Could you please tell us a little about yourself – who you are and what you do professionally?
My name is Deanna Lane and I head up a firm called Fastlane Consulting Group our purpose is to energise your business, empower your staff and engage your clients. I started my business in 2007 after more than 10 years as head of business development and marketing with law and accounting firms. I was one of the first in the country to have this type of role in professional services marketing. It was a very new area for me as my background included Vogue (magazine) and working in advertising on the Chanel business. Now I do a lot of mentoring of young women and men, guiding them on their career paths. I use a behavioural profiling tool to understand who they are and what makes them tick. I have a philosophy that “what makes people tick will make you money, what ticks them off will cost you money”. So I work with clients on both.
How do you manage your work life balance?
I approach home and work and everything I do with the same energy, so I generally don’t have a lot of quiet or down time. I’m always busy making or creating something. I think one of the things people say about me is that I know how to do but I’m not so good at how to be. It’s one of the things I’m striving for so my focus next year is to plan holidays and relaxation time.
Who inspires you the most in your life?
Many people have. One of those people was head of Chanel when I was working on the launch of Coco Chanel, the perfume. It was the first perfume to be launched outside of Europe after the death of Coco Chanel and it was a major project. I also admire people who are out there achieving, doing things that they love. You know who else inspires me is my brother. He is an amazing jeweller. I’m wearing all of his jewellery pieces now. I think it’s great how he carves out time to take his family on holidays and to have weekends away and still bring out new collections throughout the year. He inspires me as do my other brothers and sisters. They are intelligent and hard-working people and they just achieve.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always envy people who always seemed to know what they wanted to do as a career. I do remember at school somebody asking me “in your career what do you want to be when you grow up?” and I knew that I wanted to work with the United Nations. I wanted to be doing communication strategies for people who were brokering treaties and agreements between countries, I don’t know where it came from but that was my big goal.
Where was your education?
It was non-traditional. It was more through my work with major international companies and they would have corporate universities delivering situational leadership and executive education programs including part of an Executive MBA program that I participated in at one of the law firms where I was working. I feel that the school of life, my career experience and all those great programs I was sent to internationally have given me a very solid and valuable education.
Professionally, what’s your proudest moment?
I mentored Hugh Jackman for 18 months when he did an internship at an advertising agency and he wrote me a personal thank you letter which I now have framed. This was before he even started his acting career, because at the very end (of the letter) he wrote: “I’ll see you at West Side Story”. In his note, he commented that he appreciated that I “pushed him to do his best as well as looking out for him and maintaining an interest in his studies”. I felt I had make a difference in someone else’s life at a point when he was being torn between, do I continue on my studies or do I get experience in advertising or do I follow my path with acting?… that’s one of my proudest moments professionally.
What kind of advice would you give our SheBrisbane readers?
The number one piece of advice is to have that energy and enthusiasm because people love it when you have empathy, when you are excited or when you are enthusiastic. When I started my first company I framed a quote by American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. It says “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”, and that’s been my motto since day one. A qualification is fantastic, it shows that you have discipline, it shows that you put in the work but the willingness and the energy and good communication skills, that’s what employers and clients want. If you have those qualities, people will choose you, they will promote you, engage you, they will put you on a committee or a board and, they’ll get you to speak at conferences and meetings. The number one tip is to really make sure that you are energised!
SheBrisbane is very excited to announce that Deanna will be coming on board as a columnist next week! Look out for her column CHANGING LANES WITH DEANNA, a column designed for women who want to accelerate their business or career and get into the fast lane, those who are seeking to change lanes… and the entrepreneurs and innovators who want to create their own lane. Each article will contain tips on letting go of what holds you back, how to power up your ambition and play to your strengths.