What would a responsible business owner do?

That was what Ellivate Dream Teamer Mariette Martinez asked at the inaugural Ellivate Immersion retreat in January 2018. I was one month away from retiring from a 15 year career in public accounting. I was preparing for the biggest leap of my life, and her question scared me.

I had no idea what it meant to be a responsible business owner. There were so many things I did not know. But I did know Sarah Elliott. And more importantly, I trusted her. So, I did the only responsible thing I could do for my business, Dena Speaks – I trusted. I trusted my gut that I needed a community like the Ellivate Alliance.

Fast forward two years, and the question of what a responsible business owner would do still makes me a little nervous. But, as I venture into my next adventure as an author of my first memoir, Road to Hope, I decided to lean into trust again. And I decided I had to bring several other women of Ellivate along for the final leg of my book journey.

As I prepared to publish, I needed a final set of eyes to look for pesky typos or grammar issues prior to going to press. That’s when Ellivate sister Kyla Martin came to my rescue. As we talked about my book one day, Kyla shared that she loved editing. I asked her on the spot if she’d review the final version of the book, and she gladly accepted the challenge. Her eagle eyes were a generous investment in me and Road to Hope!

On top of a book full of words that were kind and clear, I dreamed of a book cover that would be warm and welcoming. And the author photo meant the world to me. I wanted a picture that would capture my essence – casual, confident, and full of hopeful energy! So I trusted my gut and invested in Leandra Blei to create the photography magic I dreamed of.

And she did not disappoint. We spent hours smiling and posing and created a picture that fills me with joy. Leandra’s work was a gift that I pray every reader will enjoy when they see a glimpse of my heart and soul!

The Ellivate love was rounded out by Sarah Elliott, Madeline Pratt, and Amy Vetter who graciously agreed to read Road to Hope and provide an endorsement. Each one shared authentic and heartfelt words about their experience with my life story and how it related to their own. Their words provided validation I have to admit I needed, as well as encouragement for women considering the book.

I’m proud that Road to Hope is alive and that I learned so many new things. I did it! I published a book. And even though there is still so much I don’t know about being a responsible business owner. I do know this. Trust matters.

I’m grateful that I trusted my gut all those years ago and joined forces with Ellivate Alliance. I am grateful for the women that showed up for me as I pursued my publishing dream. And most importantly, I am grateful that I trusted in the power of collaboration – the exponential power of women helping other women by bringing their unique talents to the table.

— Dena Jansen, Founder and Voice of Dena Speaks


Road to Hope is available now on Amazon.