15 Questions with Women Lead Change: Jackie Akerberg

Women Lead Change (WLC): What is your name and title?
Jackie: "Jackie Akerberg- Head Collaborator of Collaborate DSM, I’m the Operations Manager of the Wealth Consulting Group, and I am the creator and founder of Jackfruitful Kitchen."

Jackie Akerberg

WLC: What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
Jackie: "My professional career started off in a much different path. I was originally a hairstylist, I worked at a salon for about 8 years and really loved the creative side of things but wanted to be a little bit more business focused. I began working for Collaborate DSM when we opened 4 ½ years ago and started implementing structures and systems into my husband’s wealth management business. I kind of missed the creative side of the hair styling so I started my food blog for fun and then it really started taking off. I began dedicating part of my work day to that everyday and building to see where it could go."

WLC: Is this what you always wanted to do?
Jackie: "I always wanted to own my own business. My dad is an entrepreneur. He and my mom worked together, they owned a catering company when I was very young and then after that he owned a few other of his own businesses. So I grew up in an entrepreneur business atmosphere, so I knew that side of it. But no, I did not know I’d be in wealth management or a coworking space nor have a food blog. That’s all kind of a surprise I guess, but when you think about it, it kind of embodies everything I love."

WLC: What does your morning routine look like?
Jackie: "Oh, I love a morning routine! (Laughs) I wake up at 4:45. I lay in bed and do some writing or some photo editing or content creation until about 5:30. I work-out from about 5:30-6:15 and then I usually also sauna about half the days of the week. I shower, have a green smoothie and try to get to the office by 8."

WLC: What is something you do everyday that makes you successful?
Jackie: "I would say following systems. I’m a very, very routine person. I have the same order of events every single morning and I think that’s what helps me stay consistent, not only in my personal and wellness world, but also in business. The second I get to the office, it’s kind of the same routine. Obviously each day throws different meetings, but I try to have the same schedule and consistency every single day and that really helps me."

WLC: Who is your role model?
Jackie: "I have a few. My mom for sure. She’s one of the strongest, and most beautiful and most kind people I have ever met. She always thinks about others and is just 10 stars across the bar. I admire her so much and am just so grateful for her. I would say as a personal role model it would be her. From health/wellness and women empowerment, I’d say my dear friend Jenny Weber. She is such a boss. She started a super successful company, she has coached many athletes to the Olympics, I mean she’s just amazing and she’s beautiful inside and out. I’d also say my husband Clinton, he’s so motivating and the fact that he doesn’t have fear. He will talk to anyone, he will start any business, he will try anything once without any sort of fear of failure."

WLC: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Jackie: "I’d say one of the biggest challenges in my career at Collaborate was the pandemic. Obviously having a shared workplace in the middle of a world crisis is not ideal when everyone has to social distance and shut down, but at the same time I think we have built such a wonderful foundation of people here that we did not lose as many members as I thought we would and we were able to really bounce back. During that same time, obviously the pandemic which was so challenging for our office space and our wealth management firm, the thing that brought so much stress to that also gave me a ton of free time which the beginning of COVID was when I really started focusing on my blog and I grew from 800 followers to 10,000 in a year. Now I’m at 34,000 and I don’t think I would be where I am with Jackfruitful without COVID."

WLC: What would you tell your 22-year-old self? 
Jackie: "Drink more water and nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. Get over any fears and just go for it. When I was 22 I had so many fears and I felt like I lacked a lot of confidence then because you feel like you never know enough, you’re never good enough, there’s always someone doing it better. I think just kind of realizing that you are good enough, and every single person out there you can learn something from, but they also want to learn something from you. It’s so empowering to fail and learn from it."

WLC: What gets you out of bed everyday?
Jackie: "I’m really, really just happy and excited to live everyday. I love my careers, I love Des Moines, I love Ingersoll. I get really excited to interact with people in my life everyday."

WLC: What is the most rewarding part of your career?
Jackie: "With our wealth management firm we have a focus on sustainable investing so that empowers us to really make a difference with people’s dollars and how they’re consciously invested so things like cleaning plastic out of our oceans, reducing carbon emissions, empowering women in leadership, knowing that our portfolios are making that difference every single day is really cool. At Collaborate, the most rewarding thing is the connections that I see our members making whether someone needs marketing help or tech help, providing a space for people to collaborate and connect is really cool. I’m most excited about my food blog because anytime someone messages me and says hey, I’ve gone vegan because of you and it’s helped my health or I feel so much better about my impact on the planet or I’m eating vegan once a week and it’s because of you and your recipes. When people share that it’s easier to eat healthier and feel better it is really rewarding."

WLC: What is one thing that you did in your career that you believe got you to where you are today?
Jackie: "A far as the food blog, a lot of hard work on the front end and dedication. Sometimes, especially early on when you are doing all the right things, you’re working so hard and nothing’s happening and finally after so much time and effort and dedication and passion it all pays off."

WLC: How do you measure success?
Jackie: "To me it’s feeling, comfortable, happy and fulfilled. I think part of the reason why I wake up early everyday and excited to go to work is because I love what I’m doing. We all have our bad moments but I don’t ever have a bad day. Some part of every single day is fulfilling and to me that’s a success."

WLC: What was your biggest failure?
Jackie: "Specific to Jackfruitful, there’s been 2 times specifically where I didn’t pay close attention to the contract or the request for deliverables and it goes to the due date and they are unhappy with what I deliver and not necessarily because it was bad but because I didn’t follow directions. Because I’m so structured and organized I like to play by my own rules. I tend to be really good at following my own systems, but sometimes not as good at following others. I think sometimes that has led to some failures in my career. Being open-minded to someone else taking the lead, especially when you’re a natural leader, I think is really important."

WLC: What has been your biggest success?
Jackie: "I’d say for Wealth Consulting Group, it was really scary to leave my successful career and work with a guy I wasn’t even engaged to at the time. But I did it and we’ve been working together for just over 3 years and our business has grown by 100%. We have a weekly team meeting, we have structure, we have systems, we have growth tracking. We have blended all of these procedures that just make life so much easier and our clients so much happier and we are seeing growth so that has been a big success. In Jackfruitful, in the last 6 months I’ve grown by 25,000 followers, launched my blog, and launched a meal plan. It’s just been a really successful 6 months and I just signed a contract to write a cookbook. There’s just been a lot of effort and consistency that has led me to a successful time."

WLC: What is your most important piece of advice to a young professional that aspires to be like you someday?
Jackie: "I would say we suffer more from fear in a state of imagination than we do in reality. The anticipation of the unknown and the fear of failure is sometimes debilitating, but you honestly will never be as successful in life, love or happiness or health and wellness if you don’t just do it. Right now we’re the oldest we’ve ever been, the youngest we’ll ever be, there’s no time like the present."

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