All in the Family

From the Winter 2013 edition of Vanderbilt Business

Two years ago, Jane Kennedy Greene, BA’75, MBA’81, went from being shareholder in the family business to running it when her father asked her to take over the company’s reins.

Jane Kennedy Greene

With 4,000 employees and operations in 30 states and Canada, Greene has her hands full as a third-generation CEO and board chair of Kenco Group Inc. The multinational firm provides logistics services, transportation, real estate management and material handling for Fortune 500 clients like Glaxo SmithKline, Whirlpool, Green Mountain Coffee and DuPont.

“I’ve been on a steep learning curve,” she says. “But there is a lot of personal satisfaction in working in the business my father founded with his brother-in-law 63 years ago. It’s something I grew up in and it’s exciting to be able to do my part.”

Greene chose Owen with the idea of working at Kenco, perhaps in marketing. But after she earned her MBA, a job offer lured her to New York City, where she built a career in the fast-paced world of advertising. She married Owen classmate, Greg Greene, MBA’81, and they moved to Dallas. It was shortly after their oldest child graduated from Vanderbilt that Greene’s father approached her to step in as board chair and CEO.

“It was good timing,” she says. “My nest was emptying and I had time to give. While many of my friends are now looking toward working less, I’m actually gearing up. It’s my next chapter.”

Her leadership earns Kenco the distinction of being the largest woman-owned business of its kind in the nation, a certification the Owen Alumni Board member worked hard to obtain.

“That is a great source of pride,” she says. “To be able to build on the past successes of my father, brother and other family members is important to me. Now with the woman-owned certification, I am bringing my own contributions and adding to the Kenco legacy.”