Keep up to date on all the great events, grand openings, and parties in Fort Lauderdale with our weekly newsletter.
Jane Bolin, a local attorney and strongwoman title-holder, knows the meaning of the saying, “work hard, play hard.”
You have to be impressed with Jane Bolin’s versatility. A lawyer and entrepreneurial whiz who opened three law offices around the state, she’s also an author, community activist, former rugby and professional football player, coach, and winner of a regional “strongwoman” contest.
“I love lifting heavy things,” she says with a laugh.
Bolin seems to shoulder a myriad of responsibilities with ease. And she’s not timid about taking on challenges, like launching her own community association management company while she was in her second year at Miami’s St. Thomas University School of Law. She parlayed that experience into opening a real estate law firm right after she graduated in 2007.
“It didn’t scare me,” she says. “I was already running my own company, and I wasn’t about to start working 60 hours a week on the lowest rung of a law office ladder, which is what first-year associates normally do.”
Truth is, Bolin, 41, is not underling material. She’s an alpha female who initially planned to go into sports management after law school. It was a natural inclination for someone who’d signed up for the women’s rugby team on her first day of college and later barnstormed the country playing middle linebacker for the Lake Michigan Minx in the Women’s Professional Football League.
“That was an organizational nightmare,” she says of the gridiron team. “So I took over as manager.”
Bolin is all about putting together teams, from fields of play to business. After going solo for a year running her own law practice, she partnered up with fellow lawyers Mauri Peyton and Joe Giannell to form the PeytonBolin law firm, which now has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and the Tampa area. A few years later, the three added a separate company called Giannell Title. Together, the two businesses provide a comprehensive real estate legal service that includes buyer and seller representation, litigation and titles. But their specialty is community association management.
“Having owned and operated a community association management company, I’m able to apply what I’ve learned to drive the business,” says Bolin who wrote a book about it called Mastering the Business of Your Association.
On the topic of mastering a task, Bolin won the masters division of the Queen of the Summer Solstice Strongwoman competition in July, beating about 10 other competitors in events including log clean and press, deadlift, truck pull and farmer’s carry.
“Knowing the value of coaching, I hired on a coach and worked out 12 weeks before I went up to Northern Virginia, and I won it,” she says. “I qualified for the nationals, but I declined because it conflicted with a leadership conference, which I felt was more important.”
Aside from work and play, Bolin sits on the boards of the Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center, the international Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Florida Rugby Union, and she’s a member of several other community groups, not to mention assistant coach of a youth rugby team. And this month, she will marry Steve Harris, a transplanted Englishman she met when she interviewed him to take her place as head coach of Fort Miami, a South Florida women’s rugby team.
“We started dating the same day,” she recalls.
While the present seems sweet for Bolin, she remains laser-focused on the future.
“I want to make our law firm and title company a much larger enterprise,” she says. “Then I want to go out to struggling companies and turn those ships around.
“For me, entrepreneurship is not about the money, it’s about the experience. I love it, and you’ve got to do what you love in life.”