Hi, I’m Jen, and I’m a Project Manager and Operations Guru at Org & Relo. Apparently it’s my turn to introduce myself on Behind the Scenes, so here goes!
I grew up in Michigan, and a favorite thing to do as a kid--surprise!--was rearrange my room. I’d get a sheet of graph paper, measure everything, draw it to scale by filling in the squares, and then drag my furniture into its new arrangement. This process also included the wall art--my many ballet posters. Then I’d sit back, analyze, and repeat.
When I wasn’t redesigning my room, I used to climb trees, play dress-up, put on performances for neighbors (25 cents a ticket, come one, come all), and hang out in the “Girls Only” clubhouse my dad built in the yard. During my teenage years I spent a lot of time with my youth group and loved playing volleyball at Jellystone Campground with Karen Grace (still my BFF to this day!
Dance and performing have been lifelong passions. When I was young, I studied ballet, tap, and jazz and performed with Young People’s Ballet Theatre and Flint Community Players. My dream was to have my own dance studio one day. I graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with a BA in Dance and BBA in Management
After college I worked as a bank teller to pay the bills, but I had not lost sight of dancing professionally when I came to the Colorado Dance Festival in 1996. It was my first time in Boulder, and I loved it! I took a vertical dance class (dancing on a climbing wall) with Carmela Weber and also met Nancy Smith, director of Frequent Flyers Productions. Aerial dance was exhilarating--and a great fit for me. I decided to move to CO shortly after and became a part of Frequent Flyers Productions. Even though I’d only danced on the floor prior to that, I adapted quickly to dancing in the air with a low-flying trapeze. Eventually I started teaching and choreographing and danced professionally with FFP for 10 years.
One of my life highlights was when Cirque du Soleil hired Frequent Flyers to perform at their Canadian Grand Prix party in Montreal. We danced six stories up on the outside of their headquarters. The engineers built rigging on the roof for us to clip into, and we lowered ourselves down the side of the building, lit by spotlights. The party didn’t start till after midnight and the music was blasting as we began. I remember standing on the roof, looking down at the crowd below and thinking that performing didn’t get much better than this. At the conclusion of our performance, fireworks exploded above us, and the party officially began.
During my tenure with Frequent Flyers I was also working full-time; first as a bank supervisor, then as a project coordinator at OZ Architecture. When OZ decided to relocate to a larger office, I partnered with the office manager to facilitate the move. She was very organized with a great vision (and an awesome checklist!), and the move went without a hitch. I had always been a fan of order (remember that graph paper?), but that was probably the first time I really got that organization was something critical to many relocations. So much more goes into it than you can imagine.
When the firm eventually downsized, I had a chance to refocus on what I wanted to do. As a certified Pilates instructor, I became director of the Pilates program at Flatirons Athletic Club and kept looking for jobs along the way. In 2011, I came across an ad on Craigslist for an organizing and administrative position and was hired at Organization & Relocation. It wasn’t until I did my first projects that I really understood what Sheryl meant when she said, “Org & Relo takes organizing to a whole new level.” So much detail went into it! I was surprised at how much there was to learn.
When I walk into a space, I see the potential right away. I like the high ROI of doing a messy pantry or a stuffed-to-the-gills closet--there’s an immediate impact when you start to sort and colorize. Often the biggest challenge for our clients is getting started, so once they see the Org & Relo team walk through their door, the gratitude is immediate. Challenges are different with each client, and it’s important to really listen to what they want and set up systems that work for them. I can see their tension falling away as I help them impose order in their space. I read the relaxation in their bodies, just like I do with my Pilates students. We all carry tension in different places, internally and externally, and we need room to breathe and release.
I love being a Certified Professional Organizer (yes, there’s an exam, and, yes, I passed!) I really had no idea I could get paid to do this. There’s a ton of variety with the job; every day is fun, challenging, and dynamic. My team is very caring--their standards are high, and they’re not satisfied until a job is done right. I resonate with that. I feel lucky; not many of us can say that about our jobs.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a closet to whip into shape.
Thanks for reading!