Meet the Innovator: Dana Janssen

Today we're chatting with our Chief Human Resources Officer, Dana Janssen. She shares her career in learning and development, the best professional advice she's been given and 3 surprising truths you might not know!

Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know Teresa, I’d like to introduce you to another executive member of our crew, Dana Janssen. Having known each other for years, but only working together closely for the last few months, I was so excited to sit down with her to hear more of her professional story. This compassionate, empathetic, detail-oriented team cheerleader and culture cultivator is at the heart of all things ttc. Get to know Dana and why she means so much to our family of Innovators!


Dana, let’s start from the beginning — how did you come to work with ttcInnovations and how has your role transformed over the years into what it is now?

Debbie Wooldridge (the CEO and founder of ttcInnovations) and I worked together in the 90s and had great synergy and friendship. We kept in touch when we transitioned out of those roles, and Debbie later contacted me to ask if I wanted to take the leap with her and join her new company — technicallytraining.com. I didn’t hesitate for a moment, and I’m so glad I didn’t!

In the “early days,” I was Debbie’s right hand. When I think back to those first years, it’s honestly a bit of a blur as to all of the different hats we would wear while building the company. As we grew, I was able to start focusing on my passion, which is the people side of our business — Resource Development and Human Resources.

Work aside, tell us more about you, your family, and what you like to do in your free time.

Laughing is always on the agenda when we are all together. My husband Steve and I live in Kansas City and have the BEST tribe. Really! My kids include:

  • Aaron, who is a barista and pastor, is married to Ryley (ttc’s Operations Support Specialist). They are currently gearing up to relocate to Portland. Most importantly, though, they are parents to my first grandchild, Judah. Okay, maybe not most important, yet high on the list!
  • Rebecca is working for a dental office here in Kansas City and volunteers for a children’s program.
  • Stephen II is studying abroad in Australia. He works at a Marriott hotel and volunteers for a youth program.
  • Judah (my 11-month-old charmer of a grandson) is my sunshine. My cup runneth over.
  • Abby is our 9-year-old diva beagle dog.

I’m crazy about my city — we have great art, festivals, museums, and fantastic people, and I am bananas for my Kansas City Royals. We explore our city on the regular as there are a lot of interesting nooks we’ve yet to experience. (No, not on the tourism board, ha!)

I’m slowly beginning to dabble in flower arranging and took a class this year for guidance on the technique. Putting into practice what I’ve learned is addicting and my house gets some cheer too! I nerd out on reading. That’s where I can use the word “addicted” appropriately. Novels, blogs, self-help, industry items, magazines, you name it — I just enjoy my reading time. My real hobby, though, is centered around all things Judah.

Do you have a daily work routine, and if so, what do your daily activities and responsibilities look like?

I come in around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and start my day with a schedule check. Then I spend some time planning before logging in for the day. I love the quiet time! My focus is on all areas of the human capital arena for ttcInnovations. We believe it deserves the same level of priority as our financial capital, as they go hand in hand.

I do have several standing meetings with members of the HR team, the CEO, and the CRE (Client Relationship Executive) each week, yet very little routine outside of that. However, my activities can easily be sliced into four main categories: analytics, forecasting, diagnosing issues, and advising on the people side of ttcInnovations.

What would you say you enjoy most about your job? What gets you jumping out of bed in the morning?

That’s simple — I get to help people (and our organization) succeed every day. What could be better than that?

Serious question now — coffee or tea, and how do you take it?

Coffee with cream and one stevia. I’m currently a fan of Roasterie coffee, local to KC. Superfan, actually, as I had several cups this morning.

Today we're chatting with our Chief Human Resources Officer, Dana Janssen. She shares her career in learning and development, the best professional advice she's been given and 3 surprising truths you might not know!

What’s your real-life superpower?

Empathy. I get that from my mother. However, keeping facts and emotions separate in business is my sweet spot. I’m keenly aware of my kryptonite and collaborate or delegate appropriately.

Tell us three surprising facts about you that we might not know. 

  1. I’m the Bubba Gump of potatoes…seriously.
  2. I upskill quickly. Once, I learned InDesign in a day and then taught a two-day class to a group of 20 students starting the next day.
  3. I was on THE 1982 T-ball championship team. Not only did we earn our trophy and get butterscotch-dipped cones from Dairy Queen, we also had custom championship t-shirts.
Our superhero, Dana, is the blonde in the middle of the top row.

What’s one thing you think everyone should do at least once in their life?

Spend quality time experiencing a different culture.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received and how has this advice served you?

Feedback is an opportunity to grow, not a criticism — advice from a favorite college professor. His words resonated with me and since then, I’ve been open to feedback as a tool to help me grow and improve rather than the alternative. I now provide performance feedback and do so with this mindset for the recipient, often sharing this nugget of wisdom when appropriate. I believe those who receive and implement feedback well have great potential for success. I also often receive feedback by design from my boss (CEO Debbie Wooldridge) and it challenges me to take my career and department to the next level.

Feedback is an opportunity to grow, not a criticism. Click To Tweet

“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.” — Anonymous

#UnlockInnovation With Us

• Collaborative and supportive network
• Work with L&D industry influencers
• Access to professional development
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Thinking back on your career to date, what’s been your proudest accomplishment so far?

The opportunity to be a part of ttcInnovations in an impactful way. Being here from the beginning and continuing through all stages of growth has brought challenges, obstacles, and accomplishments that I never would have imagined.

Of course, I’m dying to know — what does the word “innovation” mean to you?

It means providing our services in a way that creates transformation for the learner or organization. Of course, innovation is about providing our solutions creatively — yet at the end of the day, it must be a creation that results in transformation.

Today we're chatting with our Chief Human Resources Officer, Dana Janssen. She shares her career in learning and development, the best professional advice she's been given and 3 surprising truths you might not know!

And lastly, what are you working on right now that you’re really excited about? 

The HR department is getting a bit of a minor facelift, and we’re just getting started in our planning stages. We’re thrilled about what’s to come! Our Resource Management Lead, Lesley Lang, and Operations Support Specialist, Ryley Stout, have been strategizing with me and outlining plans. Look out, 2018!


Isn’t she just the greatest?! Dana’s hyper focus on creating a culture that supports, encourages, and gives back to our Innovators inspires me every single day! Her ability to connect with our team and stay level-headed with a constant smile keeps the energy of our team flowing with positivity. This kind of team-focused attitude is contagious and we’re so lucky to work alongside her to nurture a truly innovative environment!

Now that you know more about Dana, wave ‘hello’ on LinkedIn! I’m sure she’d love to get to know you too!

Today we're chatting with our Chief Human Resources Officer, Dana Janssen. She shares her career in learning and development, the best professional advice she's been given and 3 surprising truths you might not know!

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About the Author:

Jessica is a full-time marketer, life-long storyteller, and constant learner with a passion for marrying strategy with aesthetics. Throughout her career, Jessica has coached hundreds of small businesses on building purpose-driven brands online. She has spoken on stages across the country including Social Media Marketing World, Yellow Co., and San Diego Ad Club – just to name a few, where she has shared her powerhouse marketing mindset and techniques. She joined the ttcInnovations family full-time in 2017 where she now combines her expertise in digital marketing, her impressive background in teaching, and her knowledge as well as a passion for adult learning. Fueled by coffee, she lives in San Diego with her husband and their two pint-sized golden retrievers.

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Subscribe to The Buzz for a fresh blend of innovation via email.

Privacy Policy & Terms of Use: This form collects information we will use to send you updates about promotions, special offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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