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
City of residence: Sarasota
Twitter handle: @JennyinSRQ
Employer: Suncoast Connections & Music Compound
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.