Jean Smart is the founder and CEO of Penelope, a 401(k) platform focused on micro and small businesses. She was inspired to launch the company at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after watching small businesses struggle. It reminded her of her immigrant parents—owners of a grocery store and restaurant in Los Angeles—who cared for their family and employees but failed to invest in their own retirement, leaving them vulnerable in old age. There are over 5 million micro businesses (less than 50 employees) across the U.S., and Jean recognizes the untapped potential of helping these entrepreneurs support and retain their employees with a best-in-class retirement program that’s simple, affordable, and effective. Before founding Penelope, Jean, a former Wall Street executive, worked in financial services for 20+ years, most recently as the managing director, head of business strategy, corporate and institutional advisory solutions at UBS. She lives in NYC with her husband and daughter.