Janine Garner is Founder and CEO at LBDGroup, a mentoring group for female entrepreneurs and business leaders, and a Partner at Thought Leaders Global. Janine spent the first 20 years of her career in corporate marketing roles for multinational retail giants. She is a keynote speaker, advisor and media commentator. Her specialty is teaching leaders and entrepreneurs to connect, contribute and collaborate to build their commercial success.
Janine is the author of From Me to We, and has recently released her second book It’s Who You Know. She is the recipient of copious awards including an International Stevie Award, Top 10 finalist in the DARE Magazine Daredevil Awards and in 2013 named one of Australia’s “Most Inspiring Women” by Madison Magazine. In July 2016 Janine was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from her university in the UK. On top of all this, she is also an active philanthropist.
As a Fortune 500 Mentor, what are some of the current challenges being experienced by corporate women and how are you helping them navigate those challenges?
The challenges being faced by many senior leaders include the usual business challenges of sales and profit pressure, attracting and retaining talent, how to get cut-through in a busy world and innovation to future-proof the business. On top of this I see overwhelm at the daily juggle and demands on time and priorities. Also, lack of time to think and strategise, impact on self belief and their own ability and uncertainty as to what they want to do next.
As Founder of the First Seeds Fund, which projects have had the biggest sustainable impact on women and children living below the poverty line in Australia?
The First Seeds Fund is a gift giving circle. Women collectively pool resources to drive change for others. We are so proud of the work we are doing in this space. We have provided funding to St Kilda Gatehouse, a women’s refuge in Melbourne. For the last 5 years we have funded a community based initiative in Warwick Farm, NSW to support girls from underprivileged families in education and finding work. And we provide a number of grants through Layne Beachley’s Aim For The Stars program. Essentially we are all about supporting those who can’t support themselves. By providing those initial seeds of opportunity and change.
As Founder and Director of LBDGroup, how have LBD’s networking events helped women progress in business?
The LBDGroup is all about connection, contribution and collaboration. It’s about business leaders and entrepreneurs building commercial and personal success for themselves and each other. And creating sustainable, leverage-able and successful businesses. Mostly, it’s about never having to make those critical decisions alone.
Members are able to sit down in an exclusive, unique and intimate environment and truly talk with other business people who inspire them. Or make new connections they can assist in some way with their expertise, industry insight and thinking.
You talk about 12 types of people that can hold you back for e.g. the traitor and the narcissist. What are some of the ways to step away from these type of people successfully?
It was Jim Rohn that said, “You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” It might seem unlikely that you would associate with someone who doesn’t support you or your work. But often, their negative impact won’t be immediately evident.
Surrounding yourself with people who consciously or unconsciously work against you, drag you down, make you doubt your ability or hesitant about your decisions is crazy. Once you are able to identify the negative people in your life who limit our progress, them you have a choice as to how much time, if any, you give them.
What has been your greatest challenge?
As a mum of three, when I first started my business all my kids were under six. The everyday juggle was intense and the hours long. My sleeping time was in freefall. My diet got worse and my (previously slightly obsessive) exercise routine went out the window. I was starting to run on empty. Then my husband’s employer went in to receivership and our steady income stopped immediately.
Our stress levels were through the roof. We had to downsize, move house and sell assets. This is when my self-belief and confidence took a serious hit. I remember thinking that surely it would be easier to go back to work. My husband turned to me and said “Janine, I believe in you. We can do this”. It was that moment where I made the choice to invest in me. To make sure I had the right personal network around me who could feed my mastery, mindset and belief to take ownership of driving my own success.
What are you most proud of?
My vision for my business and practice has never changed from day one. Yet, over the last 6 years, like for many of us, there have been times where I have had to dig deep. Where my belief has been challenged, where I have had to make significant compromises, invested the hours and to be honest, scared myself – a lot. Throughout it all I worked hard to keep my values in check. I had the incredible support of my family and a trusted board of advisors that believed in me and pushed me further than I could ever have gone myself.
I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built that I continue to nurture. Because without them, all of this would not have been possible. I am proud that I took on challenges that scared me, that I faced my fears and pushed through. And I am beyond proud that, with my husband, together we have been able to create a life of no compromise. Doing the work I love, in the way I want to do it with the people I want to work with.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Don’t try to go it alone. Find a small group of people who understand your vision, that you are willing to be open with about your fears, weaknesses and also your strengths. This small ‘Network of You’ needs to be your marketing machine, your board of advisors and your intelligence bank. A select group of people that will push you further than you can ever go alone. Who will develop your mastery and stretch your thinking, hold you accountable and be there for you and your success no matter what.