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Jeanne, Jeanne the Dancing Machine

Jeanne04Jeanne Connon is our newly minted Chief Marketing Officer.  Happy days!

Jeanne came to Grommet the very week we launched and I truly believe we could not have effectively executed this business without her.  Or, if we did, the rest of us would be wraith-like shadows of human beings.  Jeanne is the sheer embodiment of a "STUG"--a startup guy/gal.  She was on the founding team of Monster (enough said), and this is her fourth startup.  More than anyone, Jeanne knew what this ride was going to look like.

Jeanne effortlessly ranges from the highest level of strategic thinking, to quietly and uncomplainingly spending her weekends catching up on the terribly laborious and tedious tasks that just have to get done.   She's deeply analytical, has no qualms about sharing her point of view, relentlessly focused on the clarity and quality of anything that represents  Grommet and our suppliers, and she genuinely rallies around the broader "cause" of Grommet.

When I called one of Jeanne's references (the one who calls her a dancing machine), he said,

Every startup CEO needs a Jeanne.  Nothing falls through the cracks when she is on the job.  You are going to need that.

So true.  But here are some of my favorite Jeanne moments:

  • When Jeanne caught wind of the upcoming publication of Galway Bay, she knew it would be the perfect Grommet for St. Patrick's Day.  But here was the rub--the author was going to be in town just two days later, and Jeanne hadn't yet made sure the book was good enough to be a Grommet.  She rushed to get a copy and stayed up all night to read it.
  • Jeanne is--literally--the person who pushes the button at noon to release each day's Grommet.  You should see her in a meeting that goes anywhere past 11:30.  She develops a subtle twitch, avidly checking her watch.  (She will be passing the baton on this duty, with her new role.)
  • When she came to Grommet, both Joanne and I had the sense that Jeanne would just as soon not show up in any videos.  But she saw that we needed her, and she has quickly become a steady video presence.  I know that when a product has complicated details and there is a rich story to tell, Jeanne will be all over it.  Maybe she used to worry about it, but now she just dives in and does a superbly articulate video, on a moment's notice.
  • Hearing Jeanne sing along with a visiting artist, when we shot his (upcoming) Grommet video.  The woman has a good voice.  She says, "Yeah, I'm the one who is always trying to get someone to play the guitar so we can have a sing-along!"
  • Jeanne bonds deeply with many of the Grommet suppliers.  One of them, Sian Foster from Ella Georgia, told me she was going to have withdrawal symptoms after her day in the Grommet sun, because she would not be in regular contact with Jeanne.

There are people who just seem "More More" than the rest of us.  They get more done.  They have more ideas.  They are in behind the scenes making sure the enterprise succeeds.  They do it for the honor of a job well done and because they care deeply about doing the team's mission.  That's Jeanne, all day long, every day.  We are all the richer, and happier, for her being in our presence.

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