At OZY, we have a tradition of asking new team members to introduce themselves with a “fun fact.” Some people talk about the freckle on their iris or their prowess in mango-eating competitions. Janeen Poutre’s fun fact?
“I’m the fun fact!” she says.
We suspect Janeen is right. Spend a few minutes with her and you’ll probably start hooting and hollering. Definitely the most fun finance type you’ll ever meet, and perhaps the most fun person at OZY.
Her origins were humble, and her parents didn’t have “two shiny pennies” to pay for college. So Janeen put herself through school by working in the accounts department of a nut factory — pistachios and almonds. Clearly talented, Janeen was promoted as soon as she graduated. One of her first assignments was to assess the damage a fire had wrought on three silos of nuts. How many nuts had been burned? Could the company salvage anything by making oil from the burned nuts? It took Janeen many years before she could even look at a pistachio or an almond. ”I’m starting to really enjoy mixed nuts again,” she says.
Next move? OZY, of course.
Janeen comes to us with an amazing amount of experience guiding startup after startup through crazy growth, acquisitions and IPOs. One of the companies she worked at was acquired by Juniper, another by Google. The big lesson, from her perspective: Spend your time and resources working smarter, not more hours. We, of course, love this MO, but we are also aware that it’s easy for Janeen. She’s a morning person, the kind who comes equipped with her own internal alarm clock and needs no coffee, ever.
“Maybe all the good deeds my mom has done has really blessed me from a career perspective,” Janeen speculates. When Janeen was 2, the whole family decamped to Liberia for four years, and her mom still spends a lot of time there, waaay out in the countryside. “My mom’s so giving and generous and sacrificing,” Janeen says. “She has a burning need to give.”
“Me, on the other hand,” she says, laughing, “I need to find me some Christian Louboutins!”