OBERLIN, OH -- Katie Jensen (Triton Stone Group) is the 2023 Women in Stone Pioneer Award recipient.
In her letter recommending Katie for this award, Alison Mullins, Marketing Consultant for Triton Stone Group’s Richmond, VA, location describes their work culture as one that empowers women. “It has been apparent and clear there are no limitations for women in this company nor in this industry. Katie’s leadership in this movement should not be ignored or forgotten. She is a pioneer and an advocate for all women in stone.”
Katie Jensen was born and raised in New Orleans. Upon graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she entered an elite global management development program for Maersk shipping company. In 2005, while in Denmark training for this program, Hurricane Katrina descended upon the Gulf Coast, devastating the city of New Orleans. This major event would change the trajectory of Katie’s career, landing her in the stone industry. Katie recalls asking herself: “Why am I across the world doing this when everything I know and love is there? I want to go back to New Orleans and do something to help with the rebuilding of it.”
With their family background in trucking, shipping and warehousing, the Jensens opened Triton Stone in August 2006. Katie and her team grew from one showroom to nine in just under ten years. The company saw great success in their “one stop shop” business model and focus on customer service. In 2017, the Triton brand, along with five additional showrooms, was purchased giving Jensen full control of Triton Stone. Today the company operates 29 locations throughout the Midwest and Southeast with a corporate office based in New Orleans. Her six siblings all work together in some capacity, and the entrepreneurial spirit Jensen gained from her dad lives on today.
The importance of being a woman-led company is not lost on Katie, and she strives to be a strong example for her employees. Jennifer Crowe, regional manager at Triton Stone’s San Antonio location says: “Katie leads our company encouraging constant self-growth within herself and others. She has a vision to create more leaders within our organization and continues to invest to help us grow as leaders.” As a working mom of four children, Katie understands the work-life balance struggle. Julie Krebs, director of accounting at Triton appreciates this about her. “She embodies a working mom, and she encourages all other working moms as well. I have children of my own. I never feel torn between the two. She is always compassionate, understanding, empathetic and encouraging. She has taught me over the years that women can have successful careers in high levels and still be a mother.”
Kat Bertrand, manager at the Baton Rouge, LA, location says: “We all know that this industry is tough, and it takes a self-assured, ambitious and intelligent woman to thrive in this business, let alone run one of the larger slab distribution companies in the Southeast US. Katie carries herself in a way that demands respect, while at the same time showing that she deserves said respect by conducting business in a fair, decisive and savvy way.”
Courtney Long, an account manager at Triton’s New Orleans location agrees. “We are in a male dominated industry. I have watched Katie conduct herself in a composed, poised manner whether it be with a fabricator, a million-dollar developer or a supplier. She is sharp and quick-minded.”
Lori Causey, a manager at Triton’s Birmingham, AL, location says: “Katie Jensen understands the meaning of hard work and portrays the highest level of standards and values. To say she leads by example is an understatement. She has empowered women to be successful in all aspects of our company. She has opened the door and given so many women the opportunity and courage to be successful in a challenging industry.
Karla Forest of Northern Stone Supply has witnessed Katie’s generosity while serving together on NSI’s Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. committee. “For many different reasons, Katie is a positive role model for all women in the natural stone industry,” Karla says. “The example that comes to mind for me is how she continually chooses to give back. I am amazed at how much of her time and resources she gives so wounded veterans can have a home.”
Katie’s generous contributions to the industry have previously been celebrated through her receipt of the Natural Stone Institute’s 2020 Person of the Year award, recognizing her dedicated leadership impacts and extensive support to the association’s executive team during the year. She also has been honored for her company’s belief and notable financial investment in the Natural Stone Foundation—the philanthropic arm of the association—achieving Diamond Level Donor status in 2021 for contributions of $100,000 or more. Katie continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Natural Stone Institute in the role of vice president.
Nominations for the 2024 Women in Stone Pioneer Award are being accepted until May 20th. To learn more, visit www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/pioneeraward.
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