It is always fascinating to meet people whose life’s journey can do nothing but encourage and motivate others to chase their dreams, even if the mission takes you back to your roots. Stylz It had the privilege to Keep It Real with attorney at law, Janene Laing, who not only has a legal mind but also is a spotter of fine art.
Stylz It: In these challenging times of business competitiveness where most people are seeking to be employed as against being an employer, what inspired you to start your own law firm?
JL: There is definitely great security in being employed and having a steady and expected income. But, there is an even greater fulfillment in charting your own course and making your individual mark in relation to your craft. Being a Portlander, I also felt the need to return to my childhood community and seeking to contribute to my parish, which made an investment in who I am today. This is important, especially in light of the fact that many are looking to move away from our beloved parish, rather than working to build it.
Stylz It: As a young woman, how do you prepare yourself daily for the work environment?
JL: I'm not sure why my preparation should be different, being a young woman. But, at the beginning of each day, I prepare an agenda of everything that I plan to accomplish, including returning calls and emails, preparing legal submissions or opinions, reviewing and drafting contracts, updating files, scheduling meetings etc. Of course, the profession also requires being prepared for the impromptu requests for legal advice and support.
Stylz It: The stigma about people in the legal practice surrounds being an older mature person. What are some of the candid comments, gestures and feedback you've gotten from first time clients?
JL: Well, I have been practising for five years so I am not as wet behind the ears! My experience also began in earnest with senior positions such as being the Registrar of Companies and Registrar of Financial Services in Nevis. However, I remember once I was meeting with some expatriates in Nevis regarding some yacht owners' issues, and I was accompanied by many Senior Government officials and Businessmen. A Norwegian yachtsman was quite surprised that I was not the Secretary, which gave us all a good laugh. But I am usually flattered by these comments rather than offended. I'm quite tickled when people underestimate me.
Stylz It: If it wasn't for law, what would be your next possible profession, and why?
JL: I actually chose Journalism as a second choice in my University application since it is still so closely connected with ferreting out the truth as well as social activism. However, over the years I have grown increasingly attracted to Interior Design and Decorating and even my own office space in Port Antonio is a reflection of my love for the arts. It allows me to explore my creative side, which is very gratifying.
Stylz It: Outside of being a businesswoman, who is Janene Laing?
JL: I am a Christian, which is my foremost consideration. That is who I am and law is what I do. It is also not difficult to get me involved in anything that will alleviate suffering or will elevate the standards of my country, such as community outreach activities.
Stylz It: If not yet, I am sure your journey will inspire many young people. What words of encouragement would you like to impart at this time?
JL: You are not the product of your circumstances. With hard work and a strong will you can rise above every difficulty and every setback. Life gives us many wonderful opportunities to shape our futures. Also, being positive is contagious, share it and it will attract others and even greater returns to you.