Jackie Wagner Long is a wife, mother, business coach, and global entrepreneur
Jackie Wagner Long started working from home with Rodan + Fields skincare company after her first child Lucyanne was born. That was nine years ago. Since the pandemic, Jackie’s husband Eric has made himself more available at home to equally share household responsibilities. As a result, the additional home time has brought the family closer together and provided “the best year ever for R + F,” said Jackie.
As a reward, the family is building a ‘COVID’ pool. It’s the pool everyone 'rushed out' to get last summer and has since been on backorder. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, families wanted a pool to stay cool during the dog days of summer. It was unclear whether or not public pools would be open. With pools in high demand, some had to wait a year to build their concrete pond. This is the Long's year.
Whatever the case, swimming is a wonderful summer sport/activity and the Longs are conditioned to be active and moving. In the early years, Jackie was a competitive swimmer and won numerous awards. In fact, during middle school, she participated in both swim and track. At age 13, she decided to compete in track only.
Jackie started cross country running in the sixth grade competing at the high school level and joined the St. Mary's High School track team. She won her first state track championship while in the 6th grade in the 3200 meter. Jackie said, “I thought it was the coolest thing ever, being so young and around high school kids.” This was only the beginning of an incredible career in cross country running.
In high school, athletics was Jackie’s jam. Make no mistake, she was a smart cookie too graduating with honors. During her tenure, she won 16 KHSAA State Championship Gold Medals. Four times she was selected by KTCCCA (Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association) as Class A runner of the year. Two years ago, she was inducted into their hall of fame.
During the early years of her success, Jackie’s mom Becky Bowers was there for every meet, award, and accolade. Part of Bowers support was to encourage Jackie to personally and publicly thank the coaches and others that helped Jackie reach her goals. “I was expected to make speeches thanking my coaches. It was uncomfortable, but I did it. Mom made me get up and present. This was her expectation.” said Jackie.
As a successful athlete, Jackie could write her ticket to the college of her choice. And she did. The University of Kentucky offered her a full athletic running scholarship to run for the UK Wildcats women’s track and field team. It was a dream come true.
After running for over a year, Jackie decided she no longer wanted this dream. She wanted to rush Chi Omega sorority and be a regular college student. “I was just tired of running.”
Burnout can easily happen to cross country competitors. The constant pressure to meet goals, schedules, and keep pace with other runners was intense. Paying close attention to your body and keeping it conditioned to avoid injury was exhausting. The repetition of running the same miles day in and day out was colorless. This type of regimen could lead to burnout for anybody.
However, Jackie thrives in this environment. She’s a goal-setter, an overachiever, it's in her wheelhouse. But, it was time to hang up the running shoes. “I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I know that’s sad but I didn’t.” After she quit the team, Jackie played every intramural sport available on campus and was team captain for many events. Though she gave up running she never gave up the thrill of competitive sports.
Four years of college had passed and Jackie received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Strategic Communications. Amazingly, there was no ‘big plan’ after graduating. Jackie didn’t have a job lined up and her parents ‘begged her to come home’. Against her preference to move away from the watchful eye of her parents, Jackie returned to Paducah and started knocking on doors looking for a job.
After returning home, jobs were scarce. Bowers told Jackie to start going door to door until someone let her in. She hit the streets and landed her first career job. David Long with Image Graphics hired Jackie, even though he wasn’t hiring. She handled the marketing for two years then left to work in the family business.
The Wagner family has several businesses in Paducah. They own Wagner Moving and Storage, a couple of Smoke Shops, and later Wagner Wine and Spirits. Jackie started managing the Subway at the Smoke Shop by the Brookport Bridge. It was here where she wore many hats from payroll to custodian. She really worked hard wanting to prove herself to the men in the family.
After Wagner Wine and Spirits was established, Jackie worked on the weekends at wine tasting events. The sampling was a social affair that invited patrons to taste various wines. It was here that she got to show off her marketing, PR, and sales skills learned while at college.
The wine tasting was a great addition to Wagner's Wine and Spirits 'softer side.' It complemented warm summer nights and longer days. Another way to experience the evening was to head downtown to one of the local watering holes.
It was a clear night and Jackie was ready to unwind after a hard day's work. She met up with friends at Fat Moe’s on Broadway. Fat Moe’s had a great outdoor garden with a bar, plenty of seating, and cornhole.
During this particular gathering, Jackie played a game of cornhole with Eric. “I thought he was cute and he must’ve thought I was cute too because he gave me his number,” said Jackie. Eric wrote his name and phone number on a plain, white napkin and asked her to give him a call. Two days later, she did.
The two started dating in 2007 and got engaged nine months later. Eric proposed to Jackie on a scrapbook page. Scrapbooking has been around for centuries and it's a way to record special memories through pictures, newspaper clippings, small trinkets or priceless knickknacks. Jackie was big into scrapbooking around this time. Though not a scrap booker himself, Eric crafted his own special page with the words, “Will you marry me?” Jackie said she doesn’t remember how he got her to look inside the memory book but he did and from that moment forward, everything changed.
Nine months later, Jackie and Eric were married. The wedding and the reception were held at St. Thomas Moore in Paducah. The honeymoon plan was to fly to Cabo San Lucas the day after the wedding. Jackie’s dad, Russell Wagner didn’t think it was a good time to be in Cabo and strongly suggested they alter their plans. So, it was off to West Palm Beach, Florida.
After working in the family business for three years, Jackie decided it was time to look for something else. She wanted to be taken seriously as a professional woman and thought a job outside the family business was the best option. She went to work at USEC, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, as an administrative assistant. “It wasn’t fulfilling at all. I made a lot of money to sit in a trailer with a bunch of men all day and answer the phone,” said Jackie. So, she left USEC in search of the career she desperately wanted.
Jackie’s true professional calling would be discovered with the next position. At American Home Patient, she would work outside sales. As an outside salesperson, she made her own schedule, set competitive goals, and was in charge of her own potential income. While at the medical home supply business, Jackie had her first child and went part-time. Eighteen months later, she left the workforce to be a full-time mom.
The couple had financially planned for the day they would start a family. Eric had joined his Dad’s law practice, Long & Long after receiving a law degree from Northern Kentucky University. The firm, located in Benton, Kentucky handles real estate, business, probate, and estate planning. After Eric’s dad retired, he maintained his client list as well as his dads.
Jackie started getting stir crazy. She was ready to make her mark again in the workforce. “I missed having something for myself,” she said. A Facebook friend invited her to listen to a presentation on a new skincare line. A group of kindergarten teachers in Benton, KY booked a room at a local restaurant to hear about a new venture. Jackie admits, “I had no clue what they were talking about. I’ve never used skin care, sometimes didn’t even wash my face.”
After returning home, Jackie told Eric about the meeting, he brushed it off and suggested she forget about it. Jackie couldn’t forget about it and three weeks later invested in R + F’s biggest package. The cost was $1,000. Jackie said, “Eric told me it was a pyramid scheme and I was going to blow our money. All he wanted me to do now was earn back the money spent.”
A month after starting the business, Jackie found out she was pregnant with baby number two. ‘This would work out,’ she thought. Jackie was extremely organized, driven, and had a plan. When the children napped, she would work. When the children went to sleep at night, she would get on the computer. When the children were having ‘down time’ she would work on client contacts, make phone calls, whatever needed to be done.
Eric picked up the slack. He could see that the business was growing and wanted to help. He started doing the dishes after dinner so Jackie could get on the computer. There were other small gestures too. During summer months, they hired part-time help for the kids while Jackie worked from home. “It had turned into a serious business and I wanted to treat it as such,” she said.
Jackie’s R + F business has grown to a team of 1,500 consultants in four countries with annual sales of four million dollars. Jackie has won numerous sales awards and been granted trips to Cabo, Cancun, Hawaii, and other places stateside. The trips are great, "but I'm more grateful for the long lasting friendships the business has provided," said Jackie. Once consultants start pulling in $100K a month in team sales, a stipend is granted for a car. Right now, Jackie drives a white Mercedes along with four other car achievers within her team. Yeah, baby.
Jackie said, “I’ll continue to ride the wave as long as it lasts.” The R + F line has been in business for 12 years. Mary Kay Inc. has been in business since 1963. Rodan + Fields is in four countries and plans to be in 150 countries. It does appear there’s room to grow.
“While I work, the kids are old enough now that they don’t need me all the time,” said Long. “Their time is very structured and they’ve adapted. There’s study time, play time, craft time, snack time, and rest time.”
Lucyanne is nine years old and Bode is six. This was the first year the children were going to be in school full-time. Then, the pandemic struck. The Longs opted to participate in online learning. “Both have done very good at home with their virtual learning,” said Long. Thanks to the R + F income, Eric has the freedom to be home more during the day. “He’s doing as much as I am,” said Jackie.
The Longs reside in Benton, Kentucky where Eric’s law firm is located. Both are dedicated to family, work, sports, and playtime. Jackie said, “I’m blessed with everything I ever wanted and I’m achieving everything I ever dreamed. Life is good and I'm forever grateful."
This is Jackie's unique story. For more information please search "Rodan + Fields, IDS'