Jennifer Curley
Jennifer Curley

I recently sat down with Jennifer Curley, Founder & CEO, Curley Company. Named a 2020 Woman of the Year by Washington Women in Public Relations, Curley is a Board Member, Global Women’s Innovation Network (Global WIN) and author of the recently-published "Playing the Long Game".

Here are excerpts from the full video interview:

What’s your counsel to leaders who are leading through what has been called a time of “Quiet Quitting”?

By putting our values on the wall, it is clear what we expect from the team and each other. It is hard to quietly quit when everyone is counting on you – you have accountability not just to me and KayAnn but to your peers and ultimately you are connected to something bigger than yourself.

And we have a Win board – which we have had for around 8 years – but it is more important now than ever because it helps keep our team connected, celebrating each other, and gives our leadership a way to recognize and give praise – all of which go a long way to keeping our team connected to Curley and inspired to engage and contribute at their highest levels. It is harder to quietly quit when you feel appreciated.

You’re a board member of the Global Women’s Innovation Network. What do you think the PR industry must do to bring more women into positions of top leadership?

I have always said that I am happy to be the first but don’t intend to be the last. This is my philosophy on female leadership.

We need to be mentors and support systems to each other. We need to “say it out loud.” To me that means, encouraging other women to seek leadership.

And we need to keep showing why leading as women and with feminine values is valuable. We are going to be different than our male counterparts because we see the world differently – and that is good. There is value in both styles but if woman can bring more focus and prioritization to culture and purpose there is tremendous business value in that.

You have a number of senior executives on your team who clearly are leaders in their own right. What’s your top principles on leading leaders?

This summer I took a sabbatical, and I did it to really show leadership and empower my team. It also gave me the chance to I read 20 books – ranging from business to fiction to my secret love of romance novels.

The top business reason for the sabbatical was to give our new President, KayAnn Schoeneman, the space to lead without me. Good leaders don’t want to be put into a box – they want to lead in their own way, and most importantly you need to trust them to do it their way. KayAnn is no exception – she has tremendous leadership skills and nailed it.

The second business reason for the sabbatical was to lead by example. We have had a sabbatical policy at Curley for many years and no one has done it. I wanted to show my team that it can and should be done.

And finally, the business/personal part of the sabbatical was to demonstrate that I value and prioritize time and space for me – investing in creative space is good for me and good for the business. Many people are afraid to do this and frankly I was too – but I put it out there in a linked in post before I started my sabbatical and it really resonated.


Ken Jacobs, PCC, CPC, is principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching:, [email protected], @KensViews and LinkedIn.