take them to movies, dinner, shopping, — whatever it takes to enhance their etiquette, motivation, and social skills. More importantly we have fun together.
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, we are working on a scripted reality series and we have several music projects that will be coming out with various artists and producers. We are also planning our launch event, which will be in early July.
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
One of my favorite books is the Art of War for Women. It has taught me how to win and be impactful without confrontation. It stresses the importance of confidence and passion without aggression. It showed me how to look at myself from a different angle — one of empowerment and strength without disrupting the lives of others. This book is the very reason I decided to move forward with the label. It gave me so much strength and insight, and how to do it my way on my terms.
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I learned compassion. I have had several people come across my path and I couldn’t understand why, but after careful evaluation I realized it was to teach me how to have compassion for others.
I also learned how not to be the smartest person in the room. I realized you can’t continuously learn and grow when there is no one around that’s more mature or wiser than you.
Another valuable lesson learned is live your truth. Whatever it is you desire to be or do in life start making preparations for that now. Speak in into existence and as Migos say “Walk it like you talk it” … so profound.
First impressions are so lasting. You may get a do over sometimes, but that first time is never forgotten. If it went wrong maybe you can laugh about it later, otherwise do it right the first time.
Research, Research, Research is so important in this day and age where everything changes and updates at the speed of light. You have to keep up with the latest and the greatest in order to stay afloat in this business. Always be on the cutting edge.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I would absolutely love to have a private lunch with Oprah. I am so inspired by her passion, work ethic, and intellect. I would love to just soak up some of that industry knowledge.
— Published on June 27, 2018