News at Smith

Jennifer Lee-Harrison: Building Your Own Luck as an Entrepreneur

Oct 31, 2017
Entrepreneurial Spirit


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship produces Bootstrapped, a podcast featuring founders, investors and serial entrepreneurs. The podcast is hosted by Elana Fine, Managing Director of the Dingman Center, and Joe Bailey, Associate Research Professor at the Smith School. Each episode brings a different startup story to life with special guests offering advice and lessons learned on topics that range from fundraising and marketing to team formation and customer acquisition.

On this episode of Bootstrapped, we interviewed Jennifer Lee-Harrison, a Smith School MBA alumna and the founder of Perfect Hair International. Jennifer spent 16 years working in corporate America before she was struck with entrepreneurial inspiration. As Senior Director of Marketing and Advertising at Choice Hotels, she was encouraged to complete an MBA to pursue a position as the Vice President of Marketing at the company. During her entrepreneurship class, Jennifer got the idea to disrupt the $13 billion hair-extension industry with branded products targeted to African-American women. That business, Perfect Hair International, went on to achieve $1.3 million in sales in just one year. Listen to the episode to hear how she leveraged her network to orchestrate her rise to success and learn her three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Jennifer Lee-Harrison is an executive with 18 years of marketing, digital and e-commerce experience, having lent her expertise to such companies as Tommy Hilfiger, Choice Hotels International and currently as Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing at Steve Harvey World Group. She has a proven track record of launching online businesses and transforming them into profitable, OMNI-channel customer-centric experiences. She completed her MBA at the Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2012.

To listen to this episode and gain further insights into the startup world, subscribe to Dingman Bootstrapped on iTunes or download the episodes on the Dingman Center website.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.