Jasmine Stauffacher- Gray is an entrepreneur and visionary from Phoenix, Arizona. She’s responsible for Top Five Media, an alternative news source for collegiate athletics, as well as JSG Consulting, her own brand where she works as a Project Manager.

Check out the article and read about how Jasmine’s experiences as an entrepreneur and how she’s taking calculated risk to create the life she wants to.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

My name is Jasmine Stauffacher-Gray, born in raised in the sunny and slept on Phoenix, Arizona. I recently graduated from UCLA where I studied sociology and ran track, but mainly hung out with my friends and pursued my passions outside of academics. Currently I run a boutique consulting agency JSG Consulting, in which I project manage and PA for various clients. Outside of that, I create content and brainstorm ways to combat oppressive systems.

What was the turning point in your career? Where were you before that?

To be honest, I think I am currently going through my career turning point. As of late, I have really honed into this idea of total autonomy of myself, my environment, and my future. I think for so much of my life I have equated success to money, influence, and power– so much so that I made my professional moves that way. However, the sacrifices that need to be made to achieve that kind of success, I realized do not align with my values nor the lifestyle that I want to live moving forward. Now, I have found myself working from home and exploring things that teach me about myself and will shape the world that I want my little brother to grow up in. To be broke in LA is to build your character, enhance your creativity, and test what really matters to you. So that’s where I am at, in this in-between of paying my bills but simultaneously taking risks to be the person I want to be.

How has your life experience shaped you?

At 21 I feel like I do not know much about how my experiences have affected me until I experience something else that challenges my initial beliefs. I’ve learned that you never really know yourself until you are in a situation that challenges who you think you are. Life to me has become synonymous to relationships with people. The people that I have been around have always determined my perspective on the world and of myself. So even when things are horrible, my ability to cope is directly related to my circle of people. I feed a lot off of energy so I tend to be really hesitant of the people that I am around because the way they approach things will really affect my day to day– it took me a while to learn that. I also think it is important for me to recognize the privilege that I have experienced in my life. While things have not always been easy, I have definitely been in many positions for better opportunities which have greatly influenced the way my life has gone. The process of me recognizing these privileges has also shaped my outlook on the world and my responsibility to it.

How do you practice awareness? How do you maintain your best self and manage your day to day experiences?

For much of my life I have been a perfectionist when it came to every aspect of myself, I think a lot of this stemmed from being an athlete. The idea of making mistakes transitioned into me really struggling with anxiety and depression– but not like the “OmG I Am SO AnXIOus” kind of anxiety, but like the “I am having difficulty functioning day-to-day” kind. So, I got a psychologist who really helps me process through my thoughts and gives me techniques on how to make it easier for me to go about my day-to-day life. Because of my intense perfectionist and obsessive personality self-awareness is vital to my sanity. I journal almost everyday, sometimes they’re just reflections, but a lot of times it is affirmations reminding myself that I am present, that the universe is working for and not against me, and that I am worthy of good things happening to me. Journaling makes me my “best-self” because it gives me the confidence of knowing who I am, and since I know who I am no one else’s opinion really matters to me. And going back to relationships being the equivalent of life experiences to me, once I stopped expecting people to be anything more than people my life became a lot easier. Life is hard as hell for everyone, and everyone is just trying their best to win despite their life circumstances. Viewing people as dynamic and multi-faceted has shifted my perspective and really gave me an “it is what it is” kind of tempermant, because I expect people to just do what they do, nothing more or less. This mindset makes my day-to-day a lot easier because it really takes a lot for me to get pulled out of my character. I can really just approach situations as what they are without all the extras.

What are some important issues you’d like to shed light on? How would you do it?

Issue #1: shifting the culture of sports to be safer for the kids that are participating in them. A lot of that is changing the voices that are telling the stories, so I do that through content creation. Issue #2: letting all the black kids know they are capable of doing and being whoever they want. We aren’t limited to the options presented to us, we can be black and proud and successful as hell at whatever we want. I think to shed light on this it is just about creating opportunity for one another, opening doors and then holding them open. Showcasing successful black people that are relatable and accessible. Issue #3: minding our own business. If everyone just minded the business that paid them, the world would be a much better place. So I shed light on that by…minding my own business.