This week’s Portage Life in the Spotlight, Jessica Bailey, a very busy woman. Not only is she the Director of Marketing and Communication Development at the Portage Chamber, but also the President of the Friends of Portage Township Foundation Inc., the Secretary on the Portage School Board and is the owner of Bounce N Around, a bounce house rental company.
Bailey has a Liberal Studies degree from Purdue North Central and has recently completed a Masters of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management at Walden University.
“It just seemed like a natural fit with everything I’m doing. I enjoy non-profit work and I was looking for something to make me better at that.” said Bailey.
Bailey has a lot on her plate, but for a very good reason.
“I’ve always liked to be involved with the community in anyway I can. I like to help out,” she explained.
Ever since middle school, Bailey has found herself getting involved and wanting to help others. It all started for her when she adopted a highway in middle school. From then on, her focus turned tol fundraisers, food drives, clothing drives, getting involved with different clubs and just helping people in general.
“To see the impact you make on the community is a huge reward,” said Bailey.
As the President of the Friends of Portage Township Foundation Inc., she works to help create events and projects that raise funds to improve the parks in the area. And her position at with the Chamber allows her to constantly help the community along with all the businesses.
When she first started working for Portage Township, there was barely any park equipment and not a lot people were out at the parks. Now, fifteen years later, there is so much more for the community to do outdoors.
“It’s nice to drive by and see a full park, because it hasn’t always been there,” said Bailey.
Bailey’s work with the school board is derived from her belief that schools are the foundation of the community. The kids are going to grow up and be business owners, employees and leaders in the community. Bailey says the schools are a natural place for her to use her time.
She has taught preschool and has worked as an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech. Seeing kids on both ends of the educational spectrum has taught her how important it is for them to get the right skills to succeed.
Bailey and her husband decided to start their business, Bounce N Around, nine years ago as some side work, but it ultimately became a huge part of their lives. Their inflatable bounce house company quickly took over Porter County.
“We became the biggest in Porter County and one of the largest in the region.” said Bailey.
The company also became a large part of their family too. Her husband, children, sister, son, brother-in-law and cousins, all have worked and helped out in the business. Even her youngest, her 12 year old daughter, has become interested in the business. Bailey says her daughter likes to watch her do paperwork and asks questions about it.
“It’s great to see them get involved with all the work in it,” Bailey said. “They’re both very responsible.”
Bailey says the business is helping her kids are learning how to problem solve and learning customer service skills that will help them later on in life.
“They see the work you put into something is what you are going to get out of it,” she explained.
Bailey and her husband have also began to employ students in the area. Her husband Ryan one day said how fortunate he is that he was a wrestler in high school because all the mat rolling he did prepared him for the job at Bounce N Around.
“We enjoy employing wrestlers,” Bailey said. “They’re used to rolling mats so rolling inflatables is just natural to them.”
Bailey says that her favorite part of her work is participating in the high school graduation. Seeing the smiles and the look of accomplishment and pride on their faces as they walk across the stage.
“This is their day and their shining moment and it’s nice to be apart of it,” said Bailey.
The flexibility of owning her own business allows Bailey and her family to all go on trips together at the same time and spend lot of time together. They most recently took a trip to Washington D.C. this summer and have been to Hawaii three times already.
Through all her work in the community helping students, helping to improve the parks and getting involved with the businesses, Bailey does it for one reason.