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Alumni Stories

Janaye Steadman Lakey

Janaye Steadman Lakey portrait

Growing up, Janaye Steadman Lakey wanted to be a professional ballerina. Since deciding not to pursue that path, her career has taken some interesting turns. She recently spoke with us about how her experience at Ensign College set her up for success all along the way.

Tell us a little about your career—how you got started and where you are now.

During my time at Ensign College, I started my first official business, Crock Pot Express, as part of one of my entrepreneurship classes. I made and sold frozen slow cooker meals before large companies did this. I ran this company for almost a year, during which time I graduated and decided I wanted to serve a full-time mission. I closed the business to serve.

After returning home, I attended BYU to complete my bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial management. I partnered with my cousin to start Markit23, a social media marketing business. It was a great time to be in the social media game. Established businesses and startups alike needed help keeping up with the ever-changing environment, which was also vital to their marketing strategy.

Janaye Steadman Lakey graduating

Building that business was a wonderful learning experience and helped me support our household while my husband finished school. After 5 years, my partner needed to exit the business, and I was given an opportunity to join the founding team of YESCO Business Coaching. Since building and administering a business coaching program had been my dream for a while, I decided to take the opportunity.

Becoming a part of this team has been extremely rewarding. I have been an integral part of building three of our programs and worked directly on the marketing and structure of our business. My professional journey has been one filled with twists and turns, but I have felt guided by Heavenly Father. I am grateful to be where I am now and for all the learning experiences along the way.

Talk about what drew you to Ensign College. Were there lessons learned then that continue to resonate with you now? Did you start out interested in starting a business?

Attending college had been something I wanted to do since I was young. During my senior year of high school, one of my most respected mentors strongly recommended that I visit Ensign College (then LDS Business College) and investigate the entrepreneurship program. At the time, I was also pursuing the possibility of dancing professionally. Ensign College was recommended to me because I was interested in forming a dance company.

I remember being so impressed by the feeling of the school the moment I walked through the door. Ultimately, I felt inspired to pursue a degree at Ensign College in Entrepreneurship and not continue the path to a professional career in ballet.

Starting “businesses” was something I had done since I was little - at a young age, I started a gift-wrapping service at Christmas time. I ran this little operation several years and came up with a few others.

Janaye Steadman Lakey snowboarding

My interest and understanding of business grew at Ensign. I also became very involved in student life. I joined the DECA team, won an award at the state competition, participated in student leadership, and worked as a recruiter for one fall. I loved my classes and instructors. I gained so much confidence through my experiences and learned in a deeper way what it meant to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ in all aspects of my life.

I learned that it is important to counsel with trusted family and mentors, investigate your options, then make a decision and ask the Lord if it is the right one. That is a lesson that has blessed me throughout my life, as I have applied it over and over again.

Another important life lesson I learned during my time at Ensign College was to work hard for what I want. Some classes were challenging. But with persistence and faith, I graduated with honors and was even asked to speak at our graduation ceremony. These moments helped me understand that when I give my all and rely on the Lord to make up the difference, I can accomplish my goals.

What has been the most impactful moment in your career that has defined your professional journey, and how has it shaped the way you view your work and goals?

One experience that started me on the path I am on now was in my very first class at Ensign. I took Entrepreneurship 101 with Brother Little. The way he approached teaching (and life, for that matter) was different, and I liked it. He made me feel like I could do anything I set my mind to. He helped me start to think outside of the box about business. He integrated the gospel seamlessly into our learning. His teachings still come back to me when I work and help me make business decisions.

Another defining time for me was when I had to make the decision to exit my company, Markit23. There was a mental battle to be fought to move from being an “entrepreneur” to an “interpreneur.” There were many reasons I decided to make the change. Still, a significant factor was believing that joining YESCO Business Coaching would give me the ability to do work that I feel is incredibly important.

The most important goal in my career is to feel like I am making a difference. Working with various business owners and managers in my current role has accomplished that goal for me, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to that point so early in my career.

Janaye Steadman Lakey Team pic.jpg

If you had an internship as part of your undergraduate experience, talk about any tangible benefits you received that equipped you for your career.

My internship at Ensign College was working as a recruiter. I would attend college fairs at high schools throughout Utah and a few in Idaho and pitch the school to prospective students. This internship moved me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I applied many skills I had been learning in my school classes- from presentation to sales skills. This real-world application has served me well in many aspects of my career - from selling my own offerings to networking with other business professionals.

How prepared are Ensign College students for the rigors of the workplace? Can you share some career advice to inspire students to pursue their professional passions?

Janaye Steadman Lakey rock climbing

I have a very special place in my heart for Ensign College. I am so grateful that I took full advantage of my time there as a student. One reason I feel so strongly about the college is that there is such a focus on helping prepare students for the “real world” - significantly different than most schools in my experience. If a student has really applied themselves at Ensign, they will be more than ready to contribute to any workplace.

My advice to students would be to explore your options. If you aren’t sure what you want to do professionally, then there is no better place to be than Ensign College. Take a class in a variety of disciplines. You might be surprised at which one you enjoy most. I was shocked when I loved my accounting classes. The skills I learned still help me. So don’t be afraid to try a wide variety of classes, especially when you are first starting school.

Apply yourself to your studies and apply what you learn in real life whenever possible. Most importantly, remember that Heaven wants you to succeed. Look to the Lord for guidance and strive to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in all things.


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