Janet Mayfield is The Sentinel’s General Manager and the smiliest person on site. When she’s not running the whole show, she spends time with her husband Randy and their plethora of ridiculous pets. Read on to learn about her favourite Sentinel projects, and more about our collective evolution toward Sentinel 2.0.
Lina: Hi Janet! So lovely to see you in person here in beautiful Kaslo. What’s today looking like for you?
Janet: Hi Lina! Well, the good news is today is super sunny, life is beautiful, and I get to hang out with you! I’ll start with just that.
Lina: Are you heading to the Sentinel today?
Janet: Yes, I’ll head over there as soon as you and I are finished talking.
Lina: So what is a typical day like for you at the Sentinel?
Janet: Well, it’s one of the best places to work in the world. It’s one of the most welcoming and personally transformative places to work on the planet. A typical day for me involves, obviously, the basics — checking email, responding to any inquiries and questions from potential guests. Since we’re a retreat centre, we also do bookings for small group gatherings, and I’m the person who helps book all those kinds of events. Because of COVID, we’ve put in strict regulations and a safety plan, so we’ve been able to, to the best of our ability and when appropriate, stay open!
Lina: Sounds like it’s a busy day for you. Are your days at the Sentinel as GM always this hectic?
Janet: I won’t say always hectic, but I would say always always busy, very interesting, and very diverse!
Lina: Nice! Well I, and many others, consider you to be the glue that holds The Sentinel together. Really, nothing would get done without you, Janet! You are our true MVP —however, that must get a bit heavy from time to time. What do you do to relax and come back to yourself after a busy day like today?
Janet: Well, first of all, thank you! That is very generous. Gosh, when I get home, I really have this simple nice life. I come home to my husband Randy, who also works with The Sentinel. We have two ridiculous cats, and two even more ridiculous dogs. Honestly these days they pretty much are my life. I come home, we make food, we hang out, and with the pretty Spring weather we go outside more and more, and hang out in our little yard.
Lina: Sure sounds like not only the simple life, but the dream life as well. Working at The Sentinel as GM, what is your favourite part of the job?
Janet: Oh, without question, the people! The people that dreamed up the Sentinel — Richard and Gillian — the people I get to work with, all of my colleagues, and then the funnest part are the guests! I quite often meet them via email or text or phone, and from that moment we start to build a relationship. It’s like organizing a party, and not knowing the guests until they arrive. The people that come to the Sentinel are remarkable.
Lina: That’s what Dustin said, too! It’s true, I’ve seen it myself. I’m not always on site, but we definitely have this attraction to very particular characters. I love working in that alternative sphere. So, The Sentinel is continuously evolving, growing and metamorphosing. Which is funny because that is what our clients and visitors also experience when they stay here! How do you foresee your role as GM evolving as we move toward new initiatives, such as Sentinel 2.0 and the Virtual Sentinel?
Janet: I think in a lot of ways it will remain the same, interestingly enough. I mean, the role of the GM is to do my best to keep an eye on everything and work with all the teams. I’m getting a lot better at delegating things over to other people, because every single person on our team is qualified and capable. That’s a new layer for me — to establish what I am happy and passionate about doing, and to really start streamlining my day and having other people help me. So, as we add new pieces to the Sentinel, regardless of what they are, that’s really what will change for me. I’ll continue to help elevate everyone else.
Lina: And you do, every single day. We’re so lucky to have you here holding down the fort as we traverse into these new initiatives. So you’ve been at The Sentinel for how long now?
Janet: It will be two years as of May 15th.
Lina: I imagine you’ve seen a lot of change happen in that time. I’m wondering if you’ve seen any change within yourself, and if you’ve had any especially profound moments from your time here you would like to share.
Janet: Yes! If someone asked me what my favourite project was in the past year, I would start with me. I’ve been my favourite project. Because of the very fortunate position I find myself in, surrounded by the people I get to work with, every single day is an opportunity to look at any patterns that no longer serve me. That can be anything from ancestral adventures to personal things that occurred when I was younger. All of that has really come to the fore for me at The Sentinel in this last year, because as I’ve said, I’ve found myself in this super safe environment to explore how best to transform myself.
Lina: It’s amazing that the work that occurs at the Sentinel translates to the whole community. It’s not just for the clients, it’s inherent to the space — it creates that container for us to grow inside. No matter who you are, whether you’re an employee or a visitor. Even my mom and sister, when they came to visit, they were glowing! My last question for you is, what are you most excited to see happen at the Sentinel as we move into new and uncharted territories?
Janet: I’ll start with the Virtual Sentinel, just because I’m married to Randy and he’s really helped spearhead taking transformative products and people to our website — and through it, to the world. I think it will be a very viable and sustainable revenue stream for us in a very diversified way, because the people and products appearing first in our Virtual Sentinel store — there will certainly be many others, the Virtual Sentinel will continue to grow — I find all our early offerings to be very accessible and interesting, and can lead into what we’re all interested in, which is transformation. When it comes to Sentinel 2.0, that in my world gives us a chance to spread out a little bit. We do a lot of work with a small team now, and so when you add to a place physically, it allows us to add to everything that we do. So, in that I think it will provide us with more privacy — because The Sentinel right now is a fairly open and public place. With some additional rooms, rooms created in the way these are going to be created, it will attract people who really want to feel like a part of our community, and contribute in a deeper way.
Lina: It’s so fun to bring new people in, and to watch the family grow. Also the Virtual Sentinel is this amazing new creative project for us to do! It’s a nice break in the routine, from the standard operation. It’s going to allow us to really use our skills and talents in new ways — and allow us to share creativity and inspiration with people who will never have a chance to physically visit us. I hope you’re as excited as I am! I’m going to miss you a lot when I move. Please stay in touch, and speaking of visiting, I’ll be coming back to see you for sure!
Janet: Thanks, Lina. We’re going to miss you too.