There's inspiring... and there's awe-inspiring. That's how we feel about Jennifer Lynn Robinson. Her story and life's work reminds us of what truly matters in life: meaningful connections with yourself and others.
Being around Jennifer Lynn Robinson is the most uplifting experience. She makes you feel light and encouraged to face the rest of your day. With her impeccable style, poise and smile that lights up a room, you would never guess what she has survived.
In 2008, Jennifer's happy life as a newlywed and successful trial lawyer got upended by a near-fatal accident. She was told that with her traumatic brain injuries and difficulty finding words, she should forget any career involving public speaking. Instead, she worked through grueling rehab and surgeries to realize her dreams of giving a TEDx talk and found a Speaking business. Now a sought-after inspirational speaker, Wharton lecturer and regular guest on network TV shows, Jennifer shares her story to help others overcome obstacles and find their voice.
"Going through that time made me appreciate life more and not take anything for granted," says Jennifer. "Every day is special. It is a gift."
Continuing to challenge herself, Jennifer recently entered the Mrs. Classic Universe pageant... and won. "Being the reigning Mrs. Classic Universe has enabled me to shine more of a light on invisible injuries and mental health. I also love the fact that I am a 50-year-old, plus size pageant queen and the message that sends to women and girls."
We love Jennifer's style and spirit and are so proud to introduce her to you as our new Real Woman of REALM. Read on to be not just inspired...but awe-inspired.
Ann King Lagos
Founder and Designer
REALM Fine + Fashion Jewelry
with Jennifer Lynn Robinson on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Q + A WITH JENNIFER LYNN ROBINSON
What do you do for work?
I am a professional speaker and teach Business Communication at Wharton.
I love to travel, spend time with close friends, hang out with my rescue dogs, and box.
for others? (such as a charitable organization dear to your heart)
I work with and support so many organizations. A few I would like to highlight include Mind Your Brain, Saved Me Animal Rescue, and The Wardrobe.
You survived a serious accident. How did you get through this difficult time and how did it change your life?
Over a decade ago I was involved in a near death accident. My whole life changed in an instant as I navigated surgeries, mental health struggles and a traumatic brain injury. At the time I was a trial lawyer and a newlywed. It was very challenging to rebuild and reinvent myself. Now that I have years behind me and some perspective, I am able to use my story to help so many others. It is much more rewarding work than my previous career. Going through that time made me appreciate life more, not take anything for granted and never save anything in my closet for a "special occasion." Every day is special. It is a gift. I turned 50 this year and I am thankful to be here.
Tell us about your TEDx talk experience.
During my rehabilitation, I was told that I should reconsider a career that involved public speaking. At the time, I could not find my words, I had problems expressing my thoughts and I could not function with exposure to lights or noise. I am very stubborn and ultimately opened a consulting business hoping to grow it into a public speaking business as my condition improved. To me, the picture of success would be doing a TEDx talk and proving to myself that I could share my message on that stage. It took 5 years of rejections and once selected, I was scheduled to give my talk the week the country shut down in 2020. I ended up taping it in an empty studio during lockdown and it was released online. After that long journey, it was the exact right time because it is about resilience and change. I can think of no better time people needed that message than in 2020.
You are the reigning Mrs. Classic Universe. Details, please!
Since my accident, I love doing new things that take me out of my comfort zone. In 2022, I entered Mrs Classic Universe representing Pennsylvania. The pageant highlights men and women over 40. Although I had no pageant experience and realized quickly I was in over my head, I ended up winning the world title in Las Vegas. I hold the crown for 2022-2023. It has enabled me to shine more of a light on invisible injuries and mental health. I also love the fact that I am a 50-year-old, plus size pageant queen and the message that sends to women and girls. Representation matters.
Here at REALM, we describe our jewelry—and our Empresses—as having styles that range from Classic to Romantic to Rock Star. What does “Classic” mean to you?
To me, classic means worthy, elegant, timeless.
Why do you love REALM?
The pieces are accessible but also keepsakes. There are styles for every woman whether you want something dainty or prefer a real statement piece.
Do you have a favorite REALM collection?
I love the message of the Sceptre collection: Strength + Courage + Spirit.
Another classic favorite of Jennifer's: REALM's Portrait hoop earrings
What does #BeYourOwnEmpress mean to you?
"Since becoming Mrs. Classic Universe, I have really honed in on what it means to be a Queen and how others can be a Queen in their own lives. Your belief in yourself is what moves you forward in every aspect of your life. I love REALM's message of being an Empress and helping women find their confidence and their voice—it's what I strive to do every day."
— Jennifer Lynn Robinson
Do you have any of your own mantras or Hashtags?
I am a big believer in mantras. I look at myself every morning and tell myself, "I am a star." If you don't believe that strongly in yourself, why should anyone else? I also have a theme word each year. For 2023, that word is "worthy."
What advice do you have for women contemplating changing their career path?
It's never too late. It's also important to think about what you're good at versus what brings you fulfillment and joy. Those things are not always the same. Surround yourself with people who will support your dreams, but also check you when you need it.
As a public speaker and someone who is regularly photographed, please share with us your 3 top secrets for looking great in photos:
1. Wear whatever makes you happy, but make sure it is tailored perfectly and is the right size for your figure.
2. Practice your pose.
3. If you do not have time to do your makeup, wear a bright colored lipstick. It always helps you look more polished.
And your 3 top tips for making a successful presentation:
For a successful presentation:
1. Never write out your speech or try to memorize it.
2. Make eye contact with people in the audience that are "with you" and smile or make eye contact.
3. Remember that you do not have to be perfect to be impactful.
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER
As seen: CBS, NBC, FOX, PHL17, Cheddar News
Watch my TEDx talk