PROVO, Utah – Jun 18, 2019 – While many parents teach their children to ride a bike or tie their shoes, Jennifer Scherbel’s parents taught her to run a business. “I’ve always been grateful that my parents included us kids in their business decisions,” says Scherbel, a BYU Marriott MBA candidate. “My parents taught us the importance of critical thinking early so that we could meet life’s problems with the skills to solve them.”
Scherbel’s mother and father, Connie and Marlowe, are both entrepreneurs and felt the need to impress upon their children the value of education and hard work. Scherbel remembers that her dad once came up with an idea that as a family they would combine their savings, including birthday money and anything else they had put aside, to buy a snowmobile. “The idea was that the kids would have our own rental company, a single snowmobile that we would rent out to Dad for his land-surveying business, and we could use it for fun on the weekends,” she says. “I lucked out in many ways that I got them as parents. I am incredibly grateful.”
Scherbel, a budding entrepreneur, draws inspiration from her parents and from the legacy of educated women before her. For example, her grandmother taught at Cornell University and Utah State University, and raised a family in rural Wyoming. Teaching seminary, building the community, and substitute teaching in school, she made a huge impact. “That is the person who I want to be like,” Scherbel says, “not necessarily the person who made a million dollars. In some cases, more good can be created by building up a community than can be created with money.”
Scherbel noticed from a young age that career success often comes with the struggle of balance. “The interesting thing is that life doesn’t have to be that way,” she says. “Balancing family and a career is possible.”
Essentialism makes all the difference in balancing her life, Scherbel says. “Balance is about understanding your priorities and making sure your time is focused on accomplishing your goals and serving others,” she says. One of Scherbel’s priorities is spending time with her nieces and nephews in the Provo-Orem area. She tries to attend most of their sports games and recently taught her fifteen-year-old nephew how to drive. Scherbel even coaches her niece’s basketball team.
Before coming to BYU Marriott, Scherbel built a successful career in accounting in San Francisco. While Scherbel always planned to venture into entrepreneurship, she enjoyed her experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The experience built Scherbel’s confidence, which ultimately allowed her to succeed in entrepreneurship.
Once she decided to leave PwC, Scherbel realized getting her MBA wasn’t a career pivot as much as it was the path she had always been on. BYU Marriott was the perfect way for her to fill the holes in her business acumen and make connections.
However, coming back to school wasn’t easy. Scherbel struggled returning to an academic mindset. “I failed my finance midterm my first semester back at BYU because I couldn’t focus,” she says. “It was crazy because finance was literally my career.” The problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge but the ADHD Scherbel had lived with since she was a child. Returning to BYU helped Scherbel realize ADHD affected her differently as an adult. After she worked with BYU’s Accessibility Center, Scherbel was able to learn new ways to channel her high energy in order to succeed.
Learning to overcome hardship has motivated Scherbel to help others do the same. “I am interested in returning to Honduras, where I served my mission, to help people start businesses with a venture capital fund,” she says. According to Scherbel, most people in rural areas of Honduras don’t attend school past the second grade. “I don’t know what the ultimate solution is,” she says, “but I’m doing what I can right now to help people get an education.”
While Scherbel doesn’t know exactly where her life’s path will lead next, she feels confident that it will be right for her. “My philosophy on life is that God cares and loves everyone completely, but He doesn’t necessarily care about the exact path we take,” she says. “He’s more worried about the destination and the kind of person we’re going to be when we get there.”
For now, Scherbel is working on two startups, one of which will be entered into the Miller Venture Challenge Series starting in fall 2019. In these roles she focuses on living her life motto: give more than you take, and find joy in the journey.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris