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Get to Know Our Team: Janine Winters

We at Destira are so proud of our employees, we want you to meet all of them! Each person who has chosen a career here is an ambassador of our philosophy of positivity, empowerment, and gratitude. Let’s get to know a Destira employee and take a peek behind the scenes in our new series: "Get to Know Our Team."

Can you imagine being a car-free, working mom of 2 young girls? Our Custom Project Coordinator, Janine Winters, is just that. She's our multi- talented communication hub that can bring all the players and elements together to create a beautiful custom leotard for you. Janine and her husband also made the choice to be car-free (or "car-light" to be more accurate) parents in Portland, Oregon. This decision is reflective of Janine's dedication, unique thoughtfulness, and focus: qualities she brings to her family, workplace, and community.  We love that our working moms have managed to live their dreams and maintain their ideals!

Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us how you ended up working at Destira. What inspired you to apply in the first place? When I applied for this position at Destira last fall I’d been working mostly in print and digital design and was interested in applying my skill set to something different -- and leotards is pretty different! Destira stood out to me as a women- and family-owned business with a mission and company values that align well with my own. I’m also a mom to two young kids who are building confidence and resilience through sport, and I get satisfaction in my contribution to that empowerment for our customers as well. 


In a nutshell can you describe your position at Destira? I’m the Custom Project Coordinator - I help make Team and Group Apparel happen!  In this role I work with Jacqueline, our outstanding Project Manager, Alexis, our super-talented Designer, as well as our wonderful customers to create custom leotards, leggings, and shorts for teams, groups, and events. Big-picture, I’m a communication hub and I use systems, processes, and baked goods to make the machine run as smoothly and happily as possible. 
You manage the workflow of creating a custom leotard through design to production; how do you bring collaboration into working with a team? What do you love about working with your Destira team mates? I have had the great fortune of working with a number of highly-collaborative, super-smart, and creative women in the past ten years, and my teammates at Destira are no different! Successful collaboration needs mutual respect, open-mindedness, creativity, and commitment. My team here has it all and then some. They make it easy and fun for me to come to work and help create a great product for our customers. 

Destira is women-owned and run, is this significant to you and, if so, why? It’s so significant to me! Day-to-day, I enjoy working in an environment in which I can be fully present as myself, even when myself needs to take a long lunch for a Kindergarten promotion ceremony. My being a part of this organization is also, I hope, a positive example for my kids to consider. Though they wish I were at home more, I’m glad that they can see me enjoying work with a company that values family, female- and youth empowerment, and fun. I am entirely pro-fun. 
There’s rumor that you co-wrote a book, please tell us about that. Why did the topic interest you and does the topic still resonate with you? If so, why? I co-wrote a book about sustainable book publishing while I was a graduate student at PSU. I’ve been interested in environmental ethics since my family got our first curbside recycling service when I was in elementary school, and I have a habit of pushing my “green” agenda at every opportunity. 
The spark in me that inspired the book in 2009 has become a guiding light in the last ten years as I’ve become a nearly full-time cyclist and completely full-time parent. I am continually looking for small and large ways to live my values more completely.  As I settle in at Destira, another area I’m excited to invest in is our environmental and social impact. Stay tuned!

You’ve become famous among your Destira co-workers for managing a family without a car. Tell us about how that decision evolved, what motivates you. Any tips for those of us who want to go car-free? When our first kid was ten months old, our car was stolen while we on a hike in Forest Park. While we were waiting for a ride back home, we noticed that we felt less sad about losing our car and more excited that maybe this was our opportunity to buy some sweet bikes and further reduce the environmental impact of our primary transportation method.  
Some friends shared the particulars of how they were car-free with an infant, and reassured us that we weren’t totally crazy in deciding to try it right at the beginning of the Pacific Northwest rainy season. Their encouragement (and the check from our car insurance company) were all we needed to dive in!
Almost nine years later I’d describe us as a car-light more than a car-free family. Somewhat surprisingly, it was much easier to travel by bike with babies than it is with larger, heavier, and more articulately-opinionated young children. 
It you’re wanting to explore more biking and less driving, do some research and connect with people in your area. Cargo- and family-biking people love helping new recruits! I’d also recommend you to invest in quality gear suitable to your climate. Maintaining safety and comfort is a big part of why I can ride every day and love it. 
Destira designs and sells leotards, but equally important is our message of self-confidence and empowerment. What do you do to build confidence in yourself? I almost always have a goal that I’m working on, and achieving even small milestones along the way reminds me that I’m still on track. I try to keep from measuring myself against the standards of other people, which feels tremendously empowering. I feel my most awesome when I am working hard and being kind to myself and others, so that’s pretty much my whole strategy to feeling great! 
Gymnastics is recognized as being one of the toughest of all sports, ranking in the top 10. You may not be on the parallel bars or mat, but what do you do to promote your physical well-being? Cycling is big for me -- I ride my bike to work every day unless the roads are icy, and getting that hour of daily activity is key in maintaining my mental balance and physical well-being. 

Do you have a short message for our young, female gymnasts?
"I admire your strength, and your commitment to yourselves, your team, and your sport."

What are your top 3 favorite leos? It’s so hard to choose because I see so many amazing and clever designs come through our custom pipeline! Here are few of my favorites...

Force Gymnastics, PA: Custom-printed and embellished Lycra tanks for their 2019 Flip Fest. They liked the look of our spliced tank silhouette, and we were able to design custom fabric to achieve the same look with a superhero/comic graphic pattern on the bottom and solid black top at a lower cost and with fewer seams for the most comfortable feel for the athletes.

Force Gymnastics custome leotards

Omega Gymnastics, OR: Custom-printed Mystique tanks for their 2019 Omegalympics. We designed into their space theme this year with a NASA-inspired logo and moon print that delights both my inner child and nerdy adult self. 

Omega Gymnastics Omegalympics custom gymnastics leotard

Jewart’s Gymnastics NW, OR: We recently worked with Jewart’s Gymnastics NW on a custom leotard as part of their community fundraising efforts. I love the look of a classic, embellished tank; and I love the story behind it.  

Jewarts custom gymnastics leotards