Libi Berenson started her leadership journey 16 years ago with a four year stint as an officer in the Israeli military. Since then she’s worked as a Project Management Officer implementing SAP, as a Learning Manager at Amazon, and most recently as Director of Operations at KOHO, where she was recognised as one of the Top 50 Canadian women in Fintech!
More recently she decided to apply her skills and experience to help improve our society for the better, which is how Geenees was born. We talked to Libi to find out about her vision, her values, and what it’s like working full-time with your spouse.
When and why did you start Geenees?
My family never had much and after two immigrations, I truly relate to being on both sides of the table. It is in my heart to always find ways to help others and give back. After my youngest son Liam was born we received the same gift four times, when in fact we actually needed other items for the baby, but we didn’t feel comfortable to ask.
This sparked the idea of Geenees, creating a platform where we can connect receivers and givers in a direct and meaningful way. Realizing how useful and impactful Geenees can become, we have worked night and day to help share it with the world.
Where does the name come from?
When we thought about making wishes come true we immediately thought about a genie in a bottle. When you have many genies - they become your GEENEES! We changed the spelling to make it more interesting, appealing and creative.
Your husband is your Co-Founder. What’s it like working as a husband and wife team?
Sergei and I are the BEST team. We manage to work, laugh, strategize, decide, compromise, challenge and inspire each other all at the same time - and while doing our daily walks. Us working together is one of Geenees’ huge assets. Combining Sergei’s vast expertise and knowledge in technology, from building to strategizing, he is a master of it all!
In addition, with my experience in operations and leadership, leveraging our passion, time management and collaboration is what helps us to be resourceful, creative and successful. We know that we are the core of Geenees, and being honest and direct is important to us at all levels. While simultaneously always having fun and laughing a lot!
Where would you like to see Geenees in five years’ time?
Geenees will be the future of giving, it will be a place for people to get connected and help each other in any way they can. It will be a place where local businesses can grow their sales for someone that really needs it. In reality, Geenees is already that. The opportunity for Geenees lies in the variety of local products and services our retail and service providers will offer on the Geenees platform.
Imagine if you could send a math tutor to a child in need, buy prescription glasses for a senior, or help a single mom with resume writing, or a language school for a newcomer. The examples and possibilities are endless. We are opening a completely new way of giving and we are just getting started. Geenees will become that one stop shop for meaningful giving!
Who’s an entrepreneur you admire in the social impact space, and why?
I have to say my friend, Daniel Eberhard. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of KOHO (koho.ca), which is transforming financial technology for the greater good and helping people create financial balance and stability in their lives. I was the Director of Operations at KOHO and working with him as his right hand was an amazing experience, an absolute pleasure and one of the greatest learning opportunities for me.
What I love about Dan is his ability to ask questions and see each interaction as an opportunity to get better. His resilience and strength are always on my mind when I am facing challenges. The journey of growing a company from 10 - 80 employees through different funding rounds helped prepare me for the next phase of Geenees. I am forever grateful towards Dan for inspiring me and setting me up for success in my own venture.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I am a huge hip-hop fan, an animal lover in my heart, passionate about graphic design, and have started learning Mandarin (my 4th language). The funniest one of all - I cut the hair of everyone in my family!!!
Geenee’s raise is now live on FrontFundr, head on over to their campaign page for more information!