Meet Jenee Johnson.
Jenee is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She graduated from Purdue Fort Wayne with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interpersonal & Organizational Communications. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was elected Vice President of Student Body Programming for two terms. After graduating, she served as the Purdue at-large member on the Alumni Board of Directors for six years.
Jenee has served as a volunteer for the Miss America Organization for 15 years. She is the Executive Director of the Miss Three Rivers Festival Organization, the second largest festival in the state of Indiana. Her dedication to the organization was featured in Four Points Magazine.
Currently, Jenee is an in-school Program Manager for Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana. She also works part-time as an usher for Parkview Field (baseball) and the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. She is known for dancing at the Fort Wayne Komets and Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey games.
Jenee is also on the Board of Directors for Wellspring Interfaith Social Services where she currently serves as the Vice President of External Affairs. Additionally, she has also served on the Board of Directors for the Three Rivers Festival for six years, is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and is the 2017 Fort Wayne Business Weekly Forty Under 40 Award Winner
YWCA Asks: What does an “empowered woman” mean to you?
Jenee: An empowered woman is a person that lives life to the fullest. She takes advantage of the opportunities presented to her and then works to create opportunities for others. She is empowered by her family and community.
YWCA Asks: In what ways do you feel you empower other women?
Jenee: I began volunteering with the Miss America Organization over fifteen years ago. A lot of people see the national competition, but what they do not see are the preliminary competitions. The candidate competes in local, state, and then finally the national competition. There is a lot of growth that takes place between points A and C.
I host the Miss Three Rivers Festival Competition in the fall and have the privilege of getting to know the young ladies and their families. I have a chance to engage with these young ladies and to learn about their likes and dislikes. It is an opportunity to find out what it is like to take a walk in their shoes. Because of this connection, I have been the communicator when they have disagreements with their families. I have really invested in their growth, visiting them in their hometowns and on their college campuses. I have also supported them in other competitions. It has been rewarding to watch them get married and start their families. Honestly, we empower each other. I have learned a lot about myself by mentoring them.
YWCA Asks: Can you share a tidbit of information or experience that may be helpful to other women?
Jenee: I have come to learn that the things you may see as your flaws are what makes you unique. There are so many times that we compare ourselves to the next person in line. During my middle school and high school years I was very awkward, tall and heavy set with frizzy hair. I grew up in a single parent home and we made the most of what we had. Now that I look back, I can see where those struggles prompted me to become a more confident person. My friends taught me how to embrace those things, and I will always be grateful for that.