Jennifer Klaverkamp has been with POE for over 10 years. In celebration of POE’s 30th year, discover what POE’s values and differentiators mean to her in this in-depth Q+A interview.
C: Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you discover POE?
J: My background actually originated in IT. During the first 8 years of my professional career, I was a computer programmer, then I was a marketing manager at a commercial real estate brokerage firm, and then my entry to sales was through waste management for municipal accounts. During that time, POE actually discovered me. Over ten years ago I was on a blind date when a previous member from POE overheard my “get to know you” first date conversation. She thought I’d be a good fit for POE. The rest is history.
C: Why do you love discovering what impacts people to create places that work?
J: I think it’s the problem solving aspect that most aligns with my background. In IT, I loved to problem solve, however, I always craved to be around people. I made the switch because I enjoy helping people get excited about where they come to work. Today, more than ever, people have a million options in where their work takes place. I am passionate on creating an ecosystem that embraces the culture companies want to achieve.
C: During our 30th celebration, you touched on POE’s five core values (figure it out, do the right thing, positive player, vibrant individual, and avid learner). What makes POE’s values so special?
J: When we became clear on what our values were, it was clear in the direction our culture needed to take. The culture we have here now fully embraces those values and it helps make it a great place to work. What we do is not easy, but who we do it with makes it fun.
C: One guest at the party had mentioned to you that they ‘felt’ POE’s energy through the space. How did that make you feel?
J: *chuckles* You know, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that. It’s rewarding that the hard work we have put into clarifying our values is palpable by the people that come visit us.
C: In your experience throughout the year, what makes POE unique?
J: It may sound corny and cliché, but I truly think it’s the people that make the difference because of the reasons I mentioned above. Our clients have ample choices in buying furniture, but the way our members guide our clients through the process with passion… it makes the difference.
C: Describe how POE members are educators.
J: Our clients today are more confused than ever on what to do with their space. There’s an article out there for every opinion of what people should be doing with their space. Our members listen to guide and educate the client. Listening is critical. They then translate that information through data and best explain the whys behind the solution. Most conversations are not about furniture, but about people and productivity.
C: No two businesses are the same. Discuss POE’s tailored approach.
J: The earlier we get involved, the more impact we can have to create the right space for our clients. There’s a lot of research out there, but sitting side by side with our clients and partners, we ask thoughtful questions to pull back the layers such as business drivers and culture that will impact the space. There’s not a one size fits all solution. Ten years ago when I first joined, the conversation was how big is your workstation, how much storage do you need... Today, it’s much more about maximizing the intellectual capacity that are occupying the space. This means different things to different people and organizations.
C: You say that “We’re Always In.” What does that mean to you?
J: The core of what we do is problem solving. A lot of people think about that when moving spaces, but we help our clients throughout their continuous journey. Oftentimes people think of us as furniture suppliers, but the services and expertise we bring through that journey far exceeds furniture.
C: Looking back to when you started over 10 years ago to today, what are some of the biggest transformations you have seen in the industry?
J: A big change is the conversation. It used to be about the size of workstation, then maximizing real estate, and now it’s about maximizing people.
C: What do you predict the industry will be in the next 5 years?
J: The future continues to be solution focused— with people, rather than simply workspace dimensions, in mind. There will always be suppliers who offer the old “cookie cutter” approach to the workplace. However, POE’s challenge and growth opportunities lie in our ability to be market leading consultants for our clients; helping them to tailor their workspace to maximize our client’s own culture, growth, and work experience for their employees. Our mission and vision say it best; We discover what impacts people to create places that work.