Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sisters Act


 
The thought of working with your sister might send you sprinting in the opposite direction. For them, it’s a meaningful, long term-journey. In honor of ‘sister’s day’ Laura Jajko and Dana Dunbar agreed to share their story of what it’s like to be sisters in the workplace.
What is it like to work with your sister?
Laura: For me, we’ve been working together  for so long it’s natural. I really don’t think about the fact of being sisters on a day to day basis. We have very different complementary skill sets and we rely on each other to perform. Dana’s expertise is more operational and financial, mine is more on the sales and marketing side. But we are equally passionate about running a really great company for our employees while driving value for our customers, who all really depend on us. I often laugh that ‘my younger sister signs my paychecks.’ (And that’s a good thing! I think she’s the smarter one.)
So you’re probably looking for the drama here, right? Of course we have disagreements, but not many. And when we do, we always cede to the one who has that responsibility in their court. I don’t choose the accountants and bankers, she doesn’t choose the marketing team.

Dana: It’s an adventure. Laura is always pushing the needle. She’s not interested in sitting still and continually challenges me with new ideas. Every time we talk, Laura gives me a nugget to think about. Our brainstorming sessions are the most fun. Everything is on the table and nothing is off limits. I can be a little nerdy and she is okay with that.
It’s nice to have a partner that you know you can trust and who aligns with your values. Laura knows how to motivate and she cares about her team. Laura leads by example. She never asks me or anyone to do something she, herself, is not willing to do. Her energy drives me to be better and do better. Bottom line, Laura makes my job fun and interesting.

Are you close friends outside of the workplace?
Laura: I would say we were really close years ago when we lived in the same neighborhood between 2000-2006. We used to get up every morning at 5am to walk or workout together. Since then we don’t have so many occasions to simply socialize, but we have lunches together a few days a week and of course there are family get-togethers that are important to us.
Dana: We’re never really outside the workplace but yes, we are close. Laura and I talk daily and now that she has a granddaughter, our conversations include an Ella update which invariably leads to texts of cute baby faces and tricks. I’m looking forward to some sister time at the Rauschenberg exhibit  next month. It will be a good opportunity to catch up and be inspired. 
What do you admire most about your sister?
Laura: I find her commitment to her community amazing. She recently stopped an $11M road expansion in her neighborhood – literally by creating a movement, without the need for any fundraising. She’s our very own Erin Brockovich! 
Dana: Laura’s fearlessness. She’ll put herself out there like no one else I know.
We were at an e-commerce marketing conference a few years ago where Laura was asked to be a speaker. Throughout the event, speakers emphasized the importance of testing the data. It became their mantra: ”you must continually test the data.” During a Q and A, someone asked Laura about testing the data and she honestly said we don’t always have the time to test because we have to execute.  The comments on social media were hilarious. Laura voiced what attendees were thinking, but no one had the guts to say publicly. There were a lot of heavy hitters there, it would have been easier to say we test until the cows come home, but she didn’t because we don’t.
What would you want to announce to her here on this blog?
Laura: Dana, you’re my favorite sisterJ.
Dana: Well, Laura may already know this, but this long and layered relationship of ours we call a “sister act” is just getting started. Our mission is much bigger than the both of us and I’m looking ahead with enthusiasm to see where it takes us. I couldn’t imagine a better partner for the task. 





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