With an innate curiosity and a genuine desire to do good in the world, Jeff J. Cunningham has taken his entrepreneurial spirit and put it to positive use. His keen ability for adapting to the latest technology is what puts him on the edge of digital marketing. Through his company, Changing Lives Consulting, he assists businesses in achieving their goals by employing unique techniques that create an everlasting impact on the lives and families of his clients. His ultimate aim is to help them build a business legacy that will endure for generations to come.
Through various hardships he faced in life, his mindset changed the perspective of what he wanted and how he would get there. Cunningham shares, “My brother had the toughest life after my mom passed, carrying the burdens of our grieving family. His dream was to build a coffee shop, as well as a music and podcast studio all in one. I told him I would do it with him. Two days after we sketched that plan out, he passed away. I was devastated. And the same week, we lost a student of mine to suicide. I sunk into depression, started therapy, and prayed to God to let me die. That was until I found a video on depression by Grant Cardone. That video gave me the will to keep going. It helped me recognize my purpose: I could build this; for both of us. From here my dedication to build Kokomo Jay’s was born.”
WHERE THE GENIUS CAME FROM
Jeff J. Cunningham grew up in a close-knit family. His parents, especially his father, worked hard to provide a stable life for them. However, everything changed on July 3, 1999, when his mother lost her battle with breast cancer. This devastating loss became the turning point in Cunningham’s life. He reflects, “After my mom passed away, it felt like a glitch in the Matrix.”
When he reflects, he credits his mom for where his genius comes from. As a homeschooled coding geek, Cunningham faced challenges and was often picked on. Nevertheless, he found support from two families who helped him continue homeschooling after his mother’s passing. It was during this time that he also discovered a sense of purpose and the importance of forming lasting connections.
GETTING THROUGH THE HEARTACHE
After experiencing heartache and financial struggles, Cunningham became a teacher, which gave him a new perspective on life. Working with children from difficult backgrounds, he found a new deep sense of compassion. It was during this period that his older brother, Jay, expressed his desire to open a business and sought Jeff’s entrepreneurial expertise.
THE DREAM: KOKOMO JAY’S
Combining his passion for entrepreneurship and his brother’s dream, Jeff J. Cunningham embarked on a journey to build Kokomo Jay’s—a virtual music and podcast studio that aimed to connect people through their stories. The vision is beyond a virtual space, with plans to open a brick-and-mortar location serving coffee and expand worldwide. Although Kokomo Jay’s has not officially launched yet, Jeff’s vision for it continues to live on, as he is confident and determined to accomplish this dream.
MARKETING WORDS OF WISDOM
Cunningham’s marketing prowess stems from his authentic desire and ability to connect with people on a deeper level. When he teaches marketing strategy, through his company Changing Lives Consulting, he emphasizes the importance of grabbing attention, visualizing the mindset of others, and appealing to their emotions. By framing the value of what he can bring to the table and incorporating a subtle call to action, he leaves a lasting impression on his audience. Cunningham believes these techniques can be learned by aspiring marketers, serving as fundamental building blocks for success.
BECOMING A GREAT LEADER
His ambition extends beyond entrepreneurship. He aspires to be a great leader, driven by his values and principles. He recalls a childhood memory of flipping through a book on presidents with his mother, envisioning himself in a position of influence. While some may doubt his aspirations, he remains steadfast in his belief that great leaders unite people and cast a compelling vision. Cunningham places his trust in his Christian faith, leaving the outcome in the hands of God.
Jeff J. Cunningham’s entrepreneurial journey is fueled by purpose, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. From the depths of personal tragedy to finding his calling as a teacher and entrepreneur, he exemplifies the power of hope, faith and a love for people.
This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.