Janelle Marina Mendez, was born in Bronxville, New York at St. Lawrence Hospital in 1990 to Joasin Mendez & Marina Viera. Janelle is the second oldest of four children. Marina and John purchased a home on Watson Street leaving their apartment on Lafayette Avenue in the Bronx. She grew up in Cortlandt Manor, New York in Westchester County.
Joasin Mendez was an NYPD officer in the 40th precinct. At the age of 4 years old, Janelle’s father was injured in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence incident and was forced to retire. He spent years in and out of the hospital for surgeries while he learned how to walk again.
John’s injuries were to his achilles heels and right knee. The Doctor who preformed John’s surgery ran into complications while attempting to artificially mend his shatters achilles heels. As a complication, John began to experience life threatening blood clots in his knee and on multiple occasions ended up in the hospital.
Janelle’s parents divorced when she was 12. Her father, Joasin (John) was awarded custody of Janelle at the age of 14 because Westchester County Court determined living with her mother was an unsuitable situation for her due to a series of cild abuse reports that were filed with the county. Janelle’s three siblings remained with her mother and they lived separately for years.
She lived in Wilmington, NC with her father where she was in Honors classes and started competitive boxing. Janelle Marina won 2 state championships in North and South Carolina. She lost regionals in Augusta, Georgia to a girl who was out of her weight class and went on to fight in a national bout in Tennessee where she won a bout against a woman who was 19 when Janelle was 15. The boxing bout was considered an unofficial bout due to Janelle competition as a minor against an adult.
Marina and Janelle attempted to work on their relationship and Janelle moved back in temporarily while she was 16. Marina and her children had relocated to Hopewell Junction, NY in Dutchess County. Janelle attended John Jay High School where she skipped 11th grade as she had achieved the requirements and had a 4.2 GPA. She was 16 years old her senior year when she decided to enlist in to the United States Marine Corps. Janelle was an NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) Specialist.
Mendez’s basic training was at Parris Island, South Carolina. She went on to MCT training at Camp Gieger in North Carolina and her MOS school was in Fort Leonardwood, Missouri. Janelle was stationed at Quantico, VA. One night during a barracks party Janelle became overly intoxicated to the point of blacking out. The next morning she was being asked questions from NCIS regarding her being raped by a Gunnery Sgt who was in her command.
Janelle was charged with underage drinking and sent to the brig in Norfolk, VA. Janelle’s father hired a team of attorneys who got her out of the brig and charged the Marine Corps. with retaliation. A settlement was reached and Janelle was discharged with a general under honorable and lifetime VA benefits.
Upon Janelle’s separation from the Marine Corps. She moved in with friends in Mahopac, NY for a bit until she found out they were dealing drugs during a police raid. She moved in temporarily with her mom and her siblings for 2 months while her apartment in Beacon, New York was getting built. One year, after living in Beacon, she decided to purchase a condo in Wappingers Falls, New York.
Life in Wappingers Falls, NY was a breath of fresh air for Janelle. This new beginning allowed her to go to the Hudson Valley VA at Castle Point where she would ultimately go to therapy. Janelle was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009.
She received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for 3 years on and off. She struggled through that time emotionally with very little support. Overtime her pains became her purpose and her motivation to thrive. As Janelle’s world view changed so did her life. Her new beginning led to new adventures and for the first time in her life she felt a sense of hope.
The Humble Beginnings
In late 2009 Janelle began working at a major bank as a teller. She was attending college and needed to pay her bills. Janelle fell in love with her job by complete accident. She was enamored by how exciting and complex the Finance Industry is and she was enthusiastic to learn as much as she could. Janelle was promoted on numerous occasions in a short time frame due to her drive and desire to learn. Janelle mastered every job role and became an expert in her chosen field. Her skill set and desire to thrive caused her to quickly become recognized in the Finance Industry. She was able to maneuver through the industry by adding value to everyone she encountered.
By the age of 21, Janelle became a Financial Advisor, while attending school online. Janelle has since grown her practice and reputation in the industry; working for 3 of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the Finance Sector where she remains employed today. In her current role she strategically plans for clients entering into retirement or sending children to college. Janelle’s holistic approach to long term financial planning and strategizing has allowed her to gain a strong following. Her loyalty to her clients has been met with mutual respect and love. Her ability to strengthen and deepen relationships while managing the unexpected is a rare skill set in the industry and one of the most sought after qualities in a Financial Advisor. Janelle’s client retention rates are superior to that of her peers. It is those qualities which make Janelle appealing to both clients and firms a like.
Janelle has been engaged civically since the age of 12, starting as a volunteer training service dogs to work with mentally, physically and emotionally hindered individuals. She has raised money for numerous organizations from March of Dimes, the Ronald McDonald Club, Susan Koman Foundation, Carry the Load. While Janelle was employed at J.P. Morgan she acted as a J.P. Morgan Ambassador as well as was a PAC member. She is currently involved in her current organization’s PAC as well. She advocates for sustainable finance and environmentally friendly social policy.
Janelle joined the local democratic party in 2015 where she has taken on leadership roles. She is the Vice Chair of the Town of Wappinger Democratic Committee and a member on the Dutchess County Committee. Janelle failed at her first attempt to run for town council. She has spent the last 2 years working on herself to run again. Janelle is on her condo board. She and the other board members worked extremely hard to re-balance the budget, make procedural changes and increase reserves from $ 77,000.00 to $ 498,000.00 in less than a year. They were able to tackle an array of severe issues as well as work on capital improvement projects.
Janelle has overcome many struggles and obstacles. She firmly believes in giving back to a community that has nurtured her development and fostered her growth in to the woman she is today. Gratitude is a value she holds close to her heart and serving others allows her to express her values to the world.
In the beginning of 2017, Janelle founded PoliFi Inc. a for profit organization that provides campaign services at cost effective pricing through the use of artificial intelligence as well as leadership programs for young women entering the labor force who want to maneuver in to higher paying job roles. Her privately held firm now has multiple shareholders and a full board of directors who believe in female empowerment.