Leadership Champlain Alumni Spotlight: Jenn Jarecki
Jenn Jarecki, Class of 2014
Corporate Support Associate, Vermont Public Radio
- Tell us a little about your current position.
I’m one of four fortunate Vermonters that work in Corporate Support at Vermont Public Radio, helping businesses throughout the state channel their support for VPR into effective marketing through underwriting and podcast sponsorships. I currently work with over one hundred businesses and organizations, including Rutland Regional Medical Center, r.K. Miles, UVM Continuing Education, NOFA Vermont, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Flynn Center, and The Alchemist, to name a few. I am honored to spend my days in the service of independent, public media and, quite honestly, feel like I’ve won the Vermont job lottery!
- What’s new since you graduated from Leadership Champlain?
When I was in Leadership Champlain, I was the Events Director at the LCRCC, living in Richmond, Vermont and teaching community yoga classes. Flash forward nearly five years and, after living in Pittsburgh – where I opened my online vintage clothing shop – I now live in Montpelier, work for VPR, continue to run Reel Vintage, and have co-founded a pop-up market business called Queen City Bazaar. I’m also now the proud Auntie of a darling niece and nephew.
- What is your favorite Leadership Champlain memory?
Criminal Justice Day wouldn’t be a favorite memory, necessarily, but it is certainly the most salient one; my time spent in Burlington’s women’s prison left me with an indelible impression of the extreme privacy deprivation experienced by inmates. I don’t mean privacy from one another or guards, but the tour actually took our group of strangers directly into a common room and among the living spaces of certain prisoners. It can be easy for those of us outside the prison system to characterize Vermont in a manner that accords with one’s own experiences or even hopes for the state, but there are many among us who experience a less hospitable place day in, day out, and I wouldn’t know this so directly were it not for Leadership Champlain.
- How has Leadership Champlain helped you get to where you are today?
Truthfully, I think this is tricky to track, but given the renown of the program, I imagine for those in this area, it pops on my resume and offers a conversation starter between alumni and future alumni alike. It has also put me among a very talented, accomplished group of graduates and that aspect of successfully completing from the program cannot be understated.
- What does leadership mean to you?
One of the most important lessons I learned during Leadership Champlain – and one of the most useful lessons in my entire career, really – is what leadership is not. Leadership is not being well-liked and ensuring that everyone is happy. I used to believe that being a good leader meant, in part, having the support of everyone around you, but I’ve since learned that that particular aim can actually erode successful leadership. Being friendly and agreeable has little to do with effectively helming a team, strategizing reasonable paths toward stated outcomes, and attaining necessary goals; though going about these projects in a respectful manner is, for me, extremely important. Being an effective, productive leader demands a committed focus on the organization or project’s aims, alongside recognizing the talent on one’s team and getting those people into positions that positively impact the overall goal(s). The best leadership, in my opinion, is marked by humility, intelligence, very close listening, and an understanding that, at a fundamental level, nothing is accomplished by a single person alone.
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