A Conversation with Jenn Dubey of Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for the much-anticipated season four premiere of Mission Control—the podcast where we delve into the inspiring journeys of executive directors and nonprofit leaders who are making a difference in their communities. I’m Paul Schmidt, your host and the creative video strategist behind Unveil Multimedia.

Today, I am thrilled to have a dear friend on our show, Jenn Dubie. This might take a second—it’s a mouthful—the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, or as we like to keep it simple, the 4 AM. Trust me, those acronyms can be a lifesaver in daily conversations!

Getting to Know Jenn Dubey

Jenn and I have been friends for what seems like an eternity in fast-paced careers—almost a decade or possibly a bit more. Reflecting on this, Jenn corrected with a light laugh, “I think it’s been about 14, starting two positions ago for me, and with each position over ten years, so yes, quite a while.”

How It All Began

Our friendship and professional collaboration go way back, and I always find the story of how we met compelling. We were brought together by a mutual involvement in a project focused on a health and wellness journey by a common friend. Jenn, who was deeply involved in personal training and nutritional consulting at the time, played a pivotal role in our friend’s transition towards better health, specializing in assisting women navigate the challenging hormonal changes during various life stages.

A Day to Remember

“The first day we met is as clear as yesterday,” Jenn recalls. It marked the beginning of a successful partnership and a series of collaborative projects that brought out the best in all involved. Jenn wasn’t just there providing training; she brought emotional and motivational support, acting almost in a therapist’s capacity.

Jenn Dubie’s Reflection on the Role and Journey:

“That project probably sparked the transition to my next big move, to corporate wellness and owning my own business. Seeing the potential to follow someone’s journey from the start all the way to achieving their goals was incredibly inspiring.”

This led Jenn to explore how collaboration between individuals, each with different yet aligned goals, could drive significant change and lead to successful outcomes—something she carried forward in her ventures.

From Fitness to Corporate Wellness

Jenn’s venture into corporate wellness wasn’t initially part of her career roadmap. However, the seed was planted during her training days. After helping a client’s company on a small scale, Jenn started recognizing the potential of applying her skills in a corporate setting. This realization spearheaded her dive into entrepreneurship, tackling the learning curves of transitioning from personal training to impacting organizational health culture.

The Growth: Challenges and Triumphs

Growing a new business came with challenges—navigating corporate contracts, managing ROI expectations, and everything in between. Yet, Jenn’s story embraces growth and learning through experiences.

Building a Business:

“I realized if I wanted to expand this business, I needed to build it. It involved strategic thinking and continual learning and adapting,” Jenn remarks about scaling her operations, reflecting on the criticality of building a business from groundwork to an established entity.

Her website, nicknamed ‘Trainer Jen,’ became the linchpin in her strategy to personalize her wellness philosophy. The venture led to a publication—a cookbook echoing her beliefs in health and nutrition—and a robust online platform for tracking employee wellness programs.

Transitioning Into a New Role

Despite her success and deep involvement in her business, life had another plan. A transition from her business to a nonprofit setting was not just a step back into employment but a leap into unfamiliar waters, managing multiple departments and a significantly larger team, which demanded a different leadership style and operational approach.

Embracing Nonprofit Challenges at 4 AM

Jenn’s current role as the Operations Manager at 4 AM involves leveraging her extensive experience in leadership, program development, and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for older adults. She focuses on allowing them to live with dignity and independence in their chosen environments—a mission driven by empathy and reinforced by strategic action.

Jenn’s Vision Moving Forward:

Navigating the challenges and intricacies of a nonprofit that deals directly with life-impacting services, Jenn applies her entrepreneurial spirit to influence change and drive initiatives that scale up the community impacts of 4 AM.

The Joy of Learning and Growing

“I find that every role I’ve had allowed me to build on something new, to learn something different. That’s what keeps me driven,” Jenn shared, her voice imbued with the passion and dedication that have marked her diverse career path.

Conclusion: The Journey Continues

Our conversation with Jenn Dubie has been nothing short of inspiring. Her journey has been marked by continual growth, learning, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience and adaptability and the profound impacts of nurturing relationships and collaborations in professional settings.

Thank you, Jenn, for sharing your incredible journey with us today on Mission Control. For our listeners who wish to learn more about Jenn’s work or reach out to her, please visit 4ami.org or connect via LinkedIn.

Remember to tune in for our next episode, and don’t hesitate to reach out with suggestions for future guests or topics. Thank you for joining us, and until next time, keep striving to make a positive impact in your world!