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July 17, 2014 40 Under Forty 2014

Jennifer R. Fiereck

Age: 36

Title at work/what I do: President/Owner of J. Fiereck Photography. I have the best job ever. I capture and preserve moments in time that become a story and treasured history for my clients. I am one of only 25 Certified Professional Photographers in Connecticut. My business offers commercial, wedding, and portrait photography services. As with any small business owner, I wear many hats, which include: photographer, webmaster, book keeper, marketing manager, and janitor.

Town where I work: Manchester

Town where I live: Manchester

College I attended: University of Connecticut

My passion, hobby or special talent: Photography, of course

Twitter handle: @jfiereck

No. of LinkedIn connections: 345

Favorite place to network: HBJ events

Favorite drink at a networking event: Ginger ale (because I'm usually working at the events)

How do I create connections in my professional life?

It's amazing what a smile and a good handshake can do. Connecting with people is more about listening and less about talking. And I truly believe in the art of the handwritten note and a follow-up phone call. My business has embraced technology and social media, but we haven't forgotten the old-school ways of communicating.

What's been my biggest challenge professionally?

Geez. That's a hard one to answer. Being self-employed has a myriad of challenges no matter what industry. I would have to say the two biggest challenges are staying self-motivated and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. One of the perks of my job is I do much of my work in the comfort of my home wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt. However, when you work from home you are always at work. I am not complaining at all, but I have to make a conscious effort to set boundaries. Having two daughters under 4 certainly helped me set those boundaries. When my sitter leaves for the day, I close my office door and put on my mom hat. I don't see myself as having a job, because I truly love what I do and photography is such a big part of my identity and spirit. Being self-employed, to me, is a lifestyle.

What is the best advice I received?

In the fall of 2008, I was working full-time at an advertising and public relations firm and running my photography business on the side. I was getting burned out. My husband, Dave, suggested I quit my real job to focus on the photography business. I remember him saying, “Let's give it a year. If it doesn't work you can always go get a real job. But you'll never know unless you try.” I took the plunge into self-employment and I haven't had to get a real job yet. Sometimes all you need is that little push from someone you trust and love.

What do I want my legacy to be?

For me, it's not about being the most talented, award-winning photographer or where my work is published. None of that matters. It's about how I make my family, friends, clients, and colleagues feel. Did I make you smile or feel good about yourself? Was I honest? Did I give you my absolute best effort and attention? Do you know that you can always count on me? At the end of the day, I hope the answer to all of those questions is yes.

Check out the other 40 Under Forty for 2014 winners

Tracy I. McKaveney

Ryan McKeen

Adam McLaughlin

H. Scott Miller

Alison Morris

Peter J. Murphy

Kristina Newman-Scott

Brandon Ojakian

Michelle M. Pandolfi

Erin Pirro

Ken Procino

Steven Raider-Ginsburg

Brian Rich

Matthew Ritter

Robert Ruffolo

Lindsay Ryan Jensen

Zachary Schwartz

Jarrett Solomon

Erica Ann Thompson

Jason J. Warnke

Tim Yergeau

Jennifer Young

Christopher R. Zito

McKinley Albert

Keshia Ashe

Dr. Jill Buban

Stephen Carrabba

Leticia Colon de Mejias

Erin M. Concepción

Molly Devanney

Betsey Castle Gainey

Martin Gugliotti

Bryan Hall, II

Benjamin Howarth

Ashley (AJ) Johnson

Garrett Kenny

Vincenzo M. Landino

Heather Loranger

Ashley M. Maagero

Kim Margolis

Lindsey Mathieu

Check out the Digital Edition of this year's 40 Under Forty.

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