Hey Stranger, I’m Marisa, the newest member of the JK Team and Jenna’s Integrator ( if you just asked yourself “what’s that?” you can read all about it right here ). Before coming on board, I’d drooled over Jenna’s gorgeous little social squares, diligently digested her email wisdom and tuned in to almost all the Goal Digger episodes, so to be honest, I thought I had a pretty good handle on all things Jenna Kutcher. Needless to say, after spending some time together and now working beside her, I wanted to share five things that still totally surprised me! From running a fluff-less business to making her mark in the world through missionary trips I bet you also had no idea about; this girl is truly everything and a bag of chips (gluten-free of course!).
WHEN IT COMES TO BUSINESS, JENNA DOESN’T DO FLUFF
From the moment she picked me up at the airport, to the home tour she graciously gave as if I’d been a family friend for life, you can’t help but feel an immediate connection to Jenna when you meet her. She’s funny, extremely down to earth and so stinking sweet, so watching her transition into her powerhouse CEO slippers was unanticipated and yet deeply impressive. She’s direct, strategic, fast-paced and unstoppable when it comes to showing up and sourcing an even better way to serve her people.
She’ll be the first to tell you “don’t overcomplicate it” or “imperfect action is better than inaction” which is a true testament to why projects I once envisioned taking weeks, are casually completed in days, sometimes, mere hours. She is unapologetic and when witnessed in her element, it’s extremely clear why her company is thriving. I think it’s fair to say this girl isn’t really pulling a seat up to the table, she’s busy building her own.
FOODIE FOR LIFE? JENNA IS TOO!
As a child did you ever play that game “stuck on an island” where you’d get to pick 1 – 3 things you couldn’t live without? I don’t know about you, but as I’ve transitioned into adulthood, I’ve found that my priorities have shifted and I care more about who I’m getting stuck with and what survival skills they have in comparison to my none. My pick? You guessed it! Jenna’s not only got the smarts, she’s also got the best fricken snacks!
From her raspberry chocolate covered almonds, she had ready for car rides to the cute cafe and delicious local diner she took me to in Duluth, she’s a total fellow foodie at heart. Food connects people and culturally, it allows us to all speak one language. I loved getting to first-hand experience Jenna’s love for good bites because it also allowed us to bond and break the ice too. I mean, you can’t quite be nervous, when sipping cocktails and chowing down delicious pork nachos and fries now can you?
SHE’S A COMMUNITY BUILDER AND CARETAKER
Have you ever clicked on the “Surprise Me” page while visiting the Jenna Kutcher site? I never had until my love for the Dominican Republic came up in conversation and Jenna casually dropped that her and Drew had also visited on multiple missionary trips. They’d visited with Healing Waters, an organization that develops and cares for communities holistically. Jenna started donating her photography to the non-profit and quickly became one of their top donors, giving to the communities she’s frequented. As a consistent visitor, this country is quite significant to me, so finding this common thread was so cool and really meaningful.
I knew Jenna had a big heart, but I wasn’t aware of the initiatives it held dear, like this one. I also didn’t realize that a portion of every dollar we earn goes to Healing Waters, meaning Jenna and Drew have been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars this year toward different initiatives in their local community and globally to various missions. But the giving doesn’t stop there! Jenna recently also gifted each member of our team $5,000 to donate to an organization of our choice. Talk about a total office tearjerker!
FAMILY FIRSTS ARE KIND OF HER THING
While building a successful company is impressive, being the first in your family to build an online empire is kind of a big deal. I didn’t know much about Jenna’s upbringing before meeting her other than the fact that she was from a small Minnesota town and we had similar early-career tracks at Target. As we dug into conversations around family, I was really surprised to learn about Jenna’s story and her family framework.
I think a lot of times we see two ladders to success; the people who turn really bad situations around and make it, and the people who begin with a step ahead due to some kind of affluence; but, Jenna’s trajectory wasn’t built on either. Her dad, a recent retiree from a local paper mill and her mom, a teacher at a local community college, are your modern-day working-class folks who are still a bit baffled by the concept of being able to make a living online. She’s the first entrepreneur in her family, as well as the first to dabble in real estate and multiple property ownership; which goes to show that like Jenna, we all have the power to paint our own paths of possibility.
MY ADJECTIVE FOR JENNA AND DREW?, “HOMESTYLE HUMBLE”
It honestly didn’t hit me that THE Jenna Kutcher was picking me up until I was sitting on the airport bench waiting for her to pull around. I even accidentally got up and greeted the wrong car because it looked like her from afar and I wanted to make a good first impression. So awkward! The moment we saw each other, she parked and immediately jumped out to give me a hug. Next, I meet Drew and same game, he also greets me with the biggest hug as he welcomes me into their home. Just to briefly backtrack, this was the first time we had all met in person following one phone call with Jenna and a handful of exchanged emails; so basically strangers.
As we drove through Duluth later that day, Jenna pointed out life landmarks, like the church her and Drew got married in and the hospital that Conley was born at. At the local diner, I watched as they both picked up old and new conversations with the waitress, the busboy, Drew’s chiropractor, a fan, every interaction so humble and warm; which really shouldn’t have surprised me at all. It was the best training and way for me to get a feel for who they are and what their life is like because, at the heart of it all, that’s the true Jenna Kutcher brand.