Janey Whiteside

Partner and CEO, Consello Growth and BusinessDevelopment

“I do think the combination of a federal ban on the practice of asking for previous salary information, combined with transparency around salary ranges could certainly benefit both women and other groups that have historically been affected by wage gaps and wage bias; it’s certainly not a panacea, but it’s a step in the right direction.“

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman?”

A “Power Woman” is someone that leads by example and is focused on elevating those around
her; she recognizes and encourages talent instead of being intimidated by it; and she leads with both strength and empathy. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have
worked with quite a few individuals I would consider to be Power Women and attribute much of
my career growth to the wisdom and support each of these women imparted upon me.
My colleague, Mindy Grossman, who nominated me for the Power Women 2023 award, is the
perfect embodiment of a true Power Woman. Mindy is obviously an incredibly accomplished
individual – she is one of the few women that has held the title of CEO of a large corporation
multiple times, building an impressive career during a time when women had even less support
in the working world. But what impresses me most about Mindy is her genuine interest in
elevating those around her – especially women. Many leaders will talk about their passion for
supporting and mentoring others, but Mindy puts these words into action; you can see it’s a
true calling for Mindy to make others successful and I think this mentality has been the secret to
her own immense success.

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward empowering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)?

I believe in the old adage, ‘knowledge is power.’ And according to recent UNESCO estimates,
129 million girls are currently out of school. The reasons are many. Barriers to girls’ education –
like poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence – vary among countries and
communities. Poor families often favor boys when investing in education.
So, speaking from a global perspective, I think that universal access to education is the
foundation needed to further women’s empowerment and promote gender equality. Access to
quality education opens doors to opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable; it is the
springboard for many out of poverty or an oppressive life, not to mention that educating girls
and women comes with immense economic and societal benefits – both locally and globally.

Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to the pay gap between women and men? NY State outlawed this practice, should it be nationwide?

It will be interesting to see how this law, combined with New York Pay Transparency Law –
which requires employers to list salary ranges for all advertised jobs, will affect gender wage
gaps in the state.
I do think the combination of a federal ban on the practice of asking for previous salary
information, combined with transparency around salary ranges could certainly benefit both
women and other groups that have historically been affected by wage gaps and wage bias; it’s
certainly not a panacea, but it’s a step in the right direction. Transparency is power in these
sorts of situations, so the more clarity that exists around salaries, the better for everyone.

What was the defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are

Meeting people who were willing to take incredible risks on me and gave me amazing
experiences and opportunities.

“Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth.” Simone de Beauvoir. Is this still a major stumbling block on the 21st century road to equality?

I don’t like to speak in generalities, so I do really think it depends on who you are talking to and
what communities and geographies you are focused on when applying this logic. And I love
Simone de Beauvoir – she was a brilliant writer and philosopher, and certainly a Power Woman
in her own right, but I do believe that society as a whole has made positive strides forward since
she first penned this quote (in 1949), but there is obviously still quite a bit of work to be done.
In the U.S., for example, only 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, we still haven’t had a
woman president, the gender pay gap is very much a reality, and the recent decision by the
Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is, I believe, an unfortunate set-back that will have
negative implications for gender equality and unforeseen negative economic repercussions.
I would like to think however that the future is bright. I know many women and men who work
to support the advancements of women, and as a mother of two teenagers, I can tell you that
the younger generation is much more socially liberal; as these younger groups begin to take
over positions of power in society, I believe that a lot of the social struggles we are dealing with
presently will begin to subside, and the patriarchal mindset that Beauvoir references will
become a thing relegated to the history books.

What is your mantra? What phrase or parable best describes your approach right now?

Find the best possible people and give them the greatest opportunity to shine.

Women are often placed in binaries. Strong and emotionless or weak and sensitive. How do you subvert these limitations and connect to all sides of womanhood?

There are so many women I know who fluidly embody multiple roles on a daily basis. I have
been a professional woman for over 25 years, but I am also a mother of two teenage boys, a
wife and I have a passion for the arts, fashion and all things creative. Like any other person, I have multiple roles to play (executive, parent, spouse, etc.) often daily, all determined by my personal and career choices, so I can’t say playing these multiple roles is deliberate, I think it is a necessity!

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. Fashion is a visual expression of who I am and an extension of how I
feel; it would be fun to get paid for something I now consider a hobby and creative outlet.

What advice would you give to any aspiring Power Women?

When you are just starting out in your career, work hard, listen, put your hand up at work for as much as you can (knowledge and experience are invaluable) and be proactive about identifying mentors and building a network with your peers.

When you start to climb the ladder and become more senior, it’s important to continue to work on your professional network and also take seriously mentoring and raising up others.
And finally, don’t be afraid to pivot to follow your passion. Many people believe that once you choose a career path, you are stuck there. Believe it or not, I started out as an investment banker, decided it was not for me, and redirected myself on a more marketing-centric path; I never looked back!

What steps do you take to obtain a healthy work/life balance?

I have always loved working; the intellectual stimulation and the rewarding relationships you build with colleagues has certainly enriched my life. I have also been blessed with a wonderful family (two sons and a wonderful partner who is also a fantastic father) and a great group of friends; time with the people you love is time well spent, so I make every effort to prioritize my time for the people I love.

I do also enjoy staying active, whether it’s a quick ride on the Peloton in the morning or a jog in Central Park. Exercise has always had a grounding and calming effect on me, so getting movement first thing each day has become habitual.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I would not put myself in the same class with these amazing women, but I admire their tenacity, innovative minds and their success socially and professionally. Jane Austen, one of the greatest writers of our time; Emeline Pankhurst, a British political activist who organized the UK Suffragette movement; Coco Chanel, who founded the namesake brand and was credited with creating the Little Black Dress.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never stop learning.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, in all things all the time.

Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? In others?

Always being restless.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Extroversion is a trait that seems to be glorified, especially in American business culture.
Throughout my career, I have seen time and again how the person with the most to say and the loudest voice often gets the attention, the promotion, the credit.

However, true leadership requires an ability to listen and requires deep emotional intelligence,
traits which I find are common among many introverted individuals. Extroverts are certainly
valuable contributors to work culture, however, I think individuals that don’t possess these
qualities can be overlooked and at the detriment to the organization, as there is a missed
opportunity to cultivate great leaders among more introverted types.

“Find the best possible people and give them the greatest opportunity to shine.”

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