Asian-American & Pacific Islander History Month Spotlight: Jay Conolly, Voyint
Thank you to Jay Conolly, President of Voyint, for answering our questions for this week’s spotlight! Learn more about Voyint here.
Where were born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?
I was born in Steubenville, Ohio, but was only there for a year. Following that, we lived in Pennsylvania for a couple years, but I don’t remember too much about living in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Most of memories growing up were when I was living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which was later re-zoned/renamed as Montgomery Village, Maryland. So even though I was born outside the state, I consider Maryland to be the place I was raised, as I was there for Day Care, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Not too long after I left for college – Jacksonville University (1999), my family moved from Montgomery Village to Ashburn Virginia (2000), where they lived in the same home ever since. I remember when they moved to Loudoun, it was still a small community with a promising buzz because AOL has just put up an office there. Even though I didn’t grow up in Ashburn, it quickly become the “center-of-my-universe” as my parents and siblings have continued to live here. Anytime I came “home” to visit, it was always to Ashburn. In 2018, my family (myself, wife, and 2 girls) decided to build a home in Aldie, Virginia and call Loudoun County our home.
When did you launch your first business and how did you get into your current line of work?
My first start-up was a business called “SpotLit” which was a combination of my background in professional services and experience supporting military operations. I started my professional career in the Navy. Having joined post-911, most of time in the service (2003-2010) was supporting Intelligence and Security operations abroad. When I got out of the military in 2010, I switched gears and gained sales and professional services experience in the private sector working for and with Fortune 100 companies.
How I landed on the services that Voyint offers today was a little bit of luck and timing. Based on my first start-up, I began to explore providing investigative services for compliance requirements, particularly pre-employment and third party due diligence. As I learned more about how organizations meet those compliance requirements, I quickly found a need for providing enhanced background check and investigative services, that leveraged intelligence tradecraft as a way to supplement traditional database research and analysis, which is what my current business Voyint offers today.
Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that influenced your career?
I’ve had several leaders and managers that I’ve worked for as a professional. Being in the military allowed me to have more experiences at a young age with different leaders. There wasn’t one person in particular that guided or influenced my career. Looking back, I think it was a combination of several leaders and mentors that helped shape my professional development as well as my leadership and manager views. Probably the most impactful and influential things I learned came from bad leaders and bad managers. Being around those folks taught me quickly what I didn’t want to be as a leader and as a manager. In many ways, those experiences also drove me to want to create my own business and create the right culture and lead the right way.
What is the best part of your job and why?
Being an entrepreneur. I’m obsessed with entrepreneurism. I really enjoy creating and building, and I love the fact that I’m able to do that every day with the people I work with and the clients we support. I believe that my personal “why” is to create situations that make people feel good, change their mindset, and leave a lasting impression. Being an entrepreneur allows me to do that every day in the services we provide, the people we influence, and the value we add.
What is it like owning/running a business in Loudoun?
It feels complete. I’ve worked throughout US and Overseas, as well as in major cities and small communities, and Loudoun is perfect — at least for me and for Voyint. Loudoun has a great mix of businesses that represent the clients we work with to include – Government, Legal, Financial, Non-profit, Healthcare, Technology, and Professional Services. As a Veteran, I also think that Loudoun has a strong community of Veterans and Service members that align with the background and values we focus on at Voyint. Voyint provides services to both government and industry clients, so being a Loudoun-based business really offers us the best of both worlds.
What does Asian-American and Pacific Islander History Month mean to you?
Pride. I’m really happy that it’s observed and recognized as part of the American culture. I’m very proud of my heritage as a Filipino-American and think that if we’re going to be a nation of diverse cultures and beliefs, that we need to share and celebrate our ethnic backgrounds. Growing up in a mix family gave me the benefit of experiencing a blend of cultural traditions that allowed me to gain a better understanding of backgrounds and heritage. I think it’s one of the reasons I was so passionate about living abroad. Being able to experience and understand the background of different cultures is very exciting for me. I think this month is a phenomenal way to embrace AAPI culture and heritage and the impacts that were made in America.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
Aside from spending time with my family, I really enjoy playing guitar and listening to music. My other favorite thing to do is play golf and take advantage of all the great golf courses in Loudoun County and Northern Virginia!