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Putting others at ease: "when you get your mind off yourself, suddenly you realize you're having a blast".

This issue we hear from Janelle Schulenberg, vice president of strategic marketing at Tacet Resources in Rogers, Minnesota.

What historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Mata Hari. In communication, you must put yourself in the position of both the communicator and the recipient. Whether that is a corporation and its customers or a client and the media, you are an agent of both.

Which word or phrase do you think is overused right now?

"Outside the box." It's so overused now that the phrase itself has become inside the box!

How would you explain your profession to a child?

I help companies figure out what they want to be when they grow up and how to get there.

What did you have to learn the hard way?

That not everyone is a person of his or her word. Inspect what you expect, because people who deliver as promised are woefully rare.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

My interests are broad and varied--everything from opera to hunting--but to achieve excellence in another field also requires sacrifice. I'd like to be an architect, but I don't want to take physics courses. I want my pilot's license, but ironically I would have to stop traveling to complete the class work. Music and sports are great loves, but to be a professional you must surrender your anonymity. Since communication is the only field for which I was willing to pay my dues, I plan to maximize my contribution to it and then dabble in everything else.

What movie character would you like to portray and why?

Any Doris Day role. I'm enthralled with her ability to portray intelligent, independent, self-confident and strong-willed characters without losing her femininity. It's a delicate balance that I strive toward. Plus, she has the powerful singing voice and looks to boot!

Is there a book that changed your perspective on life?

Personality Plus: How to Under stand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer. There are many books about personality profiling and a multitude of tools out there to identify your style, temperament and tendencies. My critique of most of them is that they let you sit in your own definition, as if to say, "This is who I am so deal with it!" Rather than place you in a defined compartment, this book supports your evolution. It taught me a great deal of tolerance and understanding at a point when I was coming into my first senior leadership position.

What's the best reward for a job well done?

I'm a big believer in time away. Go recharge your battery, clear your head, and come back well rested, with a fresh perspective.

What is your personal motto?

"It's not about me." That's not to be cute or trite--I mean it in the broadest sense. I once heard Bill George, the former chairman of Medtronic, give a speech that essentially said that shareholder value is the result of putting customers first, employees second and community third. If you don't have the spine to tell shareholders that they are fourth, you have no business being in a leadership position. The same is true in your personal life: Richness of life comes from putting family, friends and community first. It's also a great way to overcome shyness or anxiety. Think of how to put others at ease or make their day better for having come in contact with you, and there is less time to focus on your own uneasiness. Imagine yourself at a social or business event. Instead of worrying about your attire, having a good time or getting leads, try to compliment someone else's attire, make sure they have a good time and provide leads. When you get your mind off yourself, suddenly you realize you're having a blast and building key relationships.

what's your personality?

Download and complete our questionnaire at /cw/personality, and you could be featured in a future issue of CW.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:personality; Tacet Resources' Janelle Schulenberg
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Previous Article:The meaning is in the details: sometimes, it's the little things in photographs that have the biggest impact.
Next Article:The time is now.

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