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Inside The American Genius team: Jennifer Walpole

Senior Staff Writer, Jennifer Walpole is working on her PhD in English at OU, but still makes time to bring you quality reporting nearly every day. Get to know her!

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JENNIFER WALPOLE

JENNIFER WALPOLE

Get to know Jennifer

Senior Staff Writer, Jennifer Walpole has been with the team for more than two years now, consistently bringing you fresh news from the latest app to marketing tips to new business theories. She is truly a quality reporter, so very well known for her ability to succinctly explain complex materials so that you can walk away with a better understanding of what actions you can take to improve our business.

We interviewed Jennifer to learn more about her personal life, and we want you to get to know her – let’s see what you have in common with Jennifer!

Hometown / Where You Live Now

Yukon/Oakhurst, Yukon (I spent every summer in Oakhurst, CA at my grandma’s).

Instagram

Find me at @facemanfan.

Twitter or Facebook URL

I’m on Twitter @facemanfan or on Facebook – I’m good with both, or either one.

Current favorite album to play while working

Josh Groban’s “Awake” – it’s inspirational, beautiful, and one of my favorite ways to de-stress. When I can’t get anything done, it helps clear my mind.

What’s your favorite productivity trick?

I don’t really think I have a “trick.” One of the things I do when I’m writing is turn everything else off: phone, tv, social media, everything. This helps me focus. I also have a cork board full of inspirational messages on my desk to help keep me on track.

Tell us about your technologies

I use my iPhone to check email, and work-related projects when I’m away from my office. My HP laptop is where I do all my writing. As for gaming, I’m old school; I have an original xBox and a Wii.

What app has made the biggest impact in your work life?

Hmm. This is another tough one. I use too many apps in a day, I suppose. Trello is an amazing way to organize projects and ideas, but I also love the mail app on the iPhone. I can quickly check ALL my email accounts without logging in to each one.

What’s your favorite Pantone color these days?

pantone

Favorite story you’ve ever written on AG?

This is my favorite story, and it took me the longest to write. It took me a little while to get it just the way I wanted it. There’s a lot of me in this story.

Post-work drink of choice

This actually depends on the day. I’m not usually an alcoholic-drink type of person, so it’s usually something unexciting, like tea. When I’m in the mood, maybe 2-3 times a year, it’s a mojito. A raspberry mojito.

Favorite place to shop offline / Favorite place to shop online

Barnes and Noble, hands down is my favorite place to shop offline. I love the smell of the store. I love running my fingers across the spines of all the books. You simply cannot own too many books. Online, I love Amazon and eBay. I’m always watching the daily deals on Amazon.

What you miss most about your hometown

I’ve been lots of other places, but my hometown always feels like home. I have so many memories here, they seem to replay every time I’m home. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling, you just don’t get anywhere else.

If you could eat dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

This is so hard for me because I have so many favorite authors. I would want to talk to Shakespeare, but I would also want to talk to Jane Austen.

Shakespeare because I want to know more about his writing process; how did he create entire plays.

Jane Austen because I want to know what it was like to be a woman, a smart woman in a time when women weren’t valued and hearing it from her would be amazing.

When not working, what’s your hobby?

I play piano to de-stress. I also loom knit and scrapbook. I’m one of those people that do art projects that create trails of glitter throughout the house. I also enjoy reading, anything and everything, but I especially enjoy science fiction.

If you could choose, what would your final meal be?

My final meal would be macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, corn on the cob, and carrot cake. I mean, if you’re going to die, calories don’t matter.

What is your most cherished memory?

I have so many memories that I cherish. The first one that comes to mind, is my mom bringing home my first puppy for Christmas when I was eight. I wanted a dog for so long and I didn’t think I was going to get one, but somehow my mom managed to talk my dad into it.

She wrapped a book about taking care of your dog and said we’d be able to pick her up the first week of February when she was old enough to leave her mom. I brought Buffy home on Valentine’s Day and had her for 14 wonderful years. I’ll never forget all the love one simple act of love brought.

#AGstaff

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Business News

What small business owners can learn from Starbucks’ new D&I strategy

(BUSINESS) Diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of Starbucks’ mission, but now they’re shifting strategy. What can we learn from it?

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Hands of all different skin colors on green background representing Starbucks' D&I.

Starbucks was one of many companies that promised to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020. What sets Starbucks apart from other companies were its specific goals.

How It Started

They began with hiring targets and have now added goals in corporate and manufacturing roles. Starbucks’ plans and goals revolve around transparency for accountability. They released the annual numbers for 2021 as a way to help hold themselves accountable. The data they’ve released so far show that they’ve met nearly a third of their 2025 goals according to Retail Brew. Because of this information, we can see why they are choosing to move in the direction of manufacturing and corporate jobs. In 2021, POC’s fell to 12.5% of director-level employees from 14.3% in 2020 in manufacturing.

How It’s Going

Per Starbucks’ website stories and news, “[I]t will increase its annual spend with diverse suppliers to $1.5 billion by 2030.  As part of this commitment, Starbucks will partner with other organizations to develop and grow supplier diversity excellence globally.” To put that into perspective, they spent nearly $800 million with diverse suppliers in 2021. With these moves, by 2030, it will increase by almost double.

As part of their accountability and progress, they plan to partner up with Arizona State University to give out free toolkits to entrepreneurs on fundamentals for running successful diverse-owned businesses. Another goal they’ve listed is to boost paid media representation by allocating 15 percent of the advertising budget to minority-owned and targeted media companies to reach diverse audiences.

At the heart of all this information on their goals and future plans, data transparency and accountability are what’s forcing them to look at the numbers to make specific goals. They are doing more than just throwing money at the problem, they are analyzing how they can do better and where the money will make a difference. Something that, as entrepreneurs, we should all do.

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Business News

Peloton is back-pedaling: Reports of price increases, layoffs, and cost cuts

(BUSINESS) After a recording of layoffs leaks, ‘supply chain’ issues cause shipping increases, and they consult for cost-cutting, Peloton is doomed.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Is Peloton in Trouble?

According to many reports, Peloton had success early in the pandemic when gyms shut down. Offering consumers a way to connect with a community for fitness along with varying financing options allowed the company to see growth when many other industries were being shuttered.

After two years, CNBC reports that the company is “being impacted by …supply chain challenges” and rising inflation costs. According to the report, customers will be paying an additional $250 for its bike and $350 for its tread for delivery and setup.

As demand has decreased, Peloton is also considering layoffs in their sales and marketing departments, overheard in a leaked audio call. The recording details executives discussing “Project Fuel” where they plan to cut 41% of the sales and marketing teams, as well as letting go of eCommerce employees and frontline workers at 15 retail stores.

Nasdaq reported that the stock fell 75% last year, after a year where it soared over 400%.

Peloton reviewing its overall structure

According to another report from CNBC, Peloton is working with McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, to lower costs as revenue has dropped and the growth of new subscriptions has slowed since the pandemic. Last November, according to NPR, Peloton had “its worst day as a publicly-traded company.” It also anticipates greater losses in 2022 than originally predicted. It makes sense that the company would reexamine their strategy as the economy changes. They aren’t the only one that is raising prices amid supply chain issues.

It will be interesting to watch how Peloton fares

Peloton has a large community that pays a monthly fee for connected fitness. While growth has slowed, the company still has a strong share of consumers. Although it is facing more competition in the home fitness market and more gyms are reopening, as Peloton adjusts to the new normal, it should remain a viable company.

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Business News

CEO is offering folks thousands to *quit* their jobs, with one catch

(BUSINESS) A CEO out of Arizona is challenging employment norms by offering a sort of “sign-off” bonus upfront, but this method has one fatal flaw.

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Man counting cash in his hand representing the CEO offering money to employees who quit.

Chris Ronzio, the CEO of Trainual, a software company in Arizona that aims to systemize and scale your small business, is offering cold hard cash to quit your job in an unconventional ploy to bypass the effects of the Great Resignation.

Before you rush to turn in your notice and make some extra cash, you should know that this offer is dependent on being selected as a hirable candidate and making it through the hiring process for Trainual. This option is also offered to new hires after 2 weeks of employment.

This model of employment gives the employee the ability to fire the company and walk away with a little sum of money. The thought process of the CEO was outlined in an article by the Insider, saying it is a strategic move to retain top talent and maintain a strong company culture. While this is a unique approach…it has a glaring flaw. The offer is only good for the initial two-week period. However, it can take some time to recognize the shortcomings of any company when you begin employment. We can all recognize the long-term financial potential of reoccurring income and while $5,000 is not anything to shake your finger at, it will eventually be gone. I think we can all agree that constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow at times, however, if Trainual was truly invested in this model they would extend the offer at other key times during employment. What if this offer was again available at the 1-year mark? If the offer reappeared at a one-year review, the turnover may increase.

Per the Insider article, Ronzio was quoted as saying, “With today’s market, hiring teams have to move quickly to assess candidates and get them through the process to a competitive offer, so it’s impossible to be right 100% of the time,” Ronzio said. The CEO added, “The offer to quit allows the dust to settle from a speedy process and let the new team member throw a red flag if they’re feeling anything but excited.”

These statements detail another dimension to consider which is the employment hiring process and timeline. If top candidates are in such high demand that the process has to be sped up to secure a workforce, this monetary compensation can help to ensure the hiring decision. Although, when the offer was implemented in May of 2020, the offer was $2500, half of what it is now. Ronzio reasoned that they could stay while they looked for another job so they increased the amount to compensate for those with a higher salary range.

Let me preface this by saying that yes, accountability should exist, but I would be interested to know the turnover rate for the hiring team. The cost to the company from this unique approach adds extra weight for those making the decisions on who to hire. The stress the hiring team faces has to be factored into the candidate decisions. How many times can the hiring team get it wrong before they’re let go? While the pressure to hire the right candidate should always factor in, one has to wonder about the effects of this model.

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