April 24, 2023

Emily Chavez is a busy mom and young entrepreneur who believes in business ownership and the importance of helping businesses and job seekers find a joyful match.

emily chavez headshot

Emily Chavez is a University of Arizona Franke Honors alumna who received her BS in Business Management and Entrepreneurship in 2015. Emily is the Founder and CEO of Joyful Jobs, a recruiting agency that helps small businesses and nonprofits with hiring for various job types and seniority levels. She is a wife, mom, and foster mom, and is hooked on business ownership! Emily’s goal is to own multiple businesses by age 40, including a nonprofit involving horses and at-risk populations. Along the way, she hopes to support and inspire other young people (especially working moms) to pursue their own dreams.

Tell us about yourself:

I am an Arizona native who transplanted from Phoenix to Tucson in 2012 when I began my undergraduate journey at UAZ studying Business Management and Entrepreneurship. I’ve been happily married for over 7 years and I’m a proud mom of a 2-year-old daughter, plus a foster mom. During undergrad, I held different positions working as an office manager, an assistant to small business owners and startups, and a case aide for foster children. After graduation, I was in marketing and recruiting for over 5 years with a local charter school before I launched my company in July 2021, Joyful Jobs. My personal interests include playing volleyball, basketball, softball, horseback riding, skiing, camping, traveling, and wine tasting.

In what ways has your Honors experience had an impact on your career path and who you are today? Who or what inspired you most?

Both the Franke Honors program and the Eller Entrepreneurship program were instrumental in building my self-confidence during college. I was somewhat shy and introverted in high school, and college pushed me out of my comfort zone (in a good way). These two programs gave me the most valuable, tangible tools to prepare for my career, and I enjoyed the smaller, more personal classes and environment. I applied and was selected for the closing speech at my Eller commencement ceremony, which I did largely to prove to myself that I could do something that didn’t come naturally to me but that I had worked hard on.

During your time in Honors, did you receive a scholarship and if so, in what ways did receiving a scholarship impact your life?

I received the Wildcat Excellence scholarship for academic achievements throughout my undergraduate studies. This combined with my savings, part-time employment during college, and some financial help from my parents meant that I didn’t have to take out any student loans!

As the founder of Joyful Jobs, tell us about your journey in becoming an entrepreneur. What are you most passionate about in your work? What are some of your biggest rewards, and challenges?

I started my business for a few reasons: (1) my degree in Entrepreneurship that I was ready to use, (2) the Great Resignation and COVID making hiring difficult for employers in 2021, (3) a desire for a more flexible schedule and time with my newborn daughter. The name Joyful Jobs comes from a Bible verse about how we should find joy in our work, and because I personally love the feeling when I can make a perfect match between a candidate and a hiring manager and bring them both joy and excitement. That is the most rewarding part of my work! The biggest challenge is finding time and/or affordable help with everything – sales, marketing, business development, recruiting, accounting, strategy for growth, and much more.

As a graduate of the Eller College of Management, what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

I’m a fan of country music (sorry if you’re not), and there’s a song with a repeated line, “Always stay humble and kind”. The most successful people learn from others around them. As a young business owner, I sometimes face “imposter syndrome” and feel the need to prove my talents and skills. I fight that by trying to listen more than I talk and seeking out help from people who know more than me.

There are many ways for alumni to give back. What forms of engagement do you look for or find most valuable?

I’ve recently joined the Arizona Sands Club and am enjoying the opportunities they provide to network and stay involved in UAZ events. I’m also a panelist for the Franke Honor’s College Thesis Panel this spring and have been invited to come back to the Eller Entrepreneurship program for another panel. Ultimately, I love any chance to meet and inspire college students!

As a proud UAZ Honors Alumni, what were some of your favorite college memories?

It’s hard to narrow it down, but most of my favorite memories were spontaneous decisions and usually involved some sleep deprivation! IHop at 2am during overnight study sessions, dance parties with roommates, and hanging out with friends on their slow overnight shifts are a few that come to mind. Pool parties, tailgates, and intramural sports were always great too! I had awesome roommates and a couple of close friends that made everything fun. One year our neighbors taught us country dancing and Acroyoga, so those are fond memories as well.

Any final words of wisdom for current Franke Honors students, or young alumni who are just starting out in their careers?

I’m not a huge risk-taker, and yet I took the leap and started a business – which I mention because there is a way to be responsible and follow your dreams. In my experience, usually, the right opportunities will show up at the right time, as long as you’re working hard towards your goals. You will make mistakes no matter what, so just try your best to avoid any huge mistakes, and simply learn whenever you do mess up, and don’t let it bother you too much.


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