We had the good fortune of connecting with Janine Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janine, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in New York. I lived a short time in Queens before my family moved to Lakeview, Long Island in 1987. From an origin and ancestry perspective, I am a first-generation American. My family hails from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago respectively within the last 100 years or so. My ancestry is a colorful mosaic of race, nationality, and culture. My grandparents on both sides came to the U.S. between 61-69. My culture is very important to me. From the food to our dialect and everything in between, my family and I are still very connected to it all. I’m proud to be a child of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago by way of my parents. My grandparents on both sides didn’t have much when they came to the U.S. Two generations later, I am happy to say that is no longer the case. My family as a whole are hard-working (often to a fault), educated and superbly intelligent, we are healers, caring people who are a mixed bag of creatives, builders, healthcare workers, innovators, and civil service professionals. Our culture is beautiful and rich with not only indigenous practice but history and storytelling. Having this foundation has nurtured my dedication to preserving our history through indigenous and spiritual practice, but it also made me a storyteller in my own right. My background helps me to see the world differently. I got to see my grandparents do their very best to plant the seeds of success by encouraging me to develop my character with foundational principles like having integrity, lifting my voice where it matters, and being accountable for how I show up in life. My parents took that a step further creating new pathways to education and work. My job has been to transcend what they all handed down to us by creating space for wealth, wellbeing, and freedom in our lineage and showing up in my life unapologetically and authentically. My family ensured I read thought-provoking books and committed to being a conscientious writer at a young age. That has led to me writing professionally which in turn led me to start my business Talent Think Innovations and many of my other endeavors. My upbringing shaped me for sure, but the final product is the result of much more.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Talent Think Innovations is a multi-disciplinary management consulting firm that was founded by me in 2013. At Talent Think Innovations, we offer holistic, creative, practical, and sustainable solutions for businesses. Currently, Talent Think Innovations offers solutions in the following areas: Organizational Design, Future of Work/Future of Life, Learning and Development, Digital Marketing and Transformation, and Technology Advisory. Talent Think Innovations is backed by my over 18 years working across a variety of industries such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, R&D, technology, homecare, Education, HR, non-profits, and the Performing Arts. This varied experience in organizations of all sizes coupled with my formal education and training in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Human Resources Practices, Transformative Technology and Philosophy, and Community Health gives me a unique lens to understand the core of what motivates people to choose the work and lives they do. It has always been my belief that if we can better understand and align with those motivations we can create better outcomes for every human. I am the smartest solution because my solutions are human-centric and lead to sustainable practices that improve how we work and live.
I started Talent Think Innovations on my own without a co-founder, a degree in business, investment, or a business plan. I had some fantastic mentors, $225 dollars from my mom and aunt to establish my LLC, and lots of vision for what I could create. I was still working a full-time job when I started the business. I was working for Brookhaven National Laboratory in HR and we were headed towards a furlough due to the government shutdown of 2013. I remember sitting in the All Hands Meeting then hearing about how we wouldn’t be paid and it was unlikely we would receive retro salary upon reopening if we closed. It was the first time in my career I was faced with not having income due to a government shutdown. I said to myself I never want anyone to be in control of my livelihood again. That fall, Hurricane Sandy pummeled NY and instead of filing for my LLC, I needed to use the money to take care of my family for the time we were displaced. It was really upsetting, but in a turn of events, my mom and aunt had heard what I had to do and gave me the money to start again. Being in business for yourself is not for the faint of heart. It’s all on you to bring in the business, think of new ways to serve your clients so they keep coming back, and more. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There is freedom and pride you have when you know every dollar that comes into your business is due to your efforts. It is pure joy to hear your solutions have made a difference in your client’s business or life. That is the feedback I never get tired of.
What I want the world to know about Talent Think Innovations is the following: The future belongs to the alchemists, the humans who will magically, holistically, and sustainably create positive outcomes in the present in hopes of transforming the future in healthier and meaningful ways. Talent Think Innovations is more than a business it is a movement for human transformation. What we do today in business and as a society becomes the fertile first matter and soil for future generations. Whether through our custom learning and development or our advocacy for the humans belonging to marginalized communities, Talent Think Innovations is at the forefront of pioneering a better world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have not personally been to LA, but I have been a frequent visitor to California to see clients and attend fabulous conferences. LA is not unlike the many metropolitan cities I have visited not only in the US but across the globe. There is an aesthetic and vibe metro cities are known for. LA is known for its amazing eateries, breathtaking views, and extraordinary shopping. That said, I would definitely have to take my best friends to Beverly Hills for some shopping on Rodeo Drive. We would definitely have to have a beach day in Santa Monica and hit up Birdie G’s for some Midwestern fare and eclectic desserts. To end the visit we would do The Farmers Market and Griffith Observatory for some otherworldly fun.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank every boss I had who tried to stunt my progress they forced me to persevere anyway. I’m ever grateful for mentors/friends like Ron Thomas, Hilary Berger, and Dr. Janice Presser for supporting my evolution and forcing me to get out of my own way. My parents for supporting every interest, hobby, and passion I had growing up. My Aunt Bev has to get a major shoutout for being my fairy godmother. She put me through college and embodies what it means to be an independent, curious, and accomplished Black woman. My one and only brother, Tony for encouraging me to be a rebel with a purpose. I am ever grateful for my grandparents, ancestors, and guides for grounding me spiritually and making sure I knew where I came from, and remained curious and excited about where I was headed. I have to thank my kids. Their little lives dared me to dream differently. My coven of girlfriends extend from Cali to the south and wrap around the world. They are my sounding boards, my biggest cheerleaders, and prayer warriors. I couldn’t do what I do without them. I have to thank myself as strange as that may sound. Life hasn’t been a cakewalk, but I have always chosen to rise above any adversity I have faced with grace. I love me for that. Last, but not least I have to thank the love of my life Terrence, who very serendipitously waltzed into my life with style and grace. He relentlessly supports everything I do and his love and optimism have opened up new pathways to abundance, joy, and success I never imagined.