As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Jeanne, Jeanne the Dancing Machine


Jeanne 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.

8 Responses to “Jeanne, Jeanne the Dancing Machine”

  1. jeanneconnon

    Wow – Jules, you’ve given me a lot to live up to here (including the “dancing machine” part …!) – and I’m not sure I’m quite ready to give up that button yet.

    The fact is, you’ve assembled such an incredible team here at Daily Grommet and I’m honored to be a part of it. There’s nothing like the thrill of taking an idea this BIG out of the gates – you’re right that I do care deeply about our mission and it’s clear that there are many “More More” great things ahead.

    I have to share a note I got from my dad after he read your post: “In business, as in so much of life, such honest and explicit expressions of appreciation from a colleague are rare which makes them so special, like pearls, when discovered and polished.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Thanks Jules.

  2. Drew Beja

    Congrats Jeanne. I’ll swing by Daily Grommet World HQ one of these days with a pitcher of “Ohio State Fair Lemonade” so we can suitably toast your promotion.

    Best of luck!

  3. julespieri

    @ Jeanne. I need to meet your dad one of these days. Knowing you, he has to be a special guy. And this quote from him is priceless.

    @Drew. Great idea!

  4. Paul Flanagan

    Jeanne: Congrats! i know you will do a great job! More Emily!

    Jules: you have to ask her to sing “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor. You will not be dissapointed!

  5. julespieri

    @Paul….SO glad for the tip. I have fond memories of blaring that song from a record player during, I think, college and I miss it! Jeanne can now fill the void!

  6. Jeanne

    Hey, with Drew’s lemonade and Jules’ tunes, this is starting to sound like a party!

  7. Stan

    Jeanne – Congrats on the big promotion. Sounds like it was well deserved. It was a true pleasure working with you earlier in the year.


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