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The Wixii™ Project: Janelle Banat

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Janelle Banat

Name: Janelle Banat
Location: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Professional Industry: Healthcare
Company: Kaiser Permanente
Job Title: Medical Office Director



“Although I strive to give my girls the amount of love my mom gave me, I will never be a domestic goddess like she is, and that THAT IS OKAY!”



Meet our featured Wixii™, Janelle Banat.  She is in her early 40’s and mother to three beautiful daughters who are 6, 8, and 12.  Janelle attended Regis University for her undergraduate and master’s degrees, and she earned a Bachelor’s in Medical Imaging Management, Health Care Administration and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership.  She currently is a Medical Office Director at Kaiser Permanente; Craft Brewery owner at Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery; and property investor/manager at her company, Footlamp Properties, LLC.


I am certified in Myers-Briggs and can’t seem to shut this area of expertise off when meeting new people, dealing with my kiddos, peers, bosses, contacts, renters, leaders who report to me and their staff.  It is pretty intriguing stuff and one of my favorite tools to process emotions and actions of others a little faster.  People tell me they think I am intuitive; I think the tool is a shortcut to better understanding people in general.  I also used it to identify motivators to finish my 1st half Ironman last September (and no, I am not the typical mega-athlete chick – I just figured out how to get it done once I realized I really wanted my girls to remember mommy having a big challenge that was hard and finishing it anyway).


At 18, I started as a radiology technologist and didn’t find it to be a great career fit but got married at 21 and found myself to be the breadwinner; the pay was good at that age and at Kaiser Permanente the benefits are impressive so I kept at it for nine years while I worked my way through college.  Clinical experience helped open doors to leadership opportunities in a training department at Kaiser Permanente and I stayed there for six years learning about primary care and developing great relationships that also opened doors for me to land an internal consulting promotion.  Both positions were also formal leadership gigs, so I was able to develop skills and expertise in multiple areas.  I am currently a Medical Office Director and have been with the company 21 years. Eleven years ago, I divorced my ex-husband and found myself a single mom with a one-year-old daughter.  I have since married an awesome guy and we now have three little girls to love!  I am no longer the breadwinner and have been encouraged to pursue my interests in dabbling in property investments while my husband RJ has been able to provide the financial strategy and expertise necessary to start up a successful craft brewery in downtown Denver.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the Denver craft beer industry and look forward to any time I am able to carve out to spend at Jagged Mountain with our team.  It is a very happy place!


I am a relatively self-aware adventure seeker in all areas of life.  I like to take calculated risks that provide growth opportunities, even when I fail.  I am a spontaneous person, yet very strategic about risks and keep the welfare of my family as my central focal point.  I almost left the healthcare industry four years ago after realizing my tendency toward work-aholism, which wasn’t meshing well with my need to keep my kids and husband as my top priority.  I am told I am optimistic, but I truly find that my faith empowers me to see all avenues as opportunities to learn and grow, even when that avenue is painful, frustrating, and difficult to re-route myself out of.

Work:  how do you “think outside the box” with respect to your work-life potential and opportunities? 

I have become pretty bold at work over the last four years and was awarded a promotion to a director role after clarifying my needs for work-life balance, which I thought might ensure I wouldn’t be passed along for final interviews.  Some bosses DO value folks like me trying to make it work at home while also contributing a ton at work.  I try to stick to 50 hour weeks; this isn’t possible all the time, but most of the time.  My kids have limited activities outside of school so we can have family time together.  I exercise more for my sanity than vanity but only 2-4 times per week.  I like my kids too much to do another half Ironman anytime soon!  My housework is where I really don’t get upset anymore. I outsource as much as possible!  My husband and I love to travel internationally, so when prices are low, we all go.  Cambodia, Thailand and Columbia were recent trips to help our girls experience other cultures and see how people live outside of the U.S.

Family:  how do you build meaningful relationships with the people who matter most in your life?

The best tip I have managed to not quite master is to disconnect from everything else and just “be there.”  This is so incredibly challenging for me, and quite frankly a huge area of guilt.  I am so much happier when I can mentally put things aside and show up for my kids who really, really, really want mommy to hear all about whatever it is they want to tell me.  It is such an honor to be a mom.  I hope to someday develop a high level of mastery in this area and just listen…with less effort!

House:  how do you maintain order/status quo and/or how do you “manage it all” just a bit better?

I am incredibly fortunate in that my mom retired a couple years ago and moved near us.  She was a domestic goddess when I was growing up and thrives on creating order out of chaos.  She also needed something in her life to make her feel productive and useful or she feared she may not do well in retirement.  My husband and I don’t have a particularly high need for organization but my mom loves to put away dishes from the dishwasher and manage our laundry while we are all away at work.  I have had to let go of some of my control issues (may not sound that hard, but who really wants their mom doing their laundry when they are a grown woman???) around not feeling like I am being the mom she was for me, but I think it is better this way.  I don’t spend my weekends doing laundry anymore – I hang out with my family.  We also found a super-affordable cleaning lady who brings a team in every two weeks.  Thank God as this is not my wheelhouse!

Self:  how do you strengthen your own identity and not lose yourself in the mix?

I host a bible study/chick support group every other Tuesday with some of my favorite ladies.  The studies ground us in who we are in our faith as well as how we live our lives.  These sessions remind me how much I love to support others in their journeys.  Taking care of my body with exercise also gives me time to be in my head and reminds me how fierce my spirit is when I put my mind to something.  It is hard for me to get lost in the mix if I just take the right kind of time for myself.

Community:  how do you contribute and add value to the larger world around you?

In addition to volunteering about an hour per week with my church, our brewery has an impressive program benefiting non-profit organizations that I am super passionate about.  I also make it a priority to build strong relationships with my employees at both Kaiser Permanente and Jagged Mountain as well as my renters, allowing me the opportunity to support, coach and contribute to their personal development. I see those relationships and the opportunity to develop my employees as the biggest value I can add anywhere.

How does your current mindset/attitude empower and/or frustrate your ability to thrive in your work-life mix?  How has your mindset/attitude toward life changed over time?

My mindset was very different previously when I was struggling to manage a very difficult job as well as three very young daughters.  I almost quit.  I just didn’t feel like I could do it all and was afraid of being a failure.  An event that changed things for me was a shoulder repair surgery that required me to take a month off of work and do very little other than walk.  I was able to take a step back and see that the majority of my stress at work and home was self-imposed; I was pretty hung up on the pride I felt at having an unblemished reputation with our executive leadership team and was striving way too hard to please everyone, which was making me pretty nutty.  Adding my internal benchmarks of success as a mother only exacerbated the situation.  Thank God for a dislocating shoulder to force me to slow down and re-assess my priorities.

What do you currently find most challenging/concerning about your work-life mix?  What areas do you most needs support?

The most concerning area for my work-life mix is managing the tension between a role at work that is challenging enough to keep me stimulated and yet not too overwhelming that I need to work long hours to do the job well.  I am also self-limited to career choices that are on the south end of Denver to erase the family time suckage created by a longer commute.  It would be wonderful to hear more about options for women to make six figures while utilizing their strengths in flexible positions.  I realize this combination is a bit of a unicorn, but I am still harboring that 5th grade dream of mine related to finding one.

What advice would you give an earlier version of yourself?

Don’t marry that guy!!  Actually, I wouldn’t tell myself that.  As much as that part of my life was not fun at all, I got an amazing daughter and a very strong character out of it.  I am not sure I have enough hindsight at this point in time to be able to tell myself to choose differently in regards to any other part of my life.  I would definitely tell myself to worry less about having a clean house. Although I strive to give my girls the amount of love my mom gave me, I will never be a domestic goddess like she is, and that THAT IS OKAY!

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