By Stef Tschida
In response to the global health crisis, My Founder Story partnered with BankCherokee to launch Fueled by Purpose micro grants. Every week through June, we awarded a grant to a female-founded small business in need.
Junia Joseph-Benham hadn’t planned on working in the event industry. After graduating with a degree in telecommunications production, she moved from Florida to Georgia for a job at CNN. Unfortunately, the aftereffects of the Sept. 11 attacks were still rippling through the nation’s economy at the time, and CNN ended up rescinding its job offers to all new hires—including Junia. She had already signed a lease in her new city, so she decided to stay. She landed a different television job and worked in the industry for a while, but eventually she decided it wasn’t the right fit.
Junia shifted gears and took a job at an association management company working on galas and other special events. She quickly realized the skills she honed in TV production served her well in event production. She also realized the freelancers she worked with in both TV and events had the right idea—they had more freedom in their work schedules, the types of events they worked on, and the organizations they supported. In 2015, Junia took the leap and founded Rooted Creative, an international event production and management company specializing in corporate meetings, conferences, galas, and outdoor and special events of all sizes. She is particularly passionate about working with nonprofits to produce engaging experiences that inspire, provoke action and deliver results.
A relationship with her now husband brought Junia from Georgia to Minnesota. And while she was nervous about leaving her client base and building a new network 1,000 miles away, she reminded herself that she’d successfully built a network from scratch in Atlanta and had everything she needed to do it again in Minneapolis. One of the ways she connected with others in the industry was to join the Minnesota Festivals and Events Association. She’s now the vice president of the organization and eager to help shape industry best practices.
Like others in the event industry, Rooted Creative has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Several days before Minnesota’s stay-at-home order went into effect, Junia had three client events cancel in one day. Her entire summer opened up and her future work remains uncertain. While she’s taking advantage of the time at home with her 1-year-old twins, she’s also working to pivot her professional life—embracing virtual events and supporting others in doing the same. Junia will use the Fueled by Purpose grant to enroll in all the classes she had her eye on to continue fine-tuning those skills.
To learn more about Junia’s business, visit RootedCreative.com.
To learn more about and apply for a Fueled by Purpose micro grant, visit our grants page.
Photo: Minnesota Festivals and Events Association
About the author: Stef Tschida is a former corporate communicator and lifelong storyteller. Stef’s WHY became clear when she worked at her daily campus newspaper. She realized she didn’t want to ask tough questions as a reporter—she wanted to help organizations answer those tough questions. She’s been doing that work ever since.