Jane is an accomplished CEO, career mentor, public speaker and published author. For the past 20 years she’s become the highest ranking woman at Pepsi Co, Heinz and Rudi’s. Currently Jane runs JaneKnows.com, an online career resource center and HannahMax Cookie Chips.
An interview with ADAM MAYER
Who were your biggest influencers growing up?
I was the oldest of four siblings and raised by my mother in a single parent household. We didn’t have much money but she was hardworking and always encouraged me to go onto something better. My mother influenced me to go to college even when it seemed logical to skip education to maintain an income.
The other big influence in my life was my grandfather. We read a book a week since I was 6 years old and after each book we would have a review. He was self made and was the vice president of Bradley University. He instilled the importance of education and self improvement in my life.
How do you define success?
When I was younger success was all about making money because we had so little growing up. After my husband passed from cancer at 49 years old success became less about money and more about giving back. I focused a lot of my energy on creating environments where people wanted to work. I eventually got into mentoring and coaching people early-on in their career. I’ve been actively involved with organizations like the Unreasonable Institute, Watson University and started my own career resource platform, JaneKnows.com.
What do you enjoy most through mentoring and coaching others?
When we keep questioning the world, our role and what we’re doing, we continually grow as people.
I really enjoy helping others take an idea or proof of concept and turn it into something big. When we keep questioning the world, our role and what we’re doing, we continually grow as people. The importance of mentoring and coaching others can change someone’s life.
What advice do you have for someone early-on in their career or just finishing school?
It’s good to have goals but it’s more important to be open, it’s how we grow. Success is normally found when we take chances, not pursuing the most obvious choice. Regardless of job, title or responsibilities the day-to-day mindset will determine one’s experience. Surround yourself with people who will help you. Most importantly be on your own path, not someone else’s. Run your own race.