THEN AND NOW: JAN SWIFT
Jan 18, 2018 09:53AM
● By Caitlin Marshall
When Jan Swift graced the cover of FACE, it was the summer of 2013. She was heavily involved in multiple community projects, working as an attorney, hosting a local community television show, and the Executive Director for Upper Lafayette.
In 2015, Jan made a run for the Louisiana House of Representatives seat but realized sometime during the campaign that she wasn’t made for the world of politics. Although serving as a deputy secretary of state, working as a city-parish attorney, and lobbying, Jan found that politics were not her destined career.
“I know how things work, drafting laws, drafting ordinances, but I’m not a politician,” she concluded.
Despite not obtaining the seat, Jan said she felt like the reason she had a good voting turnout was that her intentions to better Lafayette were obvious, and of course, those intentions are still relevant today.
Since that time Jan has chosen to make a few changes in her life—but that doesn’t mean she’s slowing down.
After nearly a decade with Upper Lafayette, Jan felt as though her heart was being pulled in another direction, so near the end of 2016 she stepped down from the Executive Directors position to pursue other community-related projects.
Within a short period of time, she was full speed ahead with her newest project “Discover Lafayette”, a podcast dedicated to the people, places, and culture of Lafayette, the gateway to South Louisiana and the region we call Acadiana.
Discover Lafayette focuses on the warm joie de vivre or “joy of living” exemplified by our people, the delicious food, and the cultural traditions passed down generation after generation, and the creative spirit of Lafayette. Our community values family and is a compelling reason so many are proud to call Lafayette home.
“It’s a passion that I have to promote the people and the unique culture of it, not just Lafayette,” Jan said. “But I call it the gateway to South Louisiana, so Lafayette as the gateway to South Louisiana.”
“When you really love something, you polish it up, you present it in the best light whether it’s your family, your business, your car,” Jan began. “My goal is to shine a light on our wonderful culture and people.”
To date, shes recorded some 25 or so episodes, with each episode featuring someone prevalent in the Lafayette community. Some of her more recent guests include Charlie Goodson of Charlie G’s & Social Southern Table, Pastor Jay Miller of The Family Church, State Representative Nancy Landry, and Lynn Guidry Architect and Historian of Lafayette.
Unlike live news or live radio, podcasts allow listeners to go back at any time and listen to an older episode, something Jan finds very important because it doesn’t limit the listeners. It also doesn’t hinder episode length, allowing Jan and her guests more time to share their stories. Her hope is that along with locals, tourist and people thinking about moving to the area will listen and learn what Lafayette and Acadiana have to offer.
Discover Lafayette can be found on her website www.discoverlafayette.net, Blubrry, Google Play, iTunes, and most other media sources that host podcasts.
For Jan, creating Discover Lafayette was challenging, but now as difficult as anticipated. After trying different online platforms, she found a website host that met her needs and with an underwriting sponsorship from Lafayette Convention and Visitors’ Commission she was up and running.
She hopes to eventually get on a local speaking circuit to educate and enlighten people about the many wonderful things Lafayette and Acadiana have to offer. “I’m doing it for me; it’s my passion,” she states. “I think you have to follow what drives you inside. It tugs at my heart, and I also want to keep on growing.”
“I’m 60 now, this is a place I never thought I’d be and I’m having so much fun,” she admitted. “It’s really a cool project and it’s all about the people I interview. That’s why I can brag about it so comfortably—because it’s not about me; it’s about ‘let me just relax and let’s have a good time with the interviews.’”
Thus far, she’s received lots of positive feedback and praise for her Discover Lafayette’s podcasts and will soon begin a regular column in FACE Magazine recapping and promoting her new platform and podcasts.
Jan said she is looking forward to this decade of her life and considers herself a very happy woman who has grown a lot over the years.
“I’ve had a real shift in awareness, and part of that has come about through slowing down and trying to focus on just “being” rather than doing,” she stated. “I’m still getting things done, but I don’t feel the drive that I had as far as pushing to get things done by being more present every day. I’m actually getting more done that means a lot to me. (I’m) more effective in my actions and not as busy, and it’s a pretty good place to be.”
If you know Jan personally, then you know she is one of the most genuine and sincere people you’ll ever meet. Her talents and vast work experience along with her passion for life make her a person to keep an eye on in the future, as there’s no telling where and what she’ll do next, but chances are no matter what, it will be community-related and involve helping others.
Read Jan's original cover story at https://issuu.com/FACEACADIANA/docs/face_june2013_issuu