Anybody who knows Jenean Kujawa would never bet against her succeeding at whatever she tries, and that's good news for her hometown.
Kujawa's singular focus, both in volunteer work and her profession, is helping Butte grow and prosper. Challenging? Sure. But she's used to overcoming challenges.
Kujawa, formerly Jenean Salle, is a dynamo. After graduating from Butte High, then Montana State University with a degree in business administration with a marketing emphasis, she went to work for a major advertising agency, Bradshaw Advertising, in Portland, Oregon.
In 2006, still in her 20s, she was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
"I had surgeries and treatments in 2006 and 2007," she says, matter-of-factly.
After 10 years in Portland, she decided to return to her hometown, and shortly afterward became advertising director at The Montana Standard.
At the same time, she began engaging in community volunteer work.
"If you're from here, you're vested. The people matter, because you know them. The businesses matter. You're tied to more than just yourself," she said.
She reconnected with Matt Kujawa, silane unit manager at REC Silicon, who had gone to Butte High at the same time — he was a couple of years younger. They married, and in 2014 son Kobin arrived.
The following year, Jenean's cancer recurred, necessitating another surgery. For the mother of a 1-year-old, it was ... challenging. "But I had Matt," she says, simply.
As a cancer survivor, she took an interest in Relay for Life, and has been increasingly involved with the charity, organizing a relay team from The Montana Standard. This year she served as the chairman for the entire event — at which the local Relay for Life doubled the amount of money raised from the previous year.
She has also been on the United Way board since 2013, serving as its secretary and participating each year in events including the Day of the Child, Dress a Child and Day of Caring.
She is on the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce board and executive board, and she is president-elect, preparing to lead as the Chamber's president in 2018-2019.
Kujawa is also a parishioner at St. Ann's, a lifetime member of the Montana State University Alumni Association, a member of the Bobcat Club and a volunteer for the Butte Bobcat Club spring social committee.
She serves on the St. James Healthcare Events Committee, where she has worked on the Gala, the Fall Ball, the Hope Luncheon, the Pinwheel Pledge, and other events.
Oh, and then there's her actual job.
Managing the advertising sales efforts for The Montana Standard and also The Helena Independent Record and the Mini Nickel is more than a full-time job.
"My professional goal is to help the people and businesses in Butte, at the same time helping my company and the people who work for me succeed," Kujawa says. "When a business grows and expands I like to look at it and think I had a part in their success and ultimately the success of Butte."