One of the fundamental truths of life is that the joy is in the journey, the process that takes us from point A to point B rather than a laundry list of goals to be checked off a bucket list. For Jane O’Brien, both business and life present an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the journey.
That philosophy permeates O’Brien’s daily interaction with employees and customers of Q2 LLC, where she is a partner at the Burnsville, MN-based firm. A 2017 ENX Magazine Difference Maker, O’Brien feeds off the positive vibes she encounters on a daily basis.
“I enjoy working with our employees and customers,” she said. “I am fortunate to have a professional, knowledgeable and fun team to work with. Our customers are great people, and whenever I can talk with them, it’s a really good day.”
O’Brien didn’t take a traditional journey to the world of office products. A psychology major in college, she discovered a significant shortage of jobs available in her discipline, and a majority of what few opportunities she found didn’t pay very well. By chance, she secured a position in supply sales at Conway Office Products in New Hampshire before launching into a successful career in sales and customer service with Katun Corp. That paved the road to her founding of office imaging products specialist Q2 LLC in 2007, along with Joe Steinberg and Neal Becker.
Through the years, O’Brien has come to appreciate the value in establishing meaningful relationships with clients. “My approach to business is simple,” she said. “It’s all about delivering on your promises and always trying to do the right thing. Over the years, I have developed great relationships with many customers. This makes all the difference when customers are deciding who to buy from.”
One of the greatest influences in her business career was Ray Wirtz, a former manager at Katun Corp. who proved to be a tremendous role model. Wirtz followed a simple edict of “no surprises” that O’Brien used in maintaining open lines of communication with employees and customers.
“Ray was really focused on the career development of his people and helping them achieve their goals,” O’Brien noted. “He taught me that good managers focus most of their time on training and coaching their team. That has always been my focus.”
Despite competing in a shrinking market, Q2 enjoyed strong growth in 2016 with its line of OEM and compatible toners, drums and parts for copier, printer and multifunction imaging machines. O’Brien is particularly proud of the firm’s growth path and projects continued success by focusing on both her employees and customers.
“If these two are growing and happy, then I am happy,” she added.
An avid sports aficionado, O’Brien enjoys playing volleyball and basketball. She loves outdoor activities and spends most weekends during the summer at a cabin in Wisconsin. O’Brien also enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, along with her three Vizsla hunting dogs.