May 9, 2022No Comments

Case Study: Janessa Leone

In today’s start-up culture, “professional CEOs” have widely been replaced by visionary Founders. These entrepreneurs bring charisma, passion and a view of the world that inspires employees, attracts customers and disrupts industries. The company's success and the Founder’s raison d’être are tightly intertwined. And also, these Founders often have no idea how (let alone interest in) developing strategic plans, managing teams, or building operating systems. Aka, running a business.

For the successful ones, that means, eventually, they as leaders, and the business as a whole, hit an inflection point. A tricky maturity chasm that accompanies their triumphant growth. 

The realization crashes in. “What got us here, won’t get us there.”
The business outpaces the capabilities and capacities. And they say. “I need help!”
More often than not, the immediate response is to hire. Find a partner -- bring on an expensive and experienced Chief-so-and-so as soon as humanly possible.

That’s how we first started working with first-time, self-made Founder, Janessa Leone.

Janessa reached out to THE BOARD in the Summer of 2021. A caregiver turned entrepreneur, Janessa was fast approaching burn out after more than 6 years of turning an idea into a multi-million dollar luxury fashion namesake brand, Janessa Leoné. Her self-funded, profitable business had never been more successful, growing more than 70% during the first year of the pandemic, the brand equity was stronger than ever, and the team was highly engaged.

But Janessa’s battery was at zero. She was at a crossroads for herself as a leader and for the company as a whole. Janessa was searching for a self-described “Savior” -- a strategic operating partner that she could trust to execute her creative vision for the brand and lead the team to scale the business to the next level. 

Janessa could have hired a recruiter, drafted a generic job description for a President, and went straight into interviewing. But instead, she called The Board and we started working together.

After having fallen into the trap before -- jumping straight into hiring to solve a problem before I really understood the problem itself -- I suggested to Janessa that we take a step back. That we audit the financials, evaluate her role, and assess the talent and capacity of the existing team before we start hiring. 

After a month of working together, with revenue soaring, Janessa hit the wall. I encouraged her to take a sabbatical, 8 weeks away from the business. This would give her a chance to re-evaluate her goals for herself and the company -- and me a chance to get an uninhibited look under the hood. I stepped in as interim COO for 15 hours a week.

Now, nearly 12 months later, we retrenched and refocused the company. We developed a multi-year strategic plan and an annual goal setting process, we redesigned the organizational chart, hired a VP of Marketing and a Design Director (instead of a President), brought on fractional experts in Planning and Supply Chain to help develop and execute long-term strategies for key areas of the business, we upgraded our systems, increased funding, rolled out half a dozen new employee policies along with a new compensation philosophy and bonus program, we transitioned out stale team members and agencies, invested in diverse marketing channels, expanded product categories, diversified our supply chain and made a commitment to regenerative agriculture. 

Janessa has a renewed sense of passion and conviction for the business. The team is stronger. The operations are more efficient and more resilient. We pivoted the mindset from reacting in the short-term to building for the long-term. 

All without hiring a full-time COO.  

THE BOARD is paving a new way for how Founders build and lead successful companies in today’s unpredictable, fast-paced, ever-changing world. The shape of the workforce has changed. Now, THE BOARD makes it possible for companies to move quickly, to challenge norms, to react to change, and to transform their businesses without bloating their org charts and weighing down budgets.

May 9, 2022No Comments

Member Q&A: Meet Jennifer Justice

JENNIFER JUSTICE, also known as JJ, is an entertainment and live experience executive known for her expertise in building artists’ careers and business portfolios by marrying art with commerce. She is the former EVP of Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Roc Nation and former president of Superfly Productions.  From the beginning of her career, JJ has championed gender equality & diversity in the workplace and serves on many boards with the same initiatives including at Chair of the WIE Network Advisory Board, a founding advisory board member of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and on the board of the innovative domestic violence organization, Freefrom. In addition, JJ serves on the board of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and on the board of One Hope Wines. Given Jennifer's impressive and formidable career we really just had one burning question: 

What inspired you to become a consultant? 

“I realized I was working for people who at one point bet on themselves - and it was about time I did the same. I knew I provided a great deal of value, with years of hands-on experience and the worst that could happen is that I didn’t make the same amount or that I didn’t like it.  While it was a bit scary, in particular representing only women during the height of the pandemic, I chose to look at the opportunities ahead and how building this new company was not only more financially beneficial, it worked better for me and my family.” 

We can't get enough of her advice, and we highly recommend that you subscribe to her newsletter and her podcast:

You can also check out her full range of services here. Talk about someone who lives up to their name!

May 9, 2022No Comments

Strong communities have a significant sense of purpose.

A Community is a living organism, ever-evolving. To that end we ask you to SHARE what you are working on IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW so we see areas of focus & can champion you & your projects!  

PLEASE DM us with news about launches, investment opportunities, platforms/companies you are bringing to market for feedback, focus groups or amplification. Share greater good or passion projects, challenges,  topics of interest you wish to discuss or to lead.

THE BOARD is the ONLY Community model dedicated to sharing deal flow, learnings, networks, & resources  to ultimately solve problems & help each other succeed. 

#CommunityOverCompany and we are here for it!

April 6, 2022No Comments

Member Refresh: Elevator Pitch & FAQ

THE ELEVATOR PITCH: THE BOARD is a robust and innovative community of world-class, value-based, consultants with specific and proven SUPERPOWERS. A curated network of “Dream Teams” that collectively bring their A-game to the pivotal life cycles of a company. Tailored to the fast-paced and nimble way that companies need to function today, THE BOARD bridges talent gaps by selecting from a high-caliber roster to expertly execute on a by-project basis.

WHY SHOULD BRANDS AND COMPANIES HIRE US? HIRING is the greatest challenge to growth and scale for today’s companies, and as expert CONSULTANTS we can both bridge the gap and build the bridges. Gone are the words “human resource”, instead we celebrate talent and experience.  Resources are expendable yet talent is the key to success. 


HOW MANY MEMBERS ARE ON THE BOARD?  Currently 128, and we will cap at 150.


  1. Share the Roster Deck (updated in Slack, subscribe to #updated-deck channel for access!) 
  2. Add THE BOARD to all your socials 
  3. Repost BOARD posts
  4. Contribute to TREND REPORT and share final assets.
  5. Slack, email, or text other BOARD members (info in AIRTABLE!) and get to know them! 

WHAT INFORMATION CAN I SHARE WITH PROSPECTIVE NEW CLIENTS? The Roster Deck is the best tool at the moment! Feel free to come to April or Anita or any other member for help on a pitch

COMING SOON: Case Study Deck, Capabilities Deck, and ABOUT US Deck.


  • Email April or Anita  
  • DM on Slack or email BOARD members directly

When you do connect directly, if projects are booked please email signed SOWs so we can manage invoicing. #honorsystem


  • THE BOARD takes a 10% referral fee on all projects that come through THE BOARD.
  • If you win a project through THE BOARD, you pay 10% on the first 12 months of that project. Initial scopes get extended and so we look to members to keep us informed if that happens.
  • If you bring in a project you are NOT also working on, you take 50% of that fee (5%).
  • No fee is shared if you are also on the project, as that is seen as double-dipping :).

April 1, 2022No Comments

Member Q&A: Meet Christene Barberich

Christene Barberich is a writer, editor, and advisor. She co-founded Refinery29 in 2005 and is currently exploring her longtime love of small, amazing spaces, memorable outfits, and all things vintage in her brand new newsletter A Tiny Apt. on Substack.

Tell us about your new venture!

A Tiny Apt. is a new weekly newsletter I launched in early February devoted to personal style, spaces, and ultimately navigating life and our homes through changes and challenges—be they square footage or otherwise. It's kind of a living diary peppered with all the stuff I love the most, like patterned textiles, organization/collecting/discarding, and anything that helps us to understand our own unique style a little better. 

Is it focused on Design? 

Yes, there's definitely a lot of design and what I hope are great useful resources, but mostly I think A Tiny Apt. is a newsletter about seeing small/unconventional/occasionally overlooked things differently—more expansively, with more wonder, and that works no matter what size space you occupy. My own Brooklyn apartment happens to be on the tiny side, but it's more about what this space is teaching me in the way of change, adapting, and optimizing, as well as what I love most and what works for me—in my home and in my life. I think after the past two years, that's something we can all relate to on different levels. 

How are you getting the word out?

Good question! Right now, it's very word-of-mouth, which feels right. After spending 16 years building a global media company, I'm embracing these early days when I can do what I want, test and experiment, and really hear what readers are responding to. I think at the end of the day, while I love being a writer and telling stories, I also want my work to help people or spark a different perspective on things. Hopefully, A Tiny Apt. is helping us look at space and opportunities differently, as well as what we can ultimately do with it. 

Where can we sign up? 

You can subscribe or share it with anyone you think can relate right here. I'm just grateful to have vibrant communities like this one at THE BOARD where we can share new ideas/concepts as well as examine and explore their potential. And of course, I'm SO OPEN to suggestions/feedback (bring it!)...this is just the beginning and I'm so eager to hear what you all think...and, of course, thank you April, Anita...and everyone here.

Lastly, what should we be reading, following, or knowing about?

So many industries are in the throes of enormous shifts, and brand expert Ana Andjelic does a really incredible job of breaking it all down in her newsletter The Sociology of Business (her book The Business of Aspiration is a must-read). I loved this edition she did about this move from buying to collecting and what that means in terms of a new "cultural/social/economic paradigm." I think what she's onto in terms of reassessing our values system and how we define success is super interesting and makes a lot of sense in terms of building brands, platforms, and business models of the future.

March 1, 2022No Comments

Member Q&A: Meet Tom Johnstone

Tom Johnstone, Founder & CEO of Optimist Drinks
Former Chief Strategist at 72&Sunny and CMO at Ember 

Brand & Business Innovation, Sustainability & Brand Strategy 

What is the most interesting industry tip/ trend or shift that you are witnessing taking place at the moment? 
The next few years are going to be very difficult, socially and politically particularly in the US. If the people running businesses and brands continue to treat people purely as consumers and blindly fuel the economy, I think we’re failing.

Success will come for those who look at people not just as a target audience or a consumer but as citizens first. From there they can help encourage social awareness, positive action and a long term move towards mindful consumption and conscious business. Big cultural changes need to be at the heart of business agendas, brands that do this successfully and authentically will be valued in a completely different way. 

What's your POV on how to be the best consultant working with brands today? 
Listen hard to the experts you’re working with on the inside, give them credit, recognize they’re coming to this with some level of vulnerability. Then be a constructive, honest outsider and bring creativity and boldness to the table, if they don’t want real change then they’re talking to the wrong people. 

What should we be reading, following, or knowing about? 


"Lost Connections" by Johann Hari
Brilliant book by a wonderful mind - shows the value of community and the impact that digital lives have had on us. Highly recommend it. He’s written a new one called Stolen Focus, but I keep forgetting to order it…


On Being with Krista Tippett
great antidote to the news cycle

OPTIMIST in Progress
yep, a barefaced and completely shameless plug for my own brand's podcast, not sorry


favorite musical discovery of last year

Newsletters we should subscribe to?
2 hours of music every single day. Great way to discover new artists and get inspiration.

© THE BOARD 2023. All rights reserved.