Kendra Gardiner Chief of Staff

Kendra Gardiner

Chief of Staff

Kendra brings to JumpStart 18 years of diverse experience, ranging from entrepreneurship to corporate roles in strategic marketing and new product development, to serving as a strategic and operational leader working in scaleup companies. In her role as Chief of Staff, she acts as a thought and action partner for the CEO, president, senior executive leaders, board of directors and staff. Her primary responsibility is to shape, implement and optimize JumpStart’s strategy, operations and talent priorities. Kendra also plays an integral role in cultural and workforce development and oversees the administrative functions of the organization as well as lead select, strategic, pilot-stage initiatives.

Prior to joining JumpStart, Kendra spent her professional career in manufacturing. Most recently, she served in small to mid-size scaleup companies where she worked across both commercial and operations-focused roles to help transform outdated business models into sustainable and stable models for growth.

Prior to entering the scaleup world, Kendra was with PolyOne Corporation where she held a variety of leadership roles. From industry management, to her work as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, she worked on many strategic initiatives in new product development, commercial excellence and operations improvement.

In addition to her professional career, Kendra spent her early years before college exploring entrepreneurial endeavors in building and construction. At a young age, she bootstrapped her way to a multi-state construction operation which ultimately laid the groundwork for her formal education six years later.

Kendra graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA.