Jenn Keizer-Hoback is a member of GPN's 2024 Class of Forty Under 40 honorees
40 Under 40, Class of 2024

Jenn Keizer-Hoback


Smith Gardens

Job Title

Operation systems manager


What 3-4 professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • Designing, testing and implementing the Selecting Labor Analysis tool for our shipping teams that allocates products to picking teams and calculates their start/finish times based on rates and builds our racks based on the individual orders and item placement logic.
  • Building the Operation Systems team at Smith Gardens — they are a phenomenal group of people working with a shared purpose and mission, and I am so happy to lead them. 
  • Completing SGI’s Sage X3 ERP Implementation project for inventory, sales and shipping. It took a long time, but we now have a great system in place! I’m excited to complete the implementation for our production team as well in 2024. 
  • Having my children, Nick and Lucas, they are my life!

What led you to work in the horticulture industry? 

  • My parents owned a farm and garden store when I was young with a small garden center outside in the spring. My job was deadheading and watering the plants after school and on weekends.
  • I also grew up gardening with my mom, I enjoyed being outside in the gardens and playing in the dirt.
  • When I saw the opportunity to start a career in horticulture with Smith Gardens 16 years ago, I jumped at the chance.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

  • Problem solving

Describe to a 6-year-old what you do in life?

  • I help create and improve computer software for my plant company that helps people grow and sell plants easier.


What are your favorite hobbies? 

  • Travel
  • Felt crafting
  • Reading

When you’re not working, what are two to three things we could find you doing? 

  • Exploring the Pacific Northwest
  • Gardening and yard work
  • Reading

Fun Facts

Do you have any unusual talents, or can you tell us something interesting about yourself that other people may be surprised to find out? 

  • I am an avid Ingress player — it’s a GPS-based game somewhat similar to Pokemon Go! (but also very different).
  • My family and I have played it all over the country and travel frequently throughout the year to attend events and competitions. We’ve built lasting friendships over the years with our teammates.

One thing you can’t live without? 

  • Coffee!

What are you (un)secretly good at? 

  • Remembering conversations I’ve had with people

What are your top three bucket list items? 

  • Visit The Netherlands
  • Get a master’s degree
  • Build a house

What’s your favorite plant variety and why? 

  • I love leucanthemum, my mom had a bunch of them in her garden when I was little.
  • They remind me of happy days spending all day outside.
  • If I had to name a specific variety, I would say leucanthemum ‘Darling Daisy’, they are so cute!

You’re buying a vacation package to anywhere in the world without a budget, where are you going?

  • All of Europe!
  • Specifically, I would love to book a trip starting in the Netherlands and ending up in Portugal having visited Belgium, Germany, France and Spain along the way.