Q&A Session with Janet Lively
Fast Facts about Janet
Position: Business Development Manager – New Markets
Education: University of Louisville
Dream Louisville Meal: The pork chop at Jack Fry’s, lobster macaroni and cheese from Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse; and a slice of key lime pie from Stoney River Grill
From her infectious smile to her genuine interest in others, Janet Lively, Business Development Manager – New Markets, eagerly looks to add new relationships to her “collection” wherever she goes.
Tell us about your background.
Though I was born in West Virginia, I was raised in Louisville and have called it my hometown for as many years as I can remember. I grew up as an only child on five acres, so I was responsible for making my own fun, and mowing a lot of grass. I remember one time I built my own swing set from scrap lumber leftover from the construction of our home that my dad built.
I attended public school and eventually graduated from University of Louisville (UofL) with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with concentrations in biology and psychology and a minor in communications. While biology isn’t helpful to me day today, I really geek out when I see a baby turtle or animal scurrying around on the golf course.
How did you end up in the AEC industry?
Following college, I like I refer to my first job as the “Al Bundy of furniture rental,” having worked for CORT right out of college. Not sexy but paid the rent! From there, I began working with a premier real estate development company, managing neighborhoods, apartment communities, country club membership sales and marketing, and then became an Assistant Athletic Director for UofL Athletics. From there, I moved into the world of architecture, engineering, and construction and haven’t left.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have two favorite parts—creating and cultivating relationships and the reward of the opportunities. There is a lot to be learned by asking strategic questions and sitting back to listen with an ear to help. I never want to sell a project, but instead want to earn a client and build the relationship to help resolve a problem/challenge or connect them with someone who can. I enjoy helping people and making their jobs easier. If I can help their day be better, then it makes me feel like I got up, had a purpose, and from that I feel fulfilled. Make no mistake…I really enjoy winning work, no question.
What advice would you give someone entering the field?
Always listen and be honest. You must always have the client’s best interest at heart because they will know it if you do not. Be patient; be pleasantly persistent; be helpful; don’t take all of it too seriously; but know that it is your journey and all of it means something.
How do you stay involved in your community?
I am on the Kentucky Derby Festival Board of Directors, which I love. Most years, this is a large time investment; with no Derby and no festival this year, it was lackluster. I am also on the Norton Hospital Foundation Board, Health Enterprises Board, SMPS Foundation Board, and donate time and money to Twisted Pink in support of metastatic breast cancer research.
If you weren’t in the AEC industry, what would you be doing?
I am a total clothes person. I think when I retire, I will become a little old lady selling clothes in a boutique I open for little old ladies with an interest in fashion. My goal would be to break even and enjoy myself.
What do you do in your free time?
For the past couple months, I have been consumed with moving. My fiancée and I bought a house together in Eastern Jefferson County; combining two houses into one is exhausting but each day it gets a bit better.
Typically, we enjoy galas, concerts (so this year’s been tough that way…), golfing, traveling, beaches, and just enjoying time with friends and family. We also really enjoy taking weekend trips to here, there, and yonder. Last year, we went to Wisconsin and rode four-wheelers for eight hours. We rode far north and could see Lake Superior from a mountain vista. It was breathtaking, and so much fun, but I was a mess by the time we got back.
What’s one thing not everyone knows about you?
My grandfather was a hobby beekeeper. I was very close to him, so I took up the hobby as well. In 7th grade, I created a mini hive as my science project, which served as my entry drug. At my peak, I had three full hives and harvested honey several times a year. In all of my time of doing it, I was only stung once—the bee got caught in my ponytail. I gave it up when I went away to college.
Do you collect anything?
I collect people and relationships. I have had the benefit of being a lot of places in my career and meeting a lot of incredible people; I love cultivating relationships and learning about people and clients. At the end of the day, those relationships help me re-charge both professionally and personally.
If you had $1 million dollars to spend, how would you spend it?
This is something I have given a lot of thought to. After disguising my appearance, I would go to random places around town to give the money in small increments to people who look like they could use a little happy surprise. Whether it would be Christmastime with kids or any other time of the year, I would anonymously share it to help people smile.
Tell me about your family.
My fiancée, Darrin, and I have been together for nearly five years. He is a Senior V.P. for Old National in Louisville. He has a 26-year-old son, Ryan, who is a recruiter for Trinity High School and a 21-year-old daughter, Kelly, who is pursuing her M.B.A. at the University of Tampa. My parents live about five minutes away, are in their late 70s, but for their age are still active; my father has yet to retire…and will turn 79 in January! I am blessed to have them near us and in good health.