Today’s tomboy, Jaennae Dinius, proves a woman can indeed have it all- own a successful business, raise a loving family and compete in marathons worldwide. She inspires us all to focus and make time for what matters most.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I really enjoy helping and empowering people. I have held all kinds of different roles in management. I studied psychology in college and found myself very relatable to people. I enjoy being a mentor and resource. My big passion is business. I like Fran and Naomi (TomboyX founders) because they get up every morning with a dream and fighting for that dream. They are women making a difference.
How has your mentoring helped others?
I have diplomacy. I have the ability to see both sides. My mentoring comes with guidance. Everyone comes with a different background. Once you understand what drives a person, you can approach it from their perspective. Most people do the opposite. I was the co-founder of a mortgage company and managed 80 direct reports ranging in age from 18-60+ years old. They each had different personalities. One person I remember kept making repetitive mistakes at her job. Then, it occurred to me- The job was not in alignment with who she was. I moved her into sales and she flourished. She wasn’t the wrong person, but in the wrong job. By recognizing this, I made a difference.
What made your approach it in this unique way?
She was getting frustrated. I felt like she didn't care, but then had an epiphany. That was not who she was. After starting the new job, she just took off. My advice in leading people is to look at what is causing the problem. You have to look at the bigger picture.
What led you on that track to start your own company?
It was a small lender when I joined. I was employee #11. We grew it and I became VP of operations. I worked up to be second in command.
How did you start with Denali, your financial firm?
I was in the mortgage industry for 14 years. I went into sales for more flexibility with my kids while they were growing. I felt I could give the customer a superior one-on-one experience and have flexibility. Then, the crash happened. The rules changed. My job was a commodity. Denali was taking off. Now, I run the operational side of the business. It's a people business. I help with building the foundation of the firm. Our reward is delivering value to our clients. Giving them a clean record to present to their board. Supporting entrepreneurship and helping people reach goals.
You own Denali with your husband?
Yes. Chris and I have been married 13 years. We have 4 children ages 22-30. We have been very fortunate that our family gets along so well. We all travel together. With Chris, I am not trying to be someone else. I am my authentic self. He supports me. With his support, I have run a couple half-marathons. It started with one or two and grew from there. Over time, I ran full marathons. I couldn't have done it without his support. You need support. A big goal was to try to get into NYC marathon. I got in via lottery. The week we got there, Hurricane Sandy hit and the marathon was cancelled. So, I trained all over again. Went back and ran. From there, I ran Chicago after qualifying. I improved my time all the way down to 3:49! My goal is to accomplish the World Marathon Majors: NYC, Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, and London.
My first half marathon I was 36 years old. Fast forward into my forties and I am performing my best ever.
Does taking up running help you focus?
When I was younger, I had little time. Career. Marriage. Kids. When I got older and my children were older, I created more flexibility. I focused on me. It takes discipline and commitment.
What is Your Favorite TomboyX Product?
I love the Feeling Frisky boxer briefs. I think it's sexy when a woman has a feminine side, but also a masculine side. I love the boxer briefs because they tap into my sexy masculine side. They give me confidence. They are so soft and comfortable. You don't notice them at all when you wear them. I bought each one of my daughters some as stocking stuffers. They're practical, yet sexy.
Name a woman who inspires you.
Sandra Bullock. She is funny as hell and she is feminine, but has a masculine side. She is not afraid to expose her vulnerability. She is not afraid to take chances. And I love Michelle Obama-any woman who is keeping a family together and supporting the most powerful man in the world. It's a lot.