By the time Janet was in high school she had outgrown her plans to be a dancer, but she still wanted to be a writer. After being on the newspaper and literary journal staffs in high school, she decided to pursue a career in journalism or public relations (now more commonly called communications) instead of being a novelist. As she lived out her plan working in public relations for a technical/community college in South Carolina, she realized she had a knack for research (or as her mother put it, she was naturally nosy). And she found that she was skilled at communicating the results of her research in reports, articles, grants and other official documents.
For almost 25 years Janet sold telecommunications. But during that time she honed her research and writing skills. Selling complex voice and data communication systems to a business, government agency or organization required understanding the operations and goals of the client. Being nosy came in handy again. Also during that time, she worked with many government, education and non-profit organizations to develop grant applications and budget justifications to help them secure the funding they required to pay for the new voice or data system they needed.
The next step for Janet was a culmination of all the experience and skill development she had acquired. She opened a consulting firm, Leverage & Development, LLC and began helping non-profits, government agencies and businesses with the things they did not have the time or staff or skill to do. The name of the company tells what the company does – Leverage & Development, LLC helps people leverage the assets they have (in reports, grants and other documents) and develop the ones they need (processes, programs, funding, etc.). Since 2003 Janet has been in seventh nosy heaven reading reports, searching out statistics, interviewing people and conducting focus groups. She has also enjoyed the opportunity to help people with grant writing, evaluations, assessments, report writing, process and program development and many other things that involve research and writing. Here are a few of the things she has worked on:
•Healthcare Workforce Needs Assessment for a 3 county area •Outside Evaluator for 2 Juvenile Justice Programs •Community Health Assessment for 2 counties •Outside Evaluator for a federally funded genetic science awareness project •Consultant/Counselor for the South Carolina Women’s Business Center •Consultant on program development and grant writing for an entrepreneur incubator •Evaluator and Researcher for a workforce development collaborative
Janet thinks one of the best things about owning a consulting firm that offers research and writing services is that she gets to help people who are in a bind. Many of the clients of Leverage & Development, LLC come to Janet because they have a looming deadline and they don’t have the time to meet it. Others need information or evaluation and did not realize it until they were in a precarious position – if they don’t get it done, they lose funding or clients or partners. Sometimes the clients are just overwhelmed with the amount of information they have and how to turn it into the document they need. Occasionally another business or agency comes to Janet in search of a partner to round out their services on a specific project or client. So those years of working on journalistic deadlines, meeting a sales quota and helping people do more with less make Janet not only skilled at helping other people in their difficult situations, it even makes her comfortable.
There is no deadline Janet can’t stare down, no mountain of information she is afraid to scale and no blank page that gives her writer’s block.