Employee Spotlight - Janeé McConnell - Agile Project Manager

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Each month, we feature one member of our smart and scrappy startup family here at Covered. This month, we had the pleasure of interviewing Janeé McConnell, our invaluable Agile Coach and Social Media Manager. From the first moment Janee joined the team, her presence was felt through her constant smile, her infectious laugh, and her unapologetic “Get Shit Done” attitude.

She’s been referred to as “the cool team mom with the wicked tats,” always showing up with the best snacks and the loving nudge to help kick you in the butt when you need it. Her background in education and managing complex projects has been critical to shaping Covered’s user experience and engagement, and her constant collaboration and focus on excellence exemplify two of Covered’s core values. She is a team player, through and through, focused on building value and keeping an eye towards always learning along the way.

Without further ado, we present to you Janee…

What is your favorite Covered Core Value (Accountability, Transparency, Collaboration, Excellence, and Generosity) and why?

It’s so hard to choose! I would have to say Generosity. I actually think that generosity begets all of the other core values. Generosity is one of those things that fuels so much of what we do, and when there is a lack of it, it’s felt in a variety of ways. I try to be as generous as I can in as many ways as I can, but it all starts with being generous with myself in creating boundaries so that I don’t go overboard and burn myself out.

What aspect of your role at Covered do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the fact that I get to learn about and participate in a new aspect of the business on a regular basis, and that everyone is so supportive of one another.

What do you enjoy about working at a start-up?

I love the small team vibe, and the fact that everyone is hustling hard toward a common goal with all of their unique skill sets and strengths. The potential of Covered, and the importance of everyone’s hard work is infused into everything that we do, every day. I am never bored, and there is creative, critical thinking happening at all times.

What has been the biggest growth opportunity during your time as part of the Covered family?

Taking on this new role as an Agile Coach/Project Manager, and being so well supported in learning the role as part of career change has definitely been the biggest and best growth opportunity I have had in a very long time. I feel really lucky to have landed at Covered with such a great group of people to work with.

If you could switch your job with anyone else within Covered, whose job would you want, and why?

I would definitely switch with one of the engineers because they have a skill that none of the rest of us have and I might be a tiny bit jealous? As the Agile Coach/Project Manager, I love listening to them crush code all day long and problem solve the software development process as a team. They are using a blend of very specific skills and knowledge along with creativity, problem solving, and forethought in regards to everything that they do. I find it really fascinating, and I would love to learn how to code.

What are three career/professional lessons you have learned so far?

  • Always listen more than you talk, and then stay true to your word.
  • Welcome every opportunity to be humbled and learn from people and experiences, even if it stings your pride a bit, it will be worth it.
  • Everyone is different, so you have to stay reliably flexible, patient, and kind.

What inspires you?

Risk taking inspires me. Safety and familiarity are great, but they don’t usually propel you into anything great or life changing. I love seeing people take risks to work hard at something they love, overcome challenges, solve problems, be creative, reach out to others, or just to be more authentic, because it inspires me to do the same.

What three traits define you?

Funny, Perceptive, and Strong

What were you like in high school?

Hmmmm, I think it’s safe to say I was kind of a wallflower. I had a tight little crew of friends that I was more open and silly with, but outside of that group I was just a band nerd who got decent grades and melded into the crowd for the most part. I didn’t go through any kind of dramatic rebellion, or anything interesting like that…that came later.

What is one thing about you that people would be surprised if they knew?

Either that I have terrible stage fright, or that I’m afraid of people in mascot costumes. I will go WAY out of my way to avoid a mascot that wants to high five me or enthusiastically dance around in my personal space. When I see one, I’m out. This includes mall Santas.

When Mascots Attack
When Mascots Attack!

If you had to teach someone a new skill in five minutes what would it be?

How to make the BEST swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

What’s the next thing on your bucket list?

Learn to play the drums, take a dance class, and go on a trip to Costa Rica

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you title it, and why?

I would never do that! I don’t even like writing in a journal. But I’m assuming you’ll tell me that I have to answer. So if that’s the case, I would title it “Whiskey in a Teacup” because I feel that describes me fairly accurately.

You’re hosting a dinner party. Who are the 3 people, living or dead, who you would invite?

  • My best friend, Sarah
  • My other best friend, Sarah, who passed away last year
  • My grandmother, Betty

A collection of the best and most badass ladies who have had the most influence on me. There would be SO much laughing, and box wine consumption. We’d probably play cards after dinner and my grandma would teach us all how to play poker while adorably cheating and pretending not to know that holding a card on her lap was “cheating”.

If you could witness one historical event, what would it be, and why?

Fun Fact - Before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abigail Adams warned John Adams that he should give more thought to the rights of women in writing the Declaration of Independence, she told him “If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to form a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation” . Mic drop, Abby!

And what did John Adams say? “I cannot but laugh.”

UGH.

So, I would like to have been present at the first Women’s Rights Convention that was held in Seneca Falls in 1848 because it was a groundbreaking event that led to a growing attention to Women’s rights across the nation. The group that assembled had drafted and then signed a document called the Declaration of Sentiments, which was based on the Declaration of Independence and demanded rights for women. My favorite line is “…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.”

Seneca Falls, 1848
Women's Rights Convention - Seneca Falls, 1848

What was your best MacGyver moment?

Not sure if this counts, but my first car always seemed to have a tire that was slowly leaking air (I have come to suspect that my father may have done this on purpose) so I became really good at jacking my car up and changing the low tire and swapping with the spare all by myself in record time. One time, I even had to do it on the way to a job interview, and I still made it to my appointment in time.

Do you have any favorite lines from a movie or song? Something you always love to quote at just the right moment?

“You’re killing me, Smalls!”

You're killing me, Smalls.

What are your top two guilty pleasures?

TV/Movies and Shopping.

If a song had to play every time you entered a room, what would it be?

This is such a tough question, because I would like to adjust the song to fit my mood, and I would want it to be something that would make people happy when they hear it, too. So I’m going to go with “PYT” by Michael Jackson. Ask me again next week and my answer will be totally different.

Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities? Why?

Flying cars, probably. Because I love to drive fast and I have always wanted to have a flying car, like in Blade Runner or The Fifth Element.

The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element (1997)

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