A new face: Janette Jackson appointed director of Minority and Women Business Development in Lawrence


Janette Jackson may be a familiar face around the City of Lawrence, but her responsibilities have increased, and residents and business owners will see her in a new capacity.
Jackson, who also is the Lawrence’s human resources director, was recently named director of Minority and Women Business Development, an appointed position by Mayor Steve Collier.

In March, Collier signed an executive order to create the office of Minority and Women Busines Development. In 2017, the Lawrence Common Council established an order to promote minority business enterprises, also knowns as XBEs. XBEs include minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses and disability-owned business

Jackson was appointed to her position Aug. 18.

“It’s a whole new world,” said Jackson, who now performs two roles for the city. “My main objective right now is really having an opportunity presented to businesses and organizations within the XBE to allow them to possibly bid on contracts and any type of work being done here at the city.”

Jackson, an Indianapolis resident, will work directly with the redevelopment commission to discuss ways of notifying minority businesses of upcoming projects in the city.

“We also will be directing them how to bid for those projects, and we just want to encourage them and make sure we are having individuals and businesses who have an XBE participate and know how to bid,” Jackson said. “That’s one of the biggest things I want to be able to help with. A lot of people think their business is not large enough, but because we do want to focus on XBEs, some things may change.”

Jackson plans to meet with the redevelopment commission to find ways to create opportunities for XBEs.

Of all the contractors that worked on the Lawrence Police Station, completed at the end of 2019, more than 20 percent were XBEs.

Jackson said the average percentage of XBEs on all projects throughout the city hasn’t been documented, but that giving those businesses an opportunity is now a focus for the city.

“The biggest thing is building partnerships and seeing how we can help those businesses and organizations. We might do some type of seminar for people to know how to bid, because companies on the smaller side may not know that process and what it looks like,” Jackson said. “Overall, Lawrence is a diverse community, so it’s important, specifically, for the mayor to make sure we are providing diversity for people who are building and help creating projects within the City of Lawrence. We want people on the job sites to look like the city. Of course, we understand that may not happen with every project, but we want to give opportunities to those smaller businesses and any of those XBEs.”

Jackson grew up in Lawrence and graduated from Lawrence Central High School. Her parents live in Lawrence, and she has watched the city grow during the past 20 years.

“I’m very proud of the progress Lawrence has made and the direction they are moving in terms of developments and creating opportunities for businesses,” she said.

Outside of work

Janette Jackson and her daughter Nyomi like to volunteer together. (Submitted photo)

Although Janette Jackson lives in Indianapolis just outside of Lawrence, she spends much of her time in Lawrence. She works is the city’s human resources director and was recently appointed as the city’s director of Minority and Women Business Development, but she spends her free time in Lawrence, too.

Some of her favorite things to do include visiting Fort Benjamin Harrison and dining at Lawrence-based restaurants like La Hacienda and Phaya Thai Street Food.

She also has an appreciation for Lawrence organizations such as Ivy Tech.

“I love Ivy Tech being right next door, and just seeing how much expansion is taking place is great,” she said. “It’s a great place to explore the different restaurants and seeing new manufacturers and places for businesses to grow.”

Jackson likes to ride bikes with her 9-year-old daughter, Nyomi, and she loves music. She also serves as a mentor with P.E.A.R.L.S. Mentoring for Girls and is the chaplain for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Chi Chi Omega Chapter.


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