Blog The Joypunk Podcast #20 Katie Poppe: The Taste Of Happiness

#20 Katie Poppe: The Taste Of Happiness

By Jenelle Etzel, April 11, 2024

Little Big Burger, Boxer Ramen & Blue Star Doughnuts cofounder, Katie Poppe, joins Jenelle to chat about the journey of founding multiple business, why she decided to sell Little Big Burger, and how she uses her science background to help her run Blue Star Doughnuts.

Other topics of conversation….

– How Blue Star began and what’s behind the name

– Hardships of owning a business during covid

– Providing moments of joy for customers

– Pressure of being positive all the time, not letting your team see you struggle

– How she refuels herself

– Why she decided to sell Little Big Burger after five years

– How having a BS in science has helped her Blue Star

– Building out a new  Blue Star at PDX airpot

– Dealing with hiring pandemic “kids” & employee turn over rates

– The importance of inviting HR to the table

– The people she choses to surround herself with as an introvert

– What she would go back and tell herself that was just starting out

– Advice for other female entrepreneurs

Find Blue Star here!

Leave a review here.

To listen to more episodes, head to our website

Jenelle Etzel

President & Owner, Licensed Broker OR


What does being lead singer and guitar player in a female punk band have in common with starting a real estate company in the middle of a recession? Not many people can answer that question. But when you ask Jenelle Isaacson Etzel founder and CEO of Living Room Realty, there’s no hesitation; where most would see a chasm, she sees a bridge. For Jenelle, it’s all been about finding a voice—the singular and irrepressible expression of self. Once a quiet, studious, high-school girl growing up in Portland, Jenelle started a punk band after college. She played guitar, wrote cathartic songs, performed, and traveled across country while living out of a van. All that seems light years from the present moment--owning a successful, growing company; serving on boards of civic and philanthropic organizations; enjoying family life with her two young daughters and long-time partner. Still, she uses the same voice now that began to emerge on stage years ago. Whether it’s business or music, “It’s important to know what your voice is. If it’s true, it will resonate.” Jenelle’s voice, her truth, is about being brave enough to take action without apology, being heard without being exploited, to be energized, constantly problem-solving and refining her skills in the pursuit of building a purpose-driven company. All this requires risk-taking. She’s learned the hard way that she can’t fix everything and that not everyone will share her vision. But even as she explains the difficult choices she’s faced, Jenelle radiates joy. “It’s never okay to play small,” she says with conviction. And this, more than anything, is what she strives to impart to other women, empowering them to pursue their passion whole-heartedly and to be leaders who speak with their own unique, unapologetic voice. Living Room Realty, founded in 2009, offers residential, commercial, and property management services. Living Room ranks in the top 15 real estate companies in Oregon, with more than 110 affiliated broker-agents. For more information, visit Noted Achievements: First west coast real estate office to receive B Corp status • Top Workplaces, 2014-2016 • 100 Best Workplaces in Oregon 2017 • 100 Best Green Companies 2017 • Oregon Business in Ethics Awards in 2014 • Jenelle has been featured in The Portland Monthly, Oregon Business, and REALTOR® Magazine • Portland Business Journal 40 under 40 Business Leaders • Board of Directors, Rock n Roll Camp for Girls, receiving 2015 award for creative philanthropy • Board Member, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Network, Portland chapter • Orchid Award recipient for Business and Civic Contributions • Guest speaker: OPB’s Think Out Loud, Investor Beat, Cascadia Green Building Council • Advocate speaking on behalf of Benefit Corporation legislation with Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown
Read More

You might also enjoy

#21 Randal Wyatt: Taking Ownership PDX

Jenelle Etzel

Musician, activist, and founder of nonprofit Taking Ownership PDX, Randal Wyatt discusses his journey to creating...

#19 Mark Bitterman: Telling Stories Through Salt

Jenelle Etzel

  James Beard Award winning Author, Mark Bitterman chats about his love of food and place,...

#18: Michelle Cairo: It’s Fun To Do It The Right Way

Jenelle Etzel

Charcuterie queen & cofounder of Olympia Provisions, Michelle Cairo joins Jenelle and shares the story OP’s...

#17: Javier Alomía: It’s Easier To Say Yes

Jenelle Etzel

Javier Alomoía joins Jenelle sharing his journey from Ecuador to Portland and the keys to his...