A brief history of our amazing Communications Director: Jenny Schmidt!
Jenny is originally from Oregon but it’s safe to say she’s been all over the country. From her home base in Boring, Oregon she moved to Boston during high school, then Montana and back to Oregon for college. She majored in Cultural Anthropology which she says definitely applies to her job here at Boundary. Learning different cultural settings is really important to understanding how to work effectively with people and how to communicate dynamically. After she graduated from Oregon State, she packed up her car and toured the country. She spent time in San Diego helping to raise her brother’s son while he was in the Middle East and then finally ended up here in the City of Subdued Excitement.
To Jenny, Bellingham felt like the perfect place to stay awhile….. Until summer ended and she realized the rumors were true- it really does rain a lot here. She never thought that she would stay or fall in love with Bellingham as much as she did. The rain is something Jenny struggles with and she imagined herself leaving for somewhere warmer. But, she was already hooked. Bellingham was a place unlike any other to her that she couldn’t walk away from as there’s just no community out there like it. Bellingham is so supportive, innovative, kind and creative. 10 years later, she still loves it here, and has found that a good way to combat the rainy season is with a healthy balance of travelling to warmer places during the rainy winters.
Jenny found her way to Boundary four years ago and started as an Event Planner for General Manager, Janet Lightner, working only about 10 hours a week. Her position evolved over the years, and in September of 2017, Jenny earned the title of Communications Director at Boundary Bay, giving her the daunting task of organizing communication cross-departmentally and with community organizations.
With a background in Cultural Anthropology, it has helped her to understand people from all cultural aspects and to work with them in the most effective manner. Her job has evolved since she first arrived, building up to this current position but you can find her doing a lot more than just that at Boundary. Her daily work load can vary from hauling kegs to a nonprofit event, to answering upwards of 100 emails, or rolling up her sleeves with a rag and spray bottle cleaning out our storage facilities.
Outside of work, you can most likely find Jenny napping, eating tacos (specifically Eddie’s at The Cabin Tavern on Thursdays), being active running, reading books in the sunshine or riding her bike. A huge part of her life is the nonprofit, Shifting Gears, to which she serves as the Board President. She loves working with nonprofits and finds them extremely rewarding. It’s not a bad job, she says, as most of the time, daily duties of “work” include riding bikes, taking excursions and meeting with new people all over the community.
As Communications Director, her job is to help everyone in communicating effectively and in a restaurant with over 100 employees this is no small feat. She describes her job as trying to organize chaos everyday, but in a good way- almost like a “Human Sudoku puzzle” and she enjoys the challenge. One of her favorite things about Boundary that makes it so special is this unique chaos and the way that we embrace it in a positive way. There are people from all different backgrounds, all different ages and histories at Boundary. She finds it remarkable that the age gap could be 40 years between coworkers/friends at a table, but we get along and we do it so naturally that there is no room for cliques at Boundary.
Adamantly insisting that she doesn’t believe in favorites, Jenny has multiple reasons why she loves Boundary. “The people,” she says first. “This is my home, this is my family. Working at Boundary I get to work with hundreds of nonprofits which allows me to help make a difference in my community. It’s just really special to be at a place where I get to help make a difference, consistently.”
For the future, Jenny hopes to positively contribute towards the growth of Boundary Bay. “I think something really neat is happening now at Boundary with this intergenerational workforce,” she said. “These incredibly skilled young folks are bringing so much youth and new ideas to our team and I love watching them learn from the older generation who enjoy mentoring them (and vice versa). Seeing those bonding and mentorship moments are pretty rad.”
Being at Boundary surrounded by all the unique, weird, funny and quirky people, she has found it easy to be herself and feel accepted regardless of her own weird quirks. Learning is something that never ceases, especially when it comes to practicing communication skills and she is excited to grow as a team and community together. She is inspired every day by Janet and Casey, who juggle so many things on a daily basis, yet always with grace, strength, resilience and smiles.
It comes as no surprise that Jenny’s favorite meal here at Boundary is the custom “Jenny Salad” and her favorite beer is the Safety Break ISA with the Graf coming in at a close second. As you now know, Jenny is very community-oriented and if you haven’t already encountered her blissful presence, you will most likely see her around town at the next nonprofit event where she happily spends the majority of her downtime. Above all, she genuinely enjoys making people happy and seeing them smile and laugh!