From DC to VC, Janou spent much of her working life in public service before joining Lightspeed in 2017.
She began her career at the University of California’s Washington Center, and eventually moved to the Obama Administration as a Presidential Appointee at Department of the Interior, then the White House. There, she served as a senior legislative assistant and, later, associate director at the Office of Political Strategy.
Most recently, however, she was the deputy chief of staff to the CEO of the Obama Foundation—an apt jumping-off point for her move to Lightspeed, where she serves as the consumer team’s chief of staff.
“My background in the political world gives me unique insight into the behavioral side of consumer tech,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of time working on and figuring out how people make decisions, what influences their beliefs and opinions, and what motivates people to change a habit or behavior.”
Her responsibilities at Lightspeed are many, from conducting pre-meeting research and post-meeting follow-up to tracking industry trends and managing client relationships. It’s a welcome change, she says, after life in politics.
“I’ve always been interested in consumer tech, and VCs have a unique view of that landscape,” she says. “That’s something I was hungry to learn about after five years in DC.”
Outside of work, Janou teaches yoga. She says the best classes are those with participants of all strengths, skill levels, shapes, and sizes—not unlike the most successful working environments.
“I think a lot about the importance of cultivating a community with a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and experiences,” she says. “It helps bring out the most well-rounded perspectives.”