New Member Blog – Janelle Bieler

New Member Blog – Janelle Bieler

Janelle Bieler is the new Western Division President for Employbridge, the largest staffing provider in the United States. Before this new position which she started at the beginning of May, she was President of Adecco, a company that provides first-class HR solutions. Janelle also sits on the board of ACSESS and is a mentor with the Exceptional Women’s Alliance. One way Janelle loves to spend her free time is by having movie nights with her husband and two daughters. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada, but will be moving soon to California. She has been a member of C200 since February 2023

Eva Glassman: First, would you like to introduce yourself and describe what you do?  

Janelle Bieler: Thank you Eva! I’m thrilled to announce that I have started a new role as the Western Division President for Employbridge, the largest staffing provider in the US. Many people ask what staffing firms do, and the simplest explanation is that we match great people with great jobs. I have been in this industry for the past 12 years, and I truly love the impact we make on people’s lives and our communities by giving the gift of employment.  

EG: What do you think is the most significant factor that’s led to the success of your career?  

JB: I believe in the power of “women empowering women,” and when I think about my career progression, it is a direct result of women who have taken the time to invest in doing that for me. I look back at the women throughout my career who have lifted me up by speaking my name in a room full of opportunities and helping me understand how to navigate the corporate world. Even how I came to be a member at C200 is an example of that! Joyce Russell has been with C200 for quite some time, and she was the one who brought me in and somebody that’s been super influential in my career in terms of helping lift me up.   

EG: That leads to my next question! Did you have any female mentors at the beginning of your career? What women have inspired you and why?  

JB: I’ve been fortunate to have had different female mentors at various stages of my career, but about six years ago was a pivotal time career-wise that led to connecting with some significant mentors. At that time, I was with Adecco and had gone to Joyce Russell, who was the top-ranking female leader in my work world as the President of our US business. I told her, “I’d like to continue moving forward in my career, and I want to understand how I can get involved with organizations that provide female mentorship. How can I find more women mentors like yourself?” Those questions and simply asking someone for help changed everything for me. Joyce pulled me into internal and external opportunities (including C200) to introduce me to people who would help me differently. I grew immensely from those connections and learned the benefit you gain from diversity of thought and experience when you have new people outside your internal company sphere of influence that offer different perspectives.   

One of those external connections was Larraine Segil, also a member of C200. Larraine started the Exceptional Women Alliance, a women’s mentorship collaborative, where I was introduced to formal mentorship. Larraine and my mentor Linda Lore have been instrumental in my success over the past six years. Lastly, another C200 International member (I’m starting to see a theme here!), Corinne Ripoche has been one of the most influential women in my career. I reported directly to Corinne for the past couple of years, and when I think back to the leaders who’ve challenged me the most, she’s one of them. She pushed me out of my comfort zone by pushing me to think differently, disrupt the norms, and think boldly. She left a lasting impression on my leadership style, teaching me how to truly transform business.   

EG: You’ve spoken about this a bit already, but what does being a “woman in business” mean to you, and how do you apply that thinking to your work as a corporate leader?  

JB: Something that I say quite a bit to women leaders both inside and outside my organization is not to get caught up in the idea of only moving UP the career ladder. Career ladders work both ways and while we should be focused on moving up, as women leaders, we also have a responsibility to reach back and ensure we are pulling people up along with us. I feel strongly about that and try to lead in a way where I’m doing concrete things to help mentor, guide, and pull women up alongside me. That applies to people within my direct reporting or even people that are outside my organization. I try to make sure that I’m available to mentor people who ask, offer advice, and be somebody who walks that talk as a female corporate leader.  

EG: Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?   

JB: I love that question! I have an amazing husband and two little girls, a ten-year-old and a six-year-old, that encompass my time outside of work. I love Peloton, I do that every morning for my own self-care and sanity, but my weekends are for family time. Whether that’s kids activities, dinner with my husband, or movie night at home, I try to really focus on family time on the weekends. Like many of our C200 women, I travel quite a bit for work, so I’m not always there for dinnertime, after-school things, or even school concerts, which makes Friday night to Monday morning critical family time.  

EG: Your daughters are at such a cute age!  

JB: My oldest daughter is turning ten at the end of May, and she really wanted to dye her hair, so I took her last weekend to get “mermaid hair,” so now she’s got purple, green, and blue hair. My parents never let me dye my hair, so with my daughter, I was thinking, “This is my moment to let them do it,” because it’s just hair, it will fade out! [laughs] I wish somebody had let me do it when I was young!  

It’s so cute to watch my girls; they love to get ready with me when I’m home, and I cherish those moments when they want me to braid their hair or pretend to put on makeup with me. It’s really fun to see my girls growing into confident and kind women. I love seeing the world through their eyes and being reminded of how being a working mom creates a strong female role model for both of them.   

EG: What is your advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs and leaders to advance their own careers?  

JB: Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask. I think one of the best things I’ve ever done was asking Joyce—I don’t even remember what the question was—but I basically said, “I want to be like you one day. What things can you tell me that I should be doing now in my career?” If I hadn’t asked that question, doors may not have opened. Sometimes we feel that we’re bothering somebody or not even sure of the question to ask. The more we can get comfortable with asking and talking to people, even just asking for advice and not being afraid to do that is essential. It starts a conversation, and you never know where it will lead; if you don’t start the conversation, you’re never going to find out what you missed. That is the advice I always give young women who ask what they can do – to start the conversation and not be afraid to ask questions and reach out. What’s the worst that someone’s going to say? “Oh, I don’t have time to mentor you or have coffee?” That’s ok! Somebody else will. Don’t be afraid to ask.  

EG: I completely agree. I always try and put myself out there. It’s so easy to think, “What if they say no?” But the flipside is just as true: “What if they say yes?” You won’t know until you ask.  

JB: And yet we don’t because we suffer from Imposter Syndrome – we all have it no matter what stage of our careers we’re in. I think it’s more prevalent when you’re young in your career because you’re so nervous to ask people for help or questions. Any time you can make somebody else feel comfortable when asking those questions is important, and it pays dividends for that person in the future that they get more comfortable in that space and even in themselves.   

EG: Imposter Syndrome has been more in the conversation over the past few years. It was only until a few years ago that I heard that term and thought, “Oh my god, that is my experience!” It’s been nice to see very honest discussions about it so publicly.   

JB: I think we’re doing a much better job now, too. I’ve been in the corporate world since graduating college, and the narrative has changed significantly in the last five to ten years. People are getting more comfortable with being vulnerable and talking about those things, and I don’t know if it was like that when I first started. People were more protected, and they didn’t talk about those struggles. So, I appreciate that change in conversation because it goes back to what I said before; the more we talk about things, the more we ask questions, and the more we realize that everybody goes through similar situations. You learn by talking about it and opening yourself up to conversation. I love to see that progression, and I hope we continue to see the shift toward being more upfront, honest, and vulnerable about what we’ve gone through, so it can empower other people.   

EG: Especially since the pandemic, I’ve really appreciated the shift in work culture to being more empathetic toward each other in these bureaucratic and corporate settings.  

JB: I agree. It makes people more authentic, too, because when we think about being on calls with people in lockdown and their kids and dogs are in the background, you get to know people differently. I feel like it made people open up more and start to be like, “Okay, well now, even if we’re going back to the office, how can I continue to have that sort of relationship with the people I work with?” That was a significant shift. We didn’t think that way before. It’s the silver lining, right?  

EG: What are you most excited about as a new C200 member?   

JB: There are so many things I’m excited about! I’m a bit of a fan girl with C200—I mean, look at this amazing group of women! They’re so accomplished, and I think there’s so much that I can learn from them. I really admire all the women here at C200, and I’m excited to start the conversation and get to know them, what made them successful, and learn from them. This is an amazing opportunity to get to know this sisterhood of women on a different level beyond someone I might admire from afar and follow on LinkedIn. I’m thrilled to be here!  

New Member Blog – Chantell Preston

New Member Blog – Chantell Preston

Chantell Preston is CEO of Facilities Management Group, a lead partner in Active Aging and Longevity I and II Fund from Portfolia, a venture partner for the Houston Mercury Fund, and owns a consulting firm called Preston Partners. She’s been named a Breakthrough Woman from Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2021 and as part of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Houston in March 2022. On top of her multi-faceted career and accolades, she enjoys coaching her daughters’ softball teams. She has been a C200 member since December 2022. 

Eva Glassman: Could you please introduce yourself and describe what you do?  Chantell Preston: I’m currently the Chief Executive Officer for Facilities Management Group. We own and operate different types of healthcare facilities throughout Texas, with our main focus being hospitals.   I’m also a lead partner in Active Aging and Longevity II Fund from Portfolia, which is a venture-based VC firm out of Silicon Valley. Our focus and mission are around teaching women how to invest and to invest in companies that we want to see in the world. 80% of decisions are made by the women of the family; therefore, we feel like we should have a voice regarding what companies are supported and what companies have opportunities. This will be our second fund for Active Aging and our thirteenth with Portfolia, which is, again, not only about investing in companies but also educating women on how to invest in the VC world. I think there’s this false perception is that women feel as though we must have a lot of money to invest in venture capital, but that’s not necessarily the case. Our minimum investment is $10,000, and the reason we do that is because it’s more of a learning tool for women. We want them to sit in on our pitch calls with potential companies and actively be a part of due diligence if they have an expertise that’s needed. It’s a different mindset on how to change the dynamics of investing.   I am also a venture partner for the Mercury Fund here in Houston. Oh, and I have my own consulting firm called Preston Partners! We offer coaching and strategic planning.  EG: What do you believe is the biggest factor that has led to the success of your career?  CP: The biggest factor has been confidence. I think sometimes women are our own worst enemies. We feel like we don’t deserve a spot at the table. Maybe in my earlier days I was more naïve than smart; I felt like I deserved to be everywhere that I was. I found a niche for myself very early on in my career. My forte is actually building different types of healthcare facilities—everything from full acute care hospitals to rehab. At my first job, I got in there and I wanted to learn every aspect of the business, so I was never pigeonholed in one area. I wanted to be somewhat diverse across the board, and it really paid off well for me. At 27, I went out on my own as a consultant building facilities for different clients, and then started our business Atlantic Health Group and ultimately Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation.   EG: Did you have any female mentors at the beginning of your career? What women have inspired you and why?  CP: In regard to mentors, I have a few mentors that, when I was really young, felt that I had the drive and ambition to really be successful. They took me under their wing—I was very eager, listening and absorbing information more than talking. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could. I had one mentor that took me on as I went out on my own. She was pretty brutal! She was very particular about how she wanted things done, when she wanted them done, and I think at the time it wasn’t that great, but as I look throughout my career, it probably built me into the person that I am now: resilient, a chameleon in different situations, knowing when to speak and when not to, but also possessing the ability to follow through and really understanding my own value. I think that was the most invaluable lesson I learned: never discounting the value of what I offered and what I brought to the table.   EG: Any other women that you can think of that have inspired you?  CP: You have folks that broke the glass ceiling. Judith Rodin is one of them; she was the first female president of an Ivy League school. Just being in her presence is amazing. I have been able to really learn from her and how she dealt with things which has helped me throughout my leadership journey. I can say I am a different leader today than I was probably ten years ago, so that’s age and just being wiser. I think having role models that had a different leadership style and being able to learn from them was important—Judith was one of those women for me.  EG: What does being a “woman in business” mean to you and how do you apply that thinking to your work as an entrepreneur?  CP: Great question. I think there’s a lot of pressure to being a woman in business. I think we have to work twice as hard to achieve the same successes. I was very fortunate to have business partners that never treated me as anything but an equal. However, when we went through the process of building a company called Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation and selling a private equity in 2015, it was a very eye-opening experience for me. I was the only female in the room, I was the youngest, they always spoke to my partner, and then he would look at me to answer the questions. It was a real eye-opening experience that probably not everyone was treated the same way that I was. However, I had blinders on because I was in my own world. After that, I made it my mission to help women really achieve their successes by building confidence, being an advocate, being a mentor. We all have our stories.  EG: Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?  CP: There’s a life outside of work? [laughs] No, just kidding. My family is very important to me. When I was building my business with Mentis, I sacrificed a lot of time with my daughter. Once we sold, I swore I would never do that again, realizing she was already five and I had missed out on a lot of very important events with her. It’s really about spending time with the family, spending time with my friends, having that balance. I think that makes me a better leader, person, and parent to have some things that I enjoy doing myself: I love to play golf, I love to collect wine, I love to network with other women. So again, those are some of the things that I really spend my time doing outside of work. I coach my daughters’ softball teams, and I love that because I want them to see that females can do anything that males do. I want them to never have those same challenges that we had when we were younger as they grow.   EG: What’s your advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs and leaders as they want to advance their own careers?  CP: Great question. Here’s the advice I wish I would have taken a long time ago: I think women are resistant to networking or asking for help. We want to come across like we’ve got everything under control at all times. Be vulnerable, ask for help, take help when it’s offered. Networking with other women is so important because we’re not going to get where we want to be unless we help each other. Men do it great! They all hang out on the golf course; they all do business deals together. Women are less likely to talk about business aspects when they get into certain situations, so I think it’s important for us to continue to network together, continue to get involved in organizations such as C200. I’m also part of WIPO. I think it’s very important to continue to network, build, and support each other in every aspect. I was a little late to the game; I didn’t network much in my younger days. I would encourage people to do that. Ask for help! People are willing to help if people ask.   Also, find your group that supports you and lifts you up. Find the folks that are like-minded, who are in the same positions as you’re in, and really depend on each other. Support each other. I have a set of friends that I love hanging out with that are in the neighborhood and then I have my business friends, because one may not understand what I’m going through like the other does. Find your tribe, find the folks that are going to be supportive of you.  EG: Last question! What are you most excited about as a new C200 member?  CP: The opportunity to continue to network with these amazing women! I hope to get, but I hope to give back at the same time. I love the fact that it’s all women and they’re like minded, on the same level as I am, we can have similar conversations, we’re all going through the same situations professionally and personally, it doesn’t matter what sector you’re in. I think it’s really the networking aspect with the other C200 members that excites me the most.  EG: Anything else you’d like to share?  CP: As you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about bringing women together. And I love it. Even people like yourself, you’re young, I could turn all these questions around and ask you! You guys are a different culture, a different generation. We were driven by money and titles, you guys are driven by purpose and helping. It’s so fascinating to watch and it’s made us better people at the end of the day. And I’m a lot of fun to work for. [laughs]   I’d love to talk about Mentis Neuro Rehab a bit more, because that’s kind of my big one, my claim to fame, taking a company from concept all the way to exit to private equity, the mid-market fund. That’s a pretty significant milestone—sometimes I devalue it a little bit, but there’s not a lot of women who have done that and it was an awesome experience. And I was only 41 years old!  
Can AI Help To Alleviate Supply Chain Pains?

Can AI Help To Alleviate Supply Chain Pains?

By Inna Kuznetsova, CEO of ToolsGroup; C200 Member since 2020.

C200 member Inna Kuznetsova has held a series of senior roles in SaaS and supply chain companies with a focus on growth and innovation. In her current role as CEO of ToolsGroup, she is focused on AI-powered solutions that will enable retailers, manufacturers, and distributors to navigate supply chain uncertainty.  

In her recent article for Forbes, Inna details the future of Inventory Management and ways in which AI is poised to take it to a new level by providing the data insight to analyze consumer trends and maintain optimal balances of inventory. 

 Read the full article here. 

Women Leaders: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

Women Leaders: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

By Chantell Preston, CEO of Facilities Management Group; C200 Member since 2023.

C200 member Chantell Preston has spent 20+ years in healthcare operations as an investor, advisor, and strategist. She has built and successfully exited several companies amidst predominantly male executive leadership. 

Chantell shares in this Forbes article how societal norms create a ‘catch-22’ for women as they make their way to the top, often turning women leaders into their own worst enemy. She describes her personal experience in trusting her instincts and leaning into her strengths to find balance and lead more authentically and effectively.  

Read the full article here. 

To Attract More Women In Tech, The Industry Needs To Change

To Attract More Women In Tech, The Industry Needs To Change

By Tanuja Randery, Managing Director of Amazon Web Services EMEA; C200 Member since 2021.

In her role as Managing Director of Amazon Web Services EMEA, C200 member Tanuja Randery reports that the number of women-in-tech industry events, affinity groups, and communities are on the rise—but there’s still more to be done. She shares several ways the tech industry can overcome the gender gap in this recent Forbes article.  

Read the full article here.