Greetings! For this month’s Who’s Who, we’re going to get to know our Chief Operations Officer, Jennifer Closson. Usually going by Jenn around the office, she has a lot of different responsibilities in order to ensure the operations of Greater Than Games are running smoothly. Everything from assisting with convention planning, project management, to the nitty-gritty stuff like ensuring our products get to us and artists get paid on time. She does it all to keep the machine turning. She does far more than just logistics, having worked on game design, brand management, art direction. You name it, Jenn has probably had a hand in helping us along! Still not convinced? She’s been the creative director for: Medium, Homebrewers, Spirit Island, plus the expansions, and more. Now take that and add in being a graphic designer for: New Bedford, Spirit Island, Lazer Ryderz, and — you know it — Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game. Wow! With all that at hand, she still managed to answer some questions so that we can get to know her a little better. Let’s see what she has to say.
What’s one of your favorite things about working in your role?
JC: Much like my time spent leading the graphics department, my new role encompasses quite a bit of work that’s behind-the-curtain. Much of my days are spent in meetings, planning projects, tracking down information, and connecting with the rest of the GTG team. I’ve always been a huge proponent of making sure that credit is given where credit’s due. This was always easier when I was working in the design department, as more of the job is forward-facing and quantifiable for the team I worked with, though there are still MANY aspects of those jobs that deserve far more praise than an artist tends to receive. One of my biggest goals as COO is ensuring that every member of the GTG team understands just how valued they are as an individual, not just a sum of the whole. Members of the GTG team tend to be incredibly selfless. Though each person has an important role, they always put others before themselves and ask for nothing in return. For those in management roles, it’s even tougher to quantify everything they do on a daily basis and therefore harder to ensure that they get the “thank you’s” and recognition they deserve. As COO, it’s actually in my job description to find ways to acknowledge the hard work people do daily. This is incredibly fun and rewarding for me.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
JC: Now that my husband and I have a toddler, my evenings tend to be spent with him. And, honestly, I love it. He’s a goofball and full of smiles so we spend lots of time playing, reading books, and exploring outside (this child has no fear of dirt, rocks, animals, climbing, swimming — you name it, he’ll explore it). Winding down for bed with a bath, cuddles, and music is actually when I find myself also unwinding and relaxing. On weekends after a long week, we tend to go to a park for some hiking, visit coffeehouses, and try to find some fun activities like a festival, car show, farmers market, or other events.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Work and life-wise.
JC: I originally went to school to work as a pharmacist at a hospital. I still have a lot of interest in the physical and mental medical fields. I think if I could do anything for a day I’d work in radiology, physical therapy, or as an art therapist. In life? That’s tough. I love to travel so I’d probably want to go somewhere. It’d be great if I could be there with a purpose, too. Perhaps I’d finally take a trip to somewhere like the arctic and work with penguins or polar bear conservation. Maybe I’d go to Africa and find a way to help fight poaching. For just one day I’d want to really make the most of it and have a big impact. I’d get to see more of the world and spend time with wildlife. That seems like a pretty good deal for one day.
What’s one thing you wish people knew or understood about working in your position?
JC: I hope everyone knows how sorry I am for being a broken record in the office and saying things like, “ok, but what’s the process for that like?”, “do you think you can meet your deadlines?”, “did someone write that down”, or “wait, let’s start this over and go step-by-step”. [nervous laughter] But, seriously, my new role encompasses a lot of task management between departments and this means a lot of asking people “who, what, where, when, and why.” It can sometimes feel a bit like I’m being nosy when the reality is that in order to properly manage workflows I just need to know things. It’s a careful and tenuous balance. It also makes it tough to really explain what I do, when a lot of my role is finding out what others inside and outside the company are up to.
What’s something you can’t go a day without — excluding necessities and family?
JC: Caffeine. Seriously… it’s a problem. Tea or coffee ― either is wonderful and pleasantly calming to my soul. I LOVE the ambiance of a good coffee shop and I feel incomplete without a mug in my hand. Pregnancy is probably the best thing that happened to me when it came to curbing my caffeine intake. But having a baby really undid all of that work.
What’s a hobby you wish you could get into?
JC: Pottery! I miss throwing so much. I haven’t been able to since college and it’s one of the things I miss most. Unlike other hobbies that I’ve wanted to do or tried, this one’s been the most elusive due to the need for the minor basics like a studio, a wheel, glaze, and a kiln. But my dream will live on!!
What’s the song that makes you turn up the radio?
JC: Oof. This really depends on my mood (and, now, who’s in the car). I’m not ashamed to admit that there have been many great sing-a-longs to Disney favorites like “Let It Go” and “How Far I’ll Go.” “Baby Shark” also gets quite the volume boost. But when it’s just me, sometimes it’s a beautiful, enveloping classic from Vivaldi or Pachelbel. Sometimes it’s soundtracks by Ramin Djawadi or John Williams. And sometimes it’s classic rock, indie rock, or blues. You never know what music will roll out of my car windows.
Do you have a motto or mantra? What is it?
JC: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Thanks so much to Jenn for her time and for helping us in all the ways she does! Be sure to check out Darrell’s interview from last month. Did you hear about our library donation program? All US libraries can sign up to receive one free game per month. Check it out here!