Friday, September 16, 2011

What can I say about Jenny?

When I sat down to try to think of just one word that would describe my friend and co-worker, Jenny Sowry, it was impossible.

She's so many things. A great mom to a really cool kid. A supportive wife to a really nice guy. A really good friend, not only to me, but to many, many other people. And that's just the beginning.

She's also the Senior Manager for the Editorial Department at The Mommies Network and perhaps one of the greatest servant leaders I have ever had the opportunity to work with.

I met Jenny just over a year ago. She lives near me and had been involved in leadership on her chapter, as well as volunteering at a national level with The Mommies Network, but we didn't cross paths until she volunteered to help me with a video project and attended our leadership retreat to take video footage of our volunteers. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew I had found a kindred spirit and we chatted with each other as though we were old friends.

As my role at TMN shifted and I began to develop an Editorial Department to house and manage our various online publications, I knew that I wanted Jenny on my team. Her dedication to our mission was evident in all that she did and I knew that great things were going to happen if Jenny was involved!

Jenny takes her job very seriously and she is tremendously talented. Her expertise is bar none and not only does she regularly bring great ideas to the table, but she follows through and brings them to fruition, constantly improving the department and the quality of our content and graphics.

But what Jenny does best, and why she is quite possibly the most beloved member of the Editorial Department (which has grown under her leadership to quite a big group!), is care for the people she works with and helps each of them to achieve their own success in their role. Her volunteers know she is dedicated. They see that she won't ask them to do anything she isn't willing to dive into the trenches and do along with them. She stays up until the wee hours of the morning scheduling blog posts for chapters where their leadership is stretched thin and need extra help. She rearranges her day to be there when one of her team members needs her time or attention. She regularly lets her team know how much she appreciates them and values the work that they do. She empowers them to do great things and steps back and lets them shine.

I always say that my number one job every day is to make sure Jenny is taken care of and supported. Its a pleasure and a honor to have that as my priority, because I couldn't ask for a more amazing person to work with every day. She takes care of so many people, she gives so much of herself to her team and to The Mommies Network, it seems only fair that she should get my first attention!

And don't just take my word for it -- just hear what some of her team had to say:

Jenny has got to be one of the hardest working moms I know and she doesn't get paid a dime. She's an amazing boss who will always give credit to her team before taking any for herself. It seems effortless for her to show so much appreciation and love for the mommies that work for her. She just fabulous!
--Kristin Swaim, TMN Graphics Manager

Though I've been a member of The Mommies Network for three years, I'd never been a manager, even at the chapter level, before taking on my role as National Blog Manager. Despite how busy things were (and always seem to be!), Jenny not only made me feel right at home within TMN's expansive staff, but boosted my confidence and encouraged me to take on my job with pride. This was no easy feat - I felt inexperienced and insecure about taking charge as a newbie, not wanting to step on any toes among such talented women. But it was Jenny's light-hearted, friendly and overly welcoming word choices and emoticons (oh, the technological world we live in!) that pushed me from sitting on the sidelines to jumping in and taking charge as if each proposed project was my own. Every step of the way, she's been host to endless questions and suggestions, and she always answers them with poise - even if she doesn't agree with you. She does her best to be professional and courteous in the most frustrating of circumstances, and still knows how to have a goofy, down-to-earth, good time. She created a great sense of respect and camaraderie within the Blog Transition Team - creating friendships across the country among women who wouldn't have had the opportunity to get to know each other without this fun, supportive group. In other words, she is the very essence of The Mommies Network, infusing everything she touches with our mission statement. We love you Jenny! - The Lickster ;)
--Jennifer Rychlicki, TMN National Blog Manager

So, if you are a part of TMN and want a great example of a servant leader, look no further than our wonderful Jenny Sowry. We're so lucky to have her as a part of our organization and I'm grateful that I can call her my friend!

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