About her work:
I ran three different nonprofits over a 20-year period.
I was an executive director for my first nonprofit job and I started consulting on the side.
The very first thing was the Ohio Arts Council coming to me and saying, ‘You’re really good at bringing artists and businesses together. Can we send you down to Dayton to work with a group there?’
And then a few months later, another one asked, ‘Can we send you here?’
Then, I moved into a social service organization and it was an organization where the founder – that was the person who I was following – had been there over 30 years.
Some foundations said to me, ‘You handled that founder transition really well. Can we send you here to help with that and can we send you there?’
And all of the sudden, I had a full-time Executive Director job and I was doing a good amount of consulting on the side.
After 9/11, so much work began coming to me as organizations were looking and needing to operate in different ways as the funding climate changed, as priorities of funders changed and so on, as priorities for volunteers and board members shifted.
I realized it was time to do this work full-time. I loved being an Executive Director, but it was time to make the shift and build a strong team and go from there.
About Her Education:
Janus holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in printmaking and painting. It was the president of her college who changed the course of her career and, really, the course of her life.
She shares the story:
The year before I graduated, he said to me, ‘I’m not trying to say you’re not a great artist or anything, but you bring these interests, you bring these skills that are sure not typical for an artist or an art student, like you’re the first person that ever came to me and said, ‘Can I learn to write grants and raise some money so that we can rent some buses to bring some kids from the city into the gallery at the school? Can I organize a volunteer program to do this and this and this for the school?’
So, he, the president of the arts school, turned me onto what was then a relatively new formal field and I got a master’s in nonprofit organizations. I went into that thinking that oh I would run nonprofit arts organizations and I would run arts and culture organizations.
I’m an artist and I’m an arts-interested person and right as I was getting ready to graduate from graduate school in nonprofit management, I had the opportunity to be a fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts. That’s where I saw that organizations might say they do great things and have great, exciting missions, but some of them were pretty weak organizations and if they could run in a stronger way, they’d benefit more people.
That’s when I saw many organizations were doing great things, but hardly anybody knew that they were doing great things. That’s when I also saw that the audience that arts and cultural organizations were serving was relatively small when you look at the whole big world.
So, my interest grew right then and there from working just with arts and cultural organizations to working with organizations that would impact children and families and seniors, all people in broader ways and that’s what led me to working first as an arts and culture director, then to social service, then to education.
So, it all weaves together.