This week, Greenleaf Job Training Services provides a peak inside their organization. President & CEO Jennifer Kuntz shares insight on this unique employment center for individuals with differing abilities, and how she strives to make a positive impact in Central Ohio.
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
I started Greenleaf Job Training Services in March 1995 to help job seekers of varying abilities find employment and greater self-reliance. At Greenleaf, we follow the philosophy of a quote of John Greenleaf Whittier: “I’ll lift you and you lift me, and we’ll both ascend together.” Kuntz was named after Greenleaf, who is one of her ancestors, and she applied the name and philosophy to her company which looks at people’s strengths and not their disabilities. Our mission is to provide employment support services to people with differing abilities, so that each person may enhance those abilities to achieve greater productivity, self-sufficiency, and independence.
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
I read various articles, participate in webinars and attend Chamber speaker breakfasts. I also network in the business community and talk with local businesses about the challenges they face.
What do you think differentiates you from your competitors?
Greenleaf’s innovative services and professionalism set us apart from other job training services. Our tagline — An innovative approach to vocational rehab — is a direct quote from a client who worked with us. I think it perfectly sums up what we do. The clients and businesses we work with say we are extremely professional. Our clients also say they feel like they are being heard and valued at Greenleaf.
What is your company culture like?
Our company culture is awesome! Greenleaf values our staff. We also walk the walk and talk the talk: We have employees with disabilities, and we aim to exemplify our work through our staff. We also work hard to build a culture of inclusion, one that eliminates gossip and cliques and promotes teamwork and responsibility.
What advice would you have appreciated hearing when first starting your career?
I would have appreciated if someone would have told me that I could do it. My confidence was not high when I started. However, my faith in God gave me the courage to pursue my dream. I also operated under the mindset that I would do what I thought was right and everything would work out. Fortunately, I found this to be true after learning from others in the business community.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I delegate and develop our leadership team. I built Greenleaf so it would not require my presence, because that makes the company stronger and more sustainable.
What business leader do you admire the most and why?
I admire anyone who starts a business by themselves and builds it to something that is valuable, that provides products and services that make the world a better place. I admire business leaders who are not greedy and who focus on the positive and those they serve. At Greenleaf, our success depends on our clients’ success. We hope to work ourselves out of a job; if we are successful, a client won’t need Greenleaf anymore.
Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside of the office?
I like to meet someone where I can hold kinetic meetings — where I can laugh, play games and move around — that are fun but have a point. I like to learn this way. And sometimes, if I’m meeting with my managers, we’ll meet at my house and just go for a walk.
Why do you think Columbus is a great place to do business?
It’s vibrant. It’s growing so much in the variety and diversity of businesses, in communities, and in attitudes. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody.