This is a very special week for me as it marks JMT’s 25th year. I can actually remember as if it was yesterday how it all started.
It was September, 1990 and I was sitting at home enjoying being an at-home mom when I got a call from one of the nonprofits I had worked for asking me if I would be available to do some project work. They were swamped and getting further and further behind and needed someone who could step in and help them out. Of course I asked them what the project was as I needed to figure out how much time it would take. (Plus those were the days of hourly billing, which we absolutely don’t recommend now). Well, that project ended up getting expanded into another and another, and four months later I was just finishing up.
During the same four months I had two CPA firms call me asking me if I was available to do project work for some nonprofit clients they had, as well as a sister org of the organization I was working with called who needed help as well. And so JMT was born.
The first big decision I had to make was what to call my little company. My husband, Gary,and I went back-and-forth with lots of ideas for a name. For whatever reason I really liked just using my initials in front of consulting; Gary did not agree at all. But, as is typical in most marriages, we went with the wife’s plan and so JMT was born.
I had plenty of work flowing through on a regular basis, all happening simply through my network of contacts as well as lots of referrals. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t do any real marketing as I simply didn’t have time for it. I would do the project work after my babies were in bed and then ship it off to the client by email or FedEx. I followed this formula for six years until a fateful dinner evening one night with friends.
I’m always amazed at how life works and certainly JMT is a perfect example of it for me. That dinner ended up being prophetic as it was the real turning point for JMT because I realized that there was so much more JMT could do to support nonprofits and I was holding it back being the solo act I was. I came back from that dinner and created a detailed hiring plan of what I needed to move JMT to the next level. I sat down and took a hard look at my skill set and what I was not only good at, but more importantly, what I actually liked to do and didn’t like to do.
The very first role I hired at JMT was a marketing person. She was amazing and soon I had to hire a consultant because marketing was doing such a great job of letting nonprofits know about JMT. I soon found myself spending more and more of my time speaking with organizations to determine how we could assist them that I wasn’t left with enough time to actually do all the work. Each organization we worked with expanded by referrals to other organizations we then worked with, each building upon the other. I have always believed in the philosophy of “build it and they will come” and that certainly has been true for JMT. (Can you guess I love the movie Field of Dreams?)
Right from that official day on January 8, 1991, I knew that JMT was going to be different. We were going to be a firm that really understood nonprofits and provided knowledge and service to them, always delivered with the highest integrity. I am so proud this philosophy has never changed in 25 years. We have built it over these past 25 years and I look forward to the next 25 just as passionately.
Thank you to all nonprofits, for everything you do. My passion for nonprofits is why JMT got started and I look forward to the journey ahead with you.