You never know where you will find Karena Jensen day-to-day at Central Exchange. A little over a year ago she came in to work under Chef Peter Beffa for Central Catering Co; handling day to day set up, service, bar tending & catering, with a strong focus on our members experience. When the opportunity came up to take a more active role as Office Manager here at Central Exchange, Karena jumped at the opportunity. Meet Karena!
Her CX connection:
Karena was originally connected to CX through Central Catering Co. She fell in love with the staff on the first day. “I really enjoy the energy and kindness the staff shows each other. It’s an extra bonus that I am working for an organization that is out here lifting up women. I can get behind that every day,” Karena says.
A day in the life:
“Some days you will find me working with the guys in the kitchen, some days I am at my desk, I think the tell-tale sign of what I’ll be doing when I walk through the door is my choice of shoe wear – if I’m in heels it’s an office day,” Karena laughs. Team CX is excited to see this shoe variety we keep hearing about!
Karena spent 18 years working in the insurance industry. She worked many different positions, most recently as a commercial loss control consultant with a focus on integrated risk management. “While I enjoyed my career, there is a lot of travel and long hours involved,” she says. “As a mom, I wanted to find a job that allowed flexibility & personal time with my family; Central Exchange is a perfect fit.”
“The best female leaders I have met are kind, lift others up instead of tear them down, collaborate instead of dictate, listen and create a positive work space.”
On Women Leadership:
“Central Exchange provides a great space for women to connect and empower others,” said Karena. “The best female leaders I have met are kind, lift others up instead of tear them down, collaborate instead of dictate, listen and create a positive work space.” Although Central Exchange is female-focused, Karena believes that these qualities should represent all great leaders, both male and female.
Karena has an adorable and very active 11-year-old son, and she enjoys focusing on her passion for art. “You might find me teaching a class on watercolor, working in my studio, photographing a wedding, or hiking with a gaggle of boys making fart jokes,” she says. Karena is also very active in the local KC activist & organizing community. “I try to be out in the community actively working to make the world a better place.”
Woman who made a difference in your life:
Karena has had the pleasure to meet a variety of women who have impacted her on both a personal and professional level. “I can’t think of just one woman. Through the activist community in KC, I have met so many women who exude strength of character and help to hold others up. Just knowing these women have made me a better person.”
“Every day is not going to go perfect, you might hit small bumps, but the outcome is determined by how you roll with it!”
Most valuable lesson CX has taught her:
Central Exchange is the smallest staff that Karena has ever worked with. With so few people and so much to get done, Karena’s outside perspective is one that many of us can lean into. “Always handle bumps in the road with grace,” Karena said. “Every day is not going to go perfect, you might hit small bumps, but the outcome is determined by how you roll with it!”
Karena has such a wide variety of creative talents, that it was no surprise to hear her say she hopes to be an artist or art teacher someday. “I love all things art,” Karena said. “It’s a great way to tap into your creative side and it always helps me relax after a rough week.”
Thank you, Karena, for being a dedicated member of Team CX! Read more profiles on Team CX here.