“A trusted truth-teller”
Past clients reflect

“… unique ability to balance both head and heart.”

Chris Resig
President, NK Bhandari Architects and Engineering, PC

“Our business hired Jan to guide us through strategic planning, then pivoted to an unexpected leadership transition. Our carefully designed 5-year path suddenly became a short-fused action plan. Jan has the unique ability to balance both head and heart to inspire organizational and personal change. Ultimately my role evolved from employee to owner of our firm as a result of my work with Jan.”

Can you describe the engagement?

Jan was hired as a coach and has become a friend over the years. We started with a strategic planning assignment that identified key issues and drivers that needed to be addressed. She helped uncover (self-limiting) flaws in order to move into the future – as a company and me, as a person.

Was there a measurable business outcome?

Absolutely! Our most successful gross revenue year had been 2011, but Jan helped us identify a major issue: 95% of our revenue was coming in from one client and one contract. Clearly, we needed a plan to diversify. In 2012, this contract was pulled. While that contract generated revenue for 18 months, Jan helped us create a plan to make immediate business adjustments which resulted in landing another large contract. From 2015 through 2020, our annual revenue grew at a double-digit pace year after year. 2019 became our biggest year ever, exceeding our previous 2011 high by over 30%. We successfully weathered the impact of COVID-19, making 2020 our second-largest gross revenue year in history.

Would you recommend Jan to others? Why?

Yes. She is such a genuine person who cares deeply about helping you. Jan goes beyond business and puts her heart and soul into the work. She has served as coach to a wide variety of businesses from Fortune 500 to small, privately held companies, to nonprofits. She flexes to meet the needs of the individual and the organization so they both thrive and excel.

Top 4 Benefits of working with Jan Thirlby

  1. Personal qualities – there is a very select group of individuals who possess such sterling qualities of both head and heart; she is genuinely a forthright, truthful, and caring person.
  2. While this is a business transaction, Jan is concerned about you personally and the business’ success.
  3. Her process encourages us to dig deep—gracefully delving into issues that need to be surfaced. “Tell me more” and “why is that?” are her best questions – the ones that get us to the heart of the matter.
  4. She has a high aptitude for EQ; Jan really knows people & what makes them tick.

“I learned that humility and excellence in what you do are mutually compatible.”

Matthew Tomaino
M.D., Tomaino Orthopaedic Care

How did you come to know Jan Thirlby?

My relationship with Jan began as when she was my patient. Years later, after she read an article in the paper that cast a contrary view of me, Jan asked to meet for coffee. Her genuine concern prompted the meeting. It was at that meeting I began to recognize that I had something to learn from her.

We embarked on a coaching relationship through which Jan helped me appreciate the interplay of system-related biases, my feelings and behaviors. She introduced me to new ways of thinking about my “self” and professional goals/aspirations through compassionate, inquisitive conversations.

Would you recommend Jan?

Definitely. Resilience and grit can only get you so far (in life). Sometimes you have to get knocked down in order to appreciate that you need to take a different path. Jan has a unique approach to helping you learn from the inside out…and begin the lifelong journey towards self-realization. She peels back layers of internal narratives to identify the fundamental issues that might interfere with becoming the best version of ones-self. I learned that humility and excellence in what you do are mutually compatible.

What were the tangible outcomes of working together?

Jan served as my guide to increased self-awareness. I did not know that I needed a coach, but during our work together, I began to have a greater appreciation for how my interactions with others contributed to positive (or negative) outcomes. I have more personal satisfaction in the way my thoughts guide my life. I am more grounded today than ever in building a business that I know does not need to be big to be great.

Would you recommend Jan to others? Why?

Definitely. Anyone who is looking for a fresh perspective, who wants to become a more effective version of themselves or tackle professional issues, would benefit from meeting Jan. She is thoughtful, educated, nonjudgmental….and has an abundance of diverse life experiences that facilitate a growth-filled interaction.

Alan Cole
Modern Day Media

Janet was incredibly helpful in directing our search for a new Head of School. She brought a level of detail and organization, which made a real difference in how well the process worked and the end result. Without Jan's insight, we would not have been nearly as successful in finding a great candidate.

“… dramatic increase in our waitlist for enrollment.”

Sonya Hemmen
Head of School at Ross Montessori School

“… dramatic increase in our waitlist for enrollment.”

“Jan helped us define our ‘Wildly Important Goals.’ We have seen a dramatic increase in our waitlist for enrollment. Schools contact us for guidance (to find out how we handle many types of situations), and our budget is ‘beyond on-track’ for sustainability.”

How did you come to work with Jan?

I have been mentored by Jan over the past seven years. Jan has worked extensively with the staff, board of directors, and leadership team at Ross Montessori School since 2014. She guided us in strategic planning as well as organizational diagnosis and change management. She is highly skilled in leadership development and problem-solving. Jan has helped me better myself and develop my craft of leading a public Montessori charter school. She points out my blind spots, reminds me to celebrate when I forget to do so, and is someone whom I consider to be a sage and trusted truth-teller.

What are the quantifiable results of working with Jan?

Our school is a much better place as a result of her kind, calm, and expert leadership. She is an expert coach who carefully studies the organization and guides the leader and team to constantly review improvement measures.

Phase One work with Jan began during the time when we were celebrating 10 years as a charter school. She led us through updating our mission and vision statements. It was an important time to reconsider who we were and where we wanted to go. Through her guided research process, we realized we were “playing much smaller” than we should be (and she knew this). As we refined the message of whom we wanted to become, she cheered us on.

During phase two, Jan helped us to operationalize our strategic plan to produce long-term and sustainable change. Her guidance is based on the work of Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great.” She serves as a role model in becoming a learning organization at the highest levels of leadership. We are a better organization because of our work with Jan.

Was there a measurable business outcome?

Yes. We have seen a dramatic increase in our waitlist for enrollment. Other schools turn to us to find out how to handle many types of situations and our budget is “beyond on-track” for sustainability.

What would you say to someone who wants to know if Jan’s coaching is effective?

She is a consummate professional. Jan offers sage advice. Sometimes clients may not want to hear what she recommends, but if the leader is reflective and open to coaching, they will learn that her guidance is likely on par. There are many dark days in leadership and days to celebrate. Jan becomes the first person a leader wishes to share this with. She is amazing!

Let’s get to work.

From executive coaching to strategic planning to action learning and rapid cycle improvement, Janet’s consulting expertise can help your leaders forge a bright future for their organization grounded in best practices, clearly defined goals, and led by an inspired team.