A lifelong learner, Redwine is taking lessons from the Olympics to Daniels

When it comes to sharing fun facts for icebreakers, most people dish details about a favorite trip they went on, a famous person they met at a restaurant or an unexpected language they speak.

Janet Redwine’s fun fact would likely trump yours in “coolness,” but she doesn’t really talk about it much. Unless you look closely at the five intertwined rings on her necklace, you might not realize the newly promoted director of program success for Executive Education at the Daniels College of Business is an Olympian.

“It’s really hard for me, because how do you just say that? ‘Hi, I’m Janet and I’m also an Olympian,’” she wondered aloud, grinning. “I don’t really talk about it.”

Her Olympic accomplishments are well-documented. As a member of the U.S. Olympic Artistic Swimming team (formerly known as synchronized swimming), Redwine earned fifth place at the 2008 Beijing games. But more than the exposure and honors, she learned something crucial about herself.

“I don’t think I even realized how many skills and traits I developed throughout that whole experience,” she said. “When I retired from swimming, I focused on the fact that I didn’t have any job experience. But I knew how to work hard, how to collaborate, how to problem solve and how to inspire. It’s taken me a while to realize how valuable those skills are.”

Janet Redwine at Olympics opening ceremony

2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Photo courtesy Janet Redwine.

Unlike the choreographed moves in the pool, she’s had to search for what’s next, following a guiding light to education.

After studying history at Santa Clara University and dabbling in teaching at the end of her undergraduate experience, Redwine put everything on pause for her Olympic chase. When that ceased, reality crept in.

“Oh yeah, now I need to find a job,” she remembered thinking. So, she’d return to California to try her hand as a teaching assistant across various levels of schooling.

But when the time came to become certified as a teacher in California, Redwine paused, realizing Colorado was calling her home.

With a unique path through the highest level of athletics serving as her entry into the workforce, Redwine hoped her career would present itself much like when King Arthur removed the sword from the stone. Unfortunately, she’d have to find her path through trial and error, rather than movie magic.

In 2012, she landed at the Young Americans Center for Financial Education in Denver, leading programs for the financial literacy organization. She’d develop lessons in financial education for more than 60,000 youths every year, teaching them personal finance, global economics and entrepreneurship. It was teaching, just not in the traditional classroom setting.

As her own children required more of her time and attention, Redwine stepped back from programs and took new, more flexible roles in fundraising, communications and marketing at the Center. With that diverse background that mixed education and promotion, Redwine proved an ideal fit for a role in Executive Education when she came to the College in 2021.

But her understanding of Executive Education was admittedly limited at that point.

“Even when I applied for the job here, I said ‘I don’t really know what this is,’’ she said. “I didn’t even know this world existed.”

Janet Redwine

Since then, Redwine has learned quite a bit about the department, which provides transformational leadership and business programs for both individuals and organizations. Through her experience at the College, Redwine has become a big fan of adult education and is continuing her own academic journey to explore more.

“There’s a lot of work that has been done on how children learn, but much less so on how adults learn,” Redwine added.

In the fall, she’ll be pursuing a curriculum and instruction master’s program at the Morgridge College of Education. As a lifelong learner, she’s hungry to grow her own skillset and translate that to Executive Education’s offerings.

When she’s not in her office in the Joy Burns Center, Redwine can be found shuttling her daughters to their busy summer schedules, including their own swim teams. While you may think they have big shoes to fill, Redwine downplays her Olympic honors and shifts the focus elsewhere.

“The idea that being an Olympian is the epitome of working all this time and then getting there, when I look at that time, it was not all about the Olympics,” she said. “It really is about the journey.”