Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan. Current Gig: President, Maestro Current mobile device: iPhone 4S and iPad mini (thanks for the wonderful Christmas present, team!) Current computer: MacBook Air One word that best describes how you work: Collaboratively
What apps/software/tools can't you live without? Evernote, Skype, Outlook are in my daily go-to rotation. Also, we’ve recently started to use Know Your Company, a new software tool from 37 signals (more on that in future blog posts). These are all tools that help me communicate with the Maestro team.
What's your workspace like? Pretty tidy….when my breakfast and lunch plates make their way to the kitchen and my Perrier bottles (yes, plural) make their way to recycling. ☺ Besides the standard equipment, I have several glass jars with snacks such as pistachio nuts, raw almonds and cashews in them. I also have a picture of my kiddos and a 5 by 7 notecard that says Kindness Begins with ME. This is to remind me that kindness, patience and humility all start here.
What's your best time-saving trick? I try to stay focused on one task at a time. While in meetings or working on a project, I shut down my email and Skype so that I can be fully engaged. This does a couple things. It allows me to be present (and be a good listener, which is a quality I value) and be a better problem solver. Being present and in the moment is a huge time saver. And, the best benefit is that you get to show others that you value and care about what they have to say. It’s a win-win.
What's your favorite to-do list manager? Great question. Since I am now nearly paperless, I have not found the perfect solution yet. I rely a lot on my email system. I have action folders that keep me on track. I also try to do things immediately so that they aren’t forgotten. I generally start an email and save it in my draft folder if I can’t get it completed right away.
I am lucky to have other app nerds at work. I am in the middle of testing Wunderlist and Things. Not sure yet. Time will tell.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without? My remote car starter. The team surprised me a few years ago for Christmas and had it installed, via my husband. It gets things nice and toasty in our cold Michigan winters and makes them more tolerable. Every vehicle moving forward will have this handy device installed.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? Listening. I prefer to do less talking. I also love to problem solve and coach, however without the ability to listen, you can’t really do either of those things very well.
What do you listen to while you work? It’s changing. I get to sit next to the coolest cat in the office, our creative director. I feel like I am always purchasing something new from iTunes because I love what he is listening to. I am in LOVE with Mat Kearney and Ben Rector. Thanks Zach! I am also enjoying Train and Phillip Phillips right now.
If anyone on the team gets a sappy email from me expressing my gratitude for everything they are doing, I am probably listening to some good music. ☺
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. I am definitely an ambivert.
What's your sleep routine like? I am in the middle of trying to change it right now. The old Jen was a late-night, second wind at 11pm stay up till 2am kinda gal. But that trick has grown old. The last four months I’ve been diligent about getting to bed around 10pm so I can make my early morning 5:45 spin class. I’ve been meeting a friend at the gym every morning and the alarm just comes too early if I haven’t gotten tucked in at a decent time. So far, so good! Ask me in another six months if I’ve made the complete transition.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions. The rest of the team. I love reading everyone’s answers.
What's the best advice you've ever received? Be true to yourself. Be transparent. Be vulnerable. Life is too short to hold back what you’re thinking and feeling. It doesn’t do a lot of good if it just rolls around in your head and added to other stories you are telling yourself. And, generally those stories are wrong anyway. That advice has created a happier Jen and a healthier environment here at Maestro.