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Jenny Alday Townsend, 33

President, Suncoast Connections and Music Compound

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  • | 3:00 p.m. October 16, 2015
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  • Class of 2015
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Jenny Alday Townsend discovered her career aspiration when she was a student at USF in 2009.

She didn’t find it in college, per se, but when she was a server at a Lee Roy Selmon’s in Sarasota. It was there that Townsend served a table of people in a rock band, who complained there was no place to practice and jam. They wanted someplace where they could just be — and not spend a lot of money to do it. “There was nothing in the area that offered something like it,” says Townsend. “I saw a need and an opportunity.”

It took six years, but that opportunity is on the verge of becoming a reality. It’s called the Music Compound. Townsend envisions a facility in Sarasota for all kinds of music that caters to children ages 5 to 18. Townsend has a building in place for the project, and now she seeks $100,000 in startup capital to push the project through. She’s talked with potential investors and met with bankers about an SBA loan for $75,000. She hopes to raise the rest through online crowdfunding. 

One thing Townsend, a Sarasota native, already has is years of research and knowledge. In the last five years, even while she worked in other fields, including business development for a cancer charity and a bioscience firm, Townsend kept poking at the music idea. She visited facilities in other cities, and more recently she’s held focus groups and sessions for area teachers and parents, to get more ideas and strategies. 

Besides all that, Townsend, a tireless networker, has little fear. This is someone, after all, who once walked on hot coals at a Tony Robbins seminar. “It didn’t hurt, and it didn’t burn,” Townsend says. “It’s mind over matter.”

— Mark Gordon


Name: Jenny Alday Townsend

Age: 33

City of residence: Sarasota

Twitter handle: @JennyinSRQ

Employer: Suncoast Connections & Music Compound

Title: President

Birthplace: Sarasota

Years on the Gulf Coast: 33

Marital status/children: Married

Alma mater: University of South Florida

Best place to network: Local events

Coolest business experience: Walked on hot coals with Tony Robbins

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Think before you speak

One website that makes your job easier: Mine are very generic due to scope of work. I would say Eventbrite for ticketing and social media sites for promotions.

One community group you’re most involved with: CareerEdge Funders Collaborative

Favorite off-hours activity: Boating

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Mark Cuban and Scott Borchetta

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Architecture

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Backpacked through Europe for three weeks

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Take a European river cruise

What new skill would you like to learn: Play an instrument 

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Sandra Bullock

If I had a magic wand I’d: End cancer.


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