Janet Gray is a woman who does so much for those in her life, and in her community. She is always ready to lend a hand, be a support, or volunteer her time to make a difference in the lives of others. She is honest, trustworthy and a great friend to those who are lucky enough to call her one. She is this week’s Woman of the Week.
Tell us a little about yourself.
First part of childhood was Air Force brat (born in Germany) and then came to Ottawa where I attended high school and university. Met my husband on a blind date and he’s still the one! No children of my own but many nieces, nephews and godkids- and cats!
Started with SDM in high school, rose to management – then left to work with Revlon as a regional manager for 10 years. Joined the financial services world 15 years ago when I became a Certified Financial Planner, and am currently with Money Coaches Canada as a money coach and fee for service financial planner. I am a big reader- I always have my nose in some reading material. Love to travel- looking forward to a trip to London, UK later this year. I love giving back to the community I live in and love. I have been a board member on a resource centre, a chamber of commerce, a women’s business group, a community festival, and most recently as the Chair of CARP Ottawa (past 7 years). Volunteers give so much – but we also get so much back.
Who inspires you in your life? Who do you look up to? And why?
I love that I have had so many strong women in my life, either family or friends (the village of Janet). It truly lifts me up and motivates me to do better. My maternal grandmother became a school teacher in 1921 and was a smart cookie until she died in 2001 at age 97. I miss her a lot. My mom, now 85, has been a huge influence and is enjoying a healthy (touch wood) and happy retirement that I hope to copy.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your life? What did you do to move through them? What did you learn? What do you wish to share with others?
I have to humbly say that I can’t think of big challenges that I have had to overcome. Not in relation to what so many others have. My parents’ divorce, although terrible at the time for a kid, brought me to Ottawa where I met my husband. The death of my grandmother, father, stepfather, stepsister were very sad- and I got through it remembering what brilliance they had in their lives and the love they shared with me. Job losses seem like a small bump on the road in hindsight. I have been so blessed. I guess I would say that challenges always look insurmountable when you are in it. But once you are out of the valley of chaos, things can and often do look better with time. And yes, you can tell that I am ever the optimist.
What are you most proud of?
My circle of family and friends. I tend it like a garden (lesson from my mom) and remember that I get back more than I give.
What do you want your older self to know
Live each day with no regrets, plan for a realistic future, be gracious and kind, cherish old friends and gather new friends, always be curious and flexible and ready to learn, look after your health.