The foundation president and woman-about-town is a fan of blazers.
No matter the event around town, Janelle Coleman always seems to be part of the crowd. Her professional style has been honed over a number of years, many of which have been spent as part of Columbus’ L Brands, where she started her career as a college intern. Eventually, she took on several other roles including at Ohio State University and in Cleveland’s municipal schools. In 2007 she returned to L Brands and today serves as vice president for community relations, as well as president of the L Brands Foundation.
In addition to your work, you serve on several boards including your role as vice chair of Ohio University’s Board of Trustees. How do you successfully juggle all of these responsibilities? Prioritization is key. I am passionate about my role at L Brands and my community commitments. It all matters, so I make it work.
Can you offer any wardrobe management tips for dressing quickly each morning in preparation for your busy schedule? I’m a big fan of blazers. A nice blazer can instantly pull together an outfit.
Does working in a fashion-oriented environment affect the way you think about your clothing? Yes, working in a fashion environment gives you the opportunity to play with looks that can be a bit more edgy, yet professional. It makes getting dressed for the office much more fun.
As president of the L Brands Foundation, you oversee the generous distribution of $20 million in local and international grants. That sounds like an awesome job. Share some of the challenges with us. The biggest challenge is knowing how great the need is, but understanding we can’t give to everything. We try and offset that by helping our associates connect through volunteer opportunities. There are so many great organizations in Central Ohio working to make our communities better.
Your favorite power suit? I actually don’t wear suits that much. However, I did buy a hounds-tooth pantsuit last year. It’s powerful.
Best clothing for travel—either by car or plane? Soft denim jeans, basic white tee and a blazer or sweater.
Favorite way to relax? I drag my husband [former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman] to the movie theater often. There is nothing like a good movie on the big screen. I also run. It helps to clear my mind.
Is there one tip that has positively affected your career? What was it and from whom did it come? “Give people grace. You never know what people are carrying with them or going through at any given time,” from Donna James.