Jean Yancey

Jean Jolliffe Yancey (August 18, 1914 – September 15, 2000) was an American entrepreneur, small business consultant, women’s business mentor, and motivational speaker. After working in retail and fashion in New York City and Denver, Colorado, she opened Jean Yancey & Associates in the latter city in 1973, offering training, consulting, and education for women entrepreneurs. In close to 30 years, she assisted more than 1,000 women launching businesses in public relations, advertising, politics, publishing, and other fields, and was known in Denver as “the mother of all businesswomen”. She received many awards, including the 1982 National Advocate for Women in Small Businesses award presented by US President Ronald Reagan in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

American entrepreneur and motivational speaker
Jean Yancey
Born
Martha Jean Jolliffe

(1914-08-18)August 18, 1914

Died September 15, 2000(2000-09-15) (aged 86)

Denver, Colorado, US
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Denver
Occupation Women’s small business consultant, motivational speaker
Spouse(s) Lenard Royston Yancey Jr.
Children 3
Awards National Advocate for Women in Small Businesses award, 1982
Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, 1995

. . . Jean Yancey . . .

Yancey was born Martha Jean Jolliffe on August 18, 1914, in Clarksburg, West Virginia.[1] When she was eight years old, her family relocated to Denver, Colorado.[2] As a student at East High School, she and her friend Jane Smith persuaded the president of The Denver Dry Goods Company to host the first high school fashion show in the United States.[1] The three-day event drew 5,000 teens and their mothers.[3]

Yancey studied drama and theatre at the University of Denver for two and a half years,[2] becoming a member of Gamma Phi Beta.[4] In 1936 she moved to New York City to pursue a career in Broadway theatre.[3] In New York, she met and married Lenard Royston Yancey Jr. in April 1937.[1][2] The couple had three sons.[1]

In New York, Yancey worked in the bridal department at B. Altman and Company and at Joseph Bryne, organizing a large trade show for the latter.[2][3] During World War II, when her husband was stationed in Denver, she worked as a buyer for teen fashions at Denver Dry Goods.[2] In 1944 her husband was stationed in Tampa, Florida, and in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1959 the family moved back to Denver and Yancey resumed working at Denver Dry Goods, managing the bridal department.[2][5]

In 1962, Yancey and a partner opened the Bridal Loft in Cherry Creek North. She sold the business in 1969.[1][2] In 1970, she formed the Goldstone Fashion Merchandising School, followed in 1973 by the small business consulting firm of Jean Yancey & Associates.[1][5] Notwithstanding the name, Yancey ran the firm single-handedly.[3]

Specializing in women’s startups, Yancey offered training, consulting, and education to entrepreneurs.[5] In close to 30 years, she assisted more than 1,000 women launching businesses in public relations, advertising, politics, publishing, and other fields.[6] Yancey became known in Denver as “the mother of all businesswomen”.[7] She was also a recognized speaker in the United States and Canada,[1][2] and her insights were quoted by women in business authors.[8][9] Later in the 1970s, Yancey taught at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School and the Barbizon School of Modeling.[2]

. . . Jean Yancey . . .

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. . . Jean Yancey . . .

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