Our May profile proudly highlights Jane Schulte, co-owner of PRISM Title & PRISM Consulting. PRISM Title & Closing Services was created in 2006 with a small group of leaders with Jane at the helm. 18 months and 52 additional employees later, PRISM achieved success utilizing techniques explained in Jane's book BOLD Leadership: A Holistic Approach to Business Success. Entrepreneur. Author. Artist. Wife & Mother. Explore Jane's secrets to personal and professional success.
- Best general advice you've ever received
- The best advice came from my mother: "Don't gossip." While I cannot say I followed this advice 100%, I do get a twinge any time I do say something unsavory that reminds me that this is good advice.
- Worst general advice you're ever received
- "Don't be so sensitive." I always say I grew up in a bubble. We had to be nice to each other; we were protected from anything bad and I could freely cry if I felt hurt or sad. When I entered the working world at the young age of 17, I didn't know any better than to cry if I were hurt or felt sad in the workplace. That didn't go over well. I was always told I was too sensitive. However, my sensitivity is what makes me have compassion and empathy for others. In my opinion, it's a good leadership trait to possess (but I don't cry anymore).
- Best style advice you've ever received?
- "Don't wear clothing that is provocative at work." People won't take you seriously. While I lean towards business "artsy" clothing as I am an artist, I try to err on the side of conservative when it comes to lengths of skirts and cuts of blouses. I believe that serves me well.
- Worst style advice you've ever received?
- "Wear a business suit." I look terrible in a business suit and feel confined. I think the business suit is appropriate for some, but for me, it cramps my style and makes me uncomfortable. It just isn't me.
- When someone tells you "they are sorry," believe them.
- Forgiveness is a gift. Even if you don't believe they are truly sorry, it is still the best course of action.
- When someone tells you "that you are less than anything wonderful," don't believe them.
- There are usually ulterior motives. Your self-esteem doesn't come from others; it comes from you. Don't let anyone interfere with your positive image. That said, make appropriate changes as needed.
- You're more likely to offer a job to a candidate who does or says what?
- I seek a candidate who is outgoing, has the gift of conversation (a mutual give and take), highlights their strengths, speaks well of others, and looks me in the eye when they speak. I'm equally impressed when people admit they are wrong and assume complete accountability.
Jane in the early days
- When did you first understand the power of image in helping you achieve your personal/professional goals?
I have always been a "clothes horse." When I graduated from high school, I had saved money for my senior trip to Florida but changed my mind at the last minute and went shopping. While a look back at my clothing in the 70s, 80s and 90s can look rather frightful, it was "in" with the times and set me apart as a "brand" both personally and professionally.
- How did your dress/grooming change as you moved from one career or job position to the next?
- As a young woman? As a very young woman, I wore mini skirts and my earrings always matched my top. I was a matcher. Everything had to match.
- Starting out professionally? I wore more skirts, blouses, and dresses as my figure was different back then and there was no business casual in the 1980s and 1990s.
- In your current position? Now my attire is dressy slacks, colorful/artsy tops, dresses with boots, fun jewelry and conversation pieces.
- How did your behavior change as you moved from one career or job position to the next?
- As a young woman? While I have always been assertive, as a young woman I might have been accused of being aggressive.
- Starting out professionally? This behavior continued to some extent as women were not recognized as being of great value in the 1980s and 1990s, so some bold behavior was sometimes necessary.
- In your current job position? Now I have the 24 hour rule. I let things gel for 24 hours before I react. Usually, issues resolve themselves and I don't have to act at all. I am confident in my position as a leader and have a wonderful group of people I work with who are my friends.
- Have you ever worn something on the job you later regretted?
- Yes, I had a black leather skirt back in the early 1990s that I wore for a while. I wouldn't be caught dead in it now.
- What is your "go-to" outfit, that wardrobe ensemble that empowers you no matter what the context from the moment you put it on?
- My go-to outfit is a pair of crepe black pants slim through the waist and hips, long and flared at the legs with a short or long-sleeved black knit turtleneck with fun and eye catching jewelry accents.
Jane with book, Work Smart
Jane Starts Branding
- When did you begin intentionally branding yourself?
- I am involved in so many things. I am part owner of PRISM Title and PRISM Consulting. I am an artist and an author as well as a mother and wife. You cannot have a disconnect when you fulfill multiple roles simultaneously. You have to be the same, consistent person in your thought, act, deed, and dress no matter where you are and who is around. This is the reason why I dress well even at the grocery store and am kind to everyone who works there. You just never know.
- In your opinion, what percentage of women use image/branding to their advantage? Why do you think this is?
- I would say about 25%. I don't think this has really caught on – branding in general eludes many business owners much less personal branding. I do think it is the wave of the future, though, and I am looking forward to it!
- What's your response to people who think that image shouldn't be important, that only the quality of their work matters?
- Oh no, I couldn't disagree more. It is the whole package. People are judgmental, period. They make assumptions from your hair to your shoes, to your grammar, to your posture, to the quality of your emails.
- When can you "break the rules" of clothing norms and wear whatever you want? Or can you?
- When I go home and slip into my Victoria Secret PINK lounging clothes and flip flops. If I neighbor happens by, at least the clothes are cute (and extremely comfortable).
- Are the rules for your dress more relaxed since you've achieved a level of success (perhaps you were more likely to wear a suit when you first began, but now don't feel the need?)
- Each day I dress for the occasion. If I am in the office all day, I will dress more casually than if I am going to an appointment or even out for lunch with a friend. Each day I make careful decisions how I will present myself for that day's appointments.
- How important is it to maintain a slim, trim figure? Would you be as successful a brand if you were overweight?
- I have actually achieved a point where I have what I consider to be the ideal weight for my age (46). I am not overweight or underweight. I do not wish to be either. I don't think you would be as successful of a brand not so much because of what others think, but because of what you think. If you think you are heavy, then you are heavy and therefore you beat yourself up and cannot be as successful as if you looked in the mirror each day and gave yourself a thumbs up!
- Your thoughts on balancing your position as female leader and a potential female sex object (How do you project "business" while inherently being an attractive woman?)
- I go back to the provocative clothing. Wearing plunging necklines, short skirts, or evening wear during the day could make people wonder. There are all kinds of beautiful feminine clothes that make you look like a leader yet accent the fact that you are a woman. It is a powerful thing.
- Looking around your work office (and how you've decorated it), what perceptions do you want visitors to form?
- I'm a productivity expert, so a clear, organized desk! Seriously, I am surrounded by a shelf that holds gifts I have been given, my favorite teas, my books, and family pictures. Usually one of my pieces of art sits on an easel. I imagine that these items reinforce my brand. People are curious about my essential oils though – they are called Abundance, Gratitude and Joy. I open the bottles and put a drop of each on my wrists each day.
Jane Talks Clothing & Shopping
Jane with niece Emma
- How often do you shop?
- I shop on line several times a week. I actually enter and shop stores with merchandise every other week.
- Do you frequent certain stores or websites?
- Yes, I am a loyal patron of White House, Black Market; Ann Taylor Loft; INC at Macy's; and CAbi clothes.
- What percentage of your budget is spent on clothing, grooming, accessories, etc.?
This could get me into trouble. I can't really say a percent, but suffice it to say that my closet(s) are busting at the seams, I have about 10 different shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, wrinkle creams – the latest infomercial best kept secret to looking young! As I've gotten older, I have more discretionary income and can afford more.
When I was a teenager, we had Suave shampoo in the shower. I asked my Mom for Redken which at the time was considered the best hair care product line. Mom said if I wanted Redkin, I'd have to earn my own money because her house stocked Suave.
I went out and got a part-time job the next day.
- If we walked into your closet right now, what would we find?
- About 10 pair of black slacks of varying shapes/sizes; same with black tops but maybe 20. Many pairs of shoes strewn about the floor; a lot of Coach knockoff purses and luggage from my trips to New York; clothing organized by slacks, dresses, tops and casual while allowing my husband's clothes to take up about a third of our walk-in.
- Do you prefer to wear solids and patterns? Is there such a thing as "too" much color or an inappropriate pattern?
- I like to wear patterns with solids, but I will wear solid on solid with the right accessories or a pattern with a pattern – I just know if it looks right or not. There is no such thing as too much color just like there is no problem wearing all black as long as it is broken up by accessories.
- Do you have a clothing mentor who influences your style (CEO, celebrity, political figure, etc.)?
- I would have to say no. Being an artist, I am rather trendy so my style changes each season. I do watch the trends in magazines and on television, but just glean and apply "on trend" to my own style.
- Please comment on your hairstyle. How does it serve you and your professional goals?
- My hairstyle now is good. It is not too short and not too long. It is manageable. I think it is part of my brand – it is an artful cut that complements my face type and personality.
- What piece of jewelry couldn't you live without?
- My diamond earrings. For some strange reason, my ears are allergic to any other earrings except these diamond earrings I received years ago. They stay in my ears 24/7, 365. When I get brave and deviate, my earlobes get angry.
- Have you ever worn accessories strategically?
- No. I wear glasses to drive but don't like how they look on me. Even if they made me appear "wise", I'd still not wear them deliberately. And because I am 46, there is no longer any doubt that I am "mature."
- How would you identify your style/clothing personality?
Jane with husband Greg
Jane Talks Success
- What's your definition of success?
- True success is not money, material accumulation, a title, or recognition. True success is peace and happiness. You can be the richest person in the world, but if you're working nights and weekends and don't have time to regularly participate in activities that make you happy, you are not successful. You are just rich.
- What's your recipe for success?
Be authentic, intend for great things to happen, don't listen to naysayers, set your sights on what you want, and go forward with passion and a sense that it already yours.
Roadblocks and obstacles are illusions. Never face reality unless reality is just as you want it to be (quote attributed to Abraham-Hicks). Don't wish your time away. Take away value from every experience. Treat others kindly always. If you're wrong, say so. If you're right, don't gloat.
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