2012 Influential Women in Business

Janet Olson

Janet Olson

Relationship Manager, Capital One Bank

During a childhood that carried her from Colorado to New Mexico to Oklahoma and finally to Louisiana, Janet Olson learned a bit about adjusting to new places and building new relationships.

Whether that was providence establishing her life journey or just happenstance doesn't matter now. What is important is that the longtime Capital Region resident is putting a lifetime worth of experience to good use in her professional and personal lives.

Olson is a relationship manager for Capital One Bank, a title that may seem ambiguous at first—until you hear her enthusiasm as she talks about the job and what it has meant to her.

“My job is to really understand my clients and what their needs and goals are,” Olson says. “I work with larger and middle-market companies, and I am what we call the quarterback on our team. My job is to get to know my clients, and then bring in specialists who provide advice and support for whatever they might need.

“I like to deal with the complexities of each customer individually, and then deal with the big picture and find ways to provide services to help them get where they want to go.”

In a sense, Olson becomes as intimately associated with a customer as a family doctor or attorney might be with a family. That means Olson, who moved to Baton Rouge from Birmingham 23 years ago, gets a front-row seat to the panorama of a business's growth and development because she is along for more than the ride, often playing a vital role in a company's evolution.

“It makes what I do a lot of fun because it gives you a good window into people's business and helps understand them and where they're going,” she says. “It allows you to share their successes and watch them grow.

“I'm proudest of the relationships I've built with my clients. Because when you're with them over the course of time, you're able to help them achieve their goals, and that's very satisfying.”

One trait that goes into Olson's aptitude at her job is the ability to work with each company on their terms. Yes, there are some guidelines and fundamental theories that apply to every business. But recognizing individuality is also essential.

She explains: “Every business owner or manager is unique, and it's understanding what they want and working from there—figuring out the best way to help them accomplish their goals—that goes into building a strong relationship.”

Olson is immersed in the Capital Region through her career, but her attachment to the community is an important lateral part of her life. She raised two children in Baton Rouge, which she said became home as soon as her family moved here and she began working for Hibernia Bank, which Capital One bought in 2005, in a role similar to her current job. “It became home, and when you find a place like that, you want to start giving back,” Olson says.

Through the years, she has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross and Pennington Healthy Systems, an organization Olson called one of Louisiana's brightest gems.

A strong belief in community involvement that Olson learned from her parents, George and the late Phoebe Olson, has inspired her, especially in the area of education. “I've always had a fundamental belief that education is a key to allowing people to make the best choices in their lives,” Olson says.

Olson perceives visionary dedication on the job at Capital One and through her volunteerism. At work, she has seen up close and personal the pride and dedication business owners have for Louisiana and making it a better place to live. And the community organizations in which she's involved share the same underlying collective goal.

“There's a lot of growth in Baton Rouge and a strong sense of community here,” she says. “I cross paths with a lot of my clients in community activities and it always makes me feel good to see a similar mind-set from people—that they want to do good things in this community and make it a better place to live.”

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