Jennifer Hobson Gromer once felt stuck in abusive relationships but found herself in releasing those burdens and rebuilding herself and her life from the bottom up.
Five words that describe who Jennifer is at her core?
Believer, Wife, Mother, Dancer, Educator.
“I was the statistic. I was the 18 year old teenage mother, who graduated at the top of her class with 5 full scholarships who fell for an abusive man her first semester in college. I married at 21, and became an instant mother of 5. I put myself thru graduate school, ran businesses, reinvented myself and finally left the abuse after 10 years. We started over- from scratch. My journey has led me to share my story in my first published book, “Shift On: Twenty Stories of Turning Trials into Triumph”. My 2nd book, “Soul Talk: 20 Soul Stirring Stories of Women Who Let Go and Let God.”
Tell us about 18 year old Jennifer. What was your major in college and what were your career goals at that time /where did you see yourself going?
At 18, I was a freshman in college. I had been accepted into Spelman College, the school of my dreams. My major was in Dance Studies. My goals included graduating with my Bachelor’s on time, pursuing graduate degrees, opening my studio, and becoming a professor. I wanted to be considered one of the best in my field. I wanted to share what had been shared with me by my teachers and mentors.
Did you accomplish all of your goals as you expected?
Yes and No. Goals- Yes I have reached almost all of my goals. It took me a little longer than expected for some, but I made it. I learned about the things that are most important in life- my ministry, my kids and family. There is only so much you can do in a given season and I have embraced that. My ministry starts at home. I hold multiple degrees, I own 2 businesses, I am married, and my kids are prospering. Goals Achieved.
When you look back over your past–what do you find inspiring in your journey now that you are where you are now in life?
My journey has been about perseverance. I’ve had to learn to persevere thru my dark times in my life; always being productive and moving forward. I learned to persevere thru Jeremiah 29:5-14
Describe in one word your parents relationship?
Not seeing that foundational relationship -how do you think this molded your decision making in your own relationships?
I ended up in 2 abusive relationships.
Tell me about those relationships, how they began, where they went wrong and how you found an exit?
It started at 18 as a freshman in college my first semester. Then, I married at 21. I had no idea what abuse looked like, the warning signs, or what to do. I was too young, and inexperienced- But that made me a target as well.
How did your parents in particular react to finding out about the abuse if they ever did? How did your friends react?
My mom and aunt found out with a call that I was in the ER. I had few that stood by me. Initially my family was in shock. No one knew how to help me. Some tried to force me to leave. I lost friendships and my job b/c I wasn’t a role model.
What did you learn during your 2nd abusive relationship that you didn’t learn from the first?
Abuse is more than just physical; its emotional, mental, sexual and physical; and, physical abuse does NOT hurt the worse.
Did you become clear on that immediately or did you overlook the “lesser” forms of abuse because it wasn’t “as bad” as the first?
Lessor forms is not accurate. Non-physical abuse hurts as much if not more than physical; but you cannot see the scars. In my marriage, it came to a point where I constantly had a “black cloud” handing above my head. It was heavy. I couldn’t put words to how I was feeling. I started counseling and learned the different forms of abuse.
Think about your two favorite events where you have been a speaker (excluding any events in Texas) and tell me why they were your favorite?
The International Humanities Conference in Hawaii- this was by far one of my favorite events because it was the perfect location to present my research, to learn from others, and to enjoy nature. The culture there is centered around collaboration, inclusion, the arts and nature.
New York Fashion Week- My company produced its first New York Fashion Week show and I couldn’t have been more proud of my team. I experienced New York for a 2nd time, I presented nd spoke, and was invited as a VIP to other events. I was honored.
#2 speaking at the IABD conference in Washington DC was an honor to speak at.
Describe a low point in business you have had?
I started a partnership with 3 others in 2010/2011 and I was the COO. As the COO I was responsible for the majority of the company’s operations and did a majority of the work. My partners tried to complete a hostage takeover, to steal all of my contacts, all of my work for a huge event I planned, and to slander my name. It was heart breaking but I cried, prayed for them and severed ties. I then formed JHP- which went on to become the #1 Production Company in Dallas for 3 years in a row. In 2015, I was awarded Best Business Professional. The experience made me stronger and I learned how I did NOT want to treat people in business.
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