This week you will probably hear all about the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce honoring Justin Belleme as Entrepreneur of the Year. The media will tell you about Justin’s education, his exceptional business acumen, and his entrepreneurial success. Justin has achieved many professional accomplishments, all of which are worth talking about, but he has also achieved a vision and a mission that goes far beyond cash flow and profit. He is building a stronger, healthier, more educated community in so many ways and this is what truly makes him special.
Motivation, Taking Initiative, and Thinking Outside the Box
Justin and I met a few years ago and at the time were competitors for both online marketing project work, as well as training and educational program development. Despite the fact that we were sometimes competing for the same opportunities, I immediately took a liking to Justin. He was incredibly intelligent, warm, funny, and easy to be around. His ideas were brilliant, well thought out, and actionable. He had great intuition about people and business, but most of all I loved his “getting sh*t done” approach.
When he approached me about becoming part of JB Media Group in 2010 I was honored and surprised, but knew in my gut that joining forces with someone so motivated, driven, and creative could only move me forward both professionally and personally. From a business perspective, I took a risk joining forces with a competitor, but what has transpired since then has been profoundly life changing. Justin not only gave me the chance to focus more on my passion for teaching and education, but he also inspired me to become a better version of myself as an entrepreneur. He taught me to be more courageous, confident, and effective. He taught me to trust myself more. These are lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my career, and my life.
Building an Exceptional Team of Local Talent
I joined JB Media Group as one of the first staff members when Justin opened his agency on April 1, 2011. Over the last three years Justin has continued his commitment to building a strong team of local talent in an environment where creativity, communication, and inspiration are all part of a typical day. Many of our staff members are UNCA, Warren Wilson College, and Western Carolina University graduates. Justin’s ability to recognize talent and strategically hire staff and interns at the right time is impeccable. Spending my days with the caliber of professionals Justin has recruited and seeing their talent in action has made me work harder and motivated me to be at the top of my game professionally.
Justin’s ability to innovate, adapt, take risks, put together teams, and get things done all contribute to his professional success, but the reason his success is lasting, in my opinion, is because of his heart. He cares deeply about his staff members and their quality of life, as well as our clients, and the value of the services they receive. He doesn’t just look at the bank account to define success. He considers the personal accomplishments of his team, the growth of his clients’ businesses, and the achievements of his students as factors for success.
Justin is also constantly striving to better himself and grow as a person. Over the years I have watched him intentionally engage with mentors, competitors, and team members so that he can add new ideas and perspectives to his world view and business goals. Every year Justin also gives back to the region through volunteering, non-profit board service, sponsorships, and reduced-rate work for organizations in need.
Justin’s commitment to making Asheville a vibrant place where businesses succeed and talented professionals are able to work for a fair wage, improve their skills, and find jobs in line with their personal goals makes him a true leader. It makes him someone to look up to, model after, and learn from. In my book no one deserves to be called Entrepreneur of the Year more. I am so grateful that I get to go along on this amazing ride and I can’t wait to see how Justin’s journey unfolds. Here’s to a bright future, for Justin, our fearless leader, the dynamic JB Media Group team, our ambitious JB Media Institute students, and to all of our loyal clients.