Jeanne Reaves in her consulting office. Reaves was CEO of River City Bank for more than a decade before starting her own consulting firm.

The Way We Work: Jeanne Reaves

A glimpse into the daily life of Jeanne Reaves, president and CEO of Jeanne Reaves Consulting

Back Article Mar 22, 2023 By Jeff Wilser

This story is part of our March 2023 print issue. To subscribe, click here.

Some consultants help with strategy. Others help with leadership coaching. Jeanne Reaves, president and CEO of Jeanne Reaves Consulting, is the rare unicorn who does both. A local business legend (and one-time Sacramento Metro Chamber’s “Sacramentan of the Year”), Reaves works with CEOs on both personal growth and operational improvements. 

Reaves’ secret for pulling this off? She’s been in their shoes. “The thing I find that my clients enjoy is that I’ve been a CEO before, and
we can talk the same language,” says Reaves, who served as CEO of River City Bank for more than a decade. Now she manages a team of seven consultants to help leaders hit their goals. 

Here’s how she does it.

5:15AM - Wakes up before the alarm, then heads to the gym for strength training with a personal trainer. 

8AM - Gets ready for the day.

8:30AM – Commutes from her home in Campus Commons to her office on Cottage Way while listening to the news. “I’m a news junkie,” says Reaves, who loves it so much that when she was CEO of River City Bank, she would wake up at 5 a.m. just to listen to the farm news. 

9AM – Pours a cup of hot tea and reviews her consolidated client list, which provides a quick summary of each one, the consultants attached to them and any pressing tasks. Reaves keeps a detailed folder on each leader she works with. “I tried to go paperless and I couldn’t do it.”

9:30AM – First client meeting. Reaves prefers to meet in person, at her office. “It’s good to get them out of their environment so that they open up more.”

10:30AM - Reaves tries to schedule a 30-minute block in between meetings; this gives both cushion for the first one running long and some time to prep for the next. 

11AM – The next client meeting. (There are a lot of client meetings.) 

12PM – Heads to her go-to lunch spot, The Sutter Club, for a working meal. Reaves is a big believer in lunch meetings. “It’s a more casual atmosphere,” says Reaves, adding that it helps build relationships. “When we’re communicating it’s on a more personal level.”

2PM – Next client meeting! Often the sessions are about sticking to both personal and organizational goals. 

3PM – Quick break to jot down notes from the last meeting. Checks email. Preps for the next. 

3:30PM - Final meeting of the day. The most common topic in these conversations? “Staff,” says Reaves. If the organization is growing, are there enough staff to keep pace? Is the strategic plan being followed? Are they on track? Reaves helps them stay accountable. 

4:30PM - Finally a block of time to sit down and focus on work that requires deeper concentration, such as writing a curriculum for the people she works with. This is also the time for returning calls, dashing off emails and synching up with her team. 

6:30PM - Often she’ll head to a networking event such as a happy hour, dinner or live auction for charity. Reaves frequently bids on auctions and usually wins. She’s also quasi-famous for donating to auctions a “glam garage dinner” catered for 10 in her luxury garage, which was voted No. 6 as HGTV’s Top Ten Garages in America.

9PM – When she finally gets home she’ll take a long walk to unwind and then knock out any chores. She’ll review tomorrow’s calendar and select tomorrow’s outfit. Maybe relax with a book (from Patrick Lencioni to James Patterson) or TV (from “Law and Order SVU” to “Emily in Paris”).

11PM - Listens to the news one more time.

12AM - Goes to bed.

Favorite to-do list system:

“Kerry,” she says with a laugh, meaning Kerry Sokol, customer relations manager and her de facto executive assistant. 

Favorite hobby:

“I need a hobby,” she says with another laugh. She makes time for live theater and ballet, but acknowledges that she has not taken a vacation in seven years. (This will soon change with a trip to Paris.) Reaves gets the irony: She recommends vacations to recharge but never does so herself. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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