Janit Pike was born in New York and grew up just outside New York City. "It was a cool place to live," she says. "The music scene was hot and there was so much arts and theater to enjoy." One of her favorite memories was going into the city with her family to celebrate her 16th birthday. "My parents took me to dinner at Windows of the World then to see A Chorus Line. Afterward we went to Sardi's where all the stars would go. Elizabeth Taylor walked right in front of us. It was an amazing birthday."
After high school she married, went to work and started her family. While working full-time and with a baby at home, she also took on earning bachelor's and master's degrees in order to pursue her dream of working in the medical field.
She went to work for a hospital and was encouraged by the doctors there to either become a doctor herself, or to help them manage their businesses. With two young daughters at home, she decided medical school wasn't for her. Instead, she became an administrator, eventually overseeing an office filled with 90 doctors.
She was living in Michigan when her ex-husband was transferred to Charlotte. "The day we left Michigan I was in a big winter coat. When we landed in Charlotte it was sunny and 60 degrees in February and I knew this was the place for me," Janit says. "But I really found my home when I became the Chief Operating Officer for Charlotte Plastic Surgery." Janit just celebrated her 10th anniversary in her job, which she still loves because it's both serious and fun.
"I have the best group in Charlotte, if not the world, to work with," she says. "The doctors are so respected and we have a really good time because we all love what we do."
At this stage in her life she's most proud of her two daughters who are now grown and pursuing their own dreams of success. One is an architect; the other is an accounting and finance major in college.
"To get my degrees while I was working full-time meant I had to spend time away from them," Janit says. "They kid me about how when they were little they remember me carrying around my flash cards that I used to study. But I wanted them to see that you have to work hard to make your dreams come true. I also wanted them to become self-reliant, have great careers, take care of themselves financially and become strong women."
Janit kindly answered The O Report's questions including details about her favorite charitable causes, what she loves about this new chapter in her life and how she stays in shape.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
Maui. I love Kaanapali Beach and Lahaina. I need to go back to Paris and spend more time at the Louvre. I didn't have enough time to see all the amazing art, but I did get to see the Mona Lisa.
What are your must-have beauty products?
Latisse and mascara. As I get older, I noticed my lashes getting thinner and thinner. Latisse helps make them longer and thicker - and my mascara works a whole lot better. I cannot live without mascara.
What's your favorite flower?
I love tulips. They're one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. I loved seeing them pop through the bit of remaining snow on the ground when I lived in Michigan. Seeing the pretty colors gave me hope that winter was over. They make me smile when I see them.
What are some of your favorite books?
My favorite book is Eloise, about a precocious six-year-old girl who lives in the Plaza Hotel. I grew up outside New York City, and when I would go into the city with my family we would stop by the Plaza Hotel. There's a large picture of Eloise in the lobby. I have a picture of my two daughters in front of it when they were younger. My other favorite book is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I love it so much, but I discovered it was one of her least favorite books. She wrote it to pay the bills. As a divorced mother of two I completely respect that and it makes me appreciate it even more.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who have an energy and a passion for whatever they do. It's not necessarily the typical CEOs or celebrities who inspire me. It's people who chase their vision whether it's growing their business, helping the community, pursuing a passion or just taking a chance that inspires me and challenges me to learn from them.
What would others be surprised to know about you?
That I'm really shy and don't self-disclose well at all. Participating in this interview is completely outside my comfort zone.
Do you have any words that you live by?
I try hard to remember that all of us are trying to get through this life the best way we know how - to be there for our families, do well at work and pay the bills. I try not to judge others since I don't know what is going on in an individual's life at that particular moment.
Which rules do you suggest breaking?
As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, break them all!
What do you like to do in your downtime?
My favorite thing to do is to spend time on my boat with my family, friends and dogs. There's something about a day on the lake that completely relaxes me and changes my entire perspective for the better.
How do you like to get your day started?
I'd love to say something profound, but I really just want five more minutes of sleep. Just five.
What's in your glass during Happy Hour?
Either Chardonnay or tequila on the rocks with a twist of lime. I do love a good margarita, too.
What's the best business advice you've ever received?
The best advice I've received that's applicable in both my personal and professional life is this: Speak up for yourself and go after what you want.
How do you stay in shape?
I run - anything from a 5K to a half-marathon. I also like mud runs. I've even run an inflatable obstacle course with bubbles. It was a lot of fun!
What do you love about this stage of your life?
There is something wonderful about having my daughters grown and making their own way in life. I'm at a stage that I can do whatever I like, whenever I like. I am deliberately very choosy about whom I spend my time with and what I spend my time doing. There are so many things I can do and want to do - I can live anywhere, work anywhere and do anything. I'm excited for this next chapter.
What are your favorite charitable causes?
Anything to do with animals. I have a special place in my heart for N.C. Yorkie Rescue where I got my Daisy five years ago and Sammy a year ago. I've fostered several more dogs from them, too. And Richardson Rescue where we got my daughter's dog, Pants. I've also worked with Spay Neuter Charlotte. All these organizations are run by women who saw that in the U.S., millions of animals are killed needlessly so they stepped in to save as many lives as they can. They are an inspiration to me.
Do you have a great organizational timesaving tip that helps make your life run more smoothly?
I love to do lists on paper. There's something so fulfilling about crossing something off the list. Done!