Janie Winston, UW Carbone Cancer Center

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Janie Winston, major gift officer, UW Carbone Cancer Center.

1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

I work with a lot of donors who are going through hard and personal life changing events. It can be emotional at times. I would lie if I said I don’t get emotionally attached. It is a gratifying job though. I am raising funds for cancer research and I get to see how it impacts our researchers right here at the UW and the effects it has on our very own patients. It is not uncommon for me to hear from a donor who was treated with us that the UW Carbone Cancer Center saved their life.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

Jenni Collins from the Madison Public Library. Jenni is a leader in the fund-raising community. She is one of the most successful people I know locally who has been able to raise over $20 million to improve wonderful services in our area. She is well connected, a hard worker, very social, and incredibly bright.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

Moving to Madison, I was really hoping to become a part of the University of Wisconsin. My parents went and met here, my sister went here, and my uncle worked here for 30 years. I wanted to be connected to this world-class institution. Being hired here and then promoted into my role doing major gift work has been so fulfilling. When my boss was able to identify that and give me that opportunity I was really flattered. It’s a huge honor to be trusted to make big asks.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

You cannot take things personally. If I took it personally every time I asked for something and got a “no,” I would not be successful in my job. You may be turned down, but it doesn’t mean it’s because of you. Hang up the phone and call the next person.

5. What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

Where do I start? I moved here because I consider myself an active person and I loved how many bike and running paths I saw when I visited. As I ran along John Nolen this morning in -4 degrees (on January 17), the bike counter said 38 bikes had already passed by and that is why I love Dane County!

It is so easy to get around, too. I have walked, run, biked, bussed, and driven to work. I have a co-worker who even cross-country skied here. If I had a boat I would do that, too, since my office building is right by the lake.

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6. Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I am a competitive runner and I run for the Movin’ Shoes Race Team. I’m the only athlete on the team who didn’t run in high school and college, but with help from my running coach I have mastered some pretty decent personal records for an almost 37 year old!

Prior to coming into work, I meet up with my running group and we do pretty hard runs such as speed work at the track, hill repeats, and lots of other running lingo that only running nerds know. When people see me at the office most don’t realize I have already put in anywhere from six to14 miles that morning.

7. What are your guilty pleasures?

I don’t tell a lot of people this, but I am really into the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo TV. I tell my husband it’s because my work is heavy and it’s nice to deflate and watch a few middle-aged women with a lot of plastic surgery yell at each other over something mundane.

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