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Jana Shaffner

If you were to ask Jana Shaffner’s closest friends to describe her, they’d say she’s a woman who’s constantly in motion, running a million miles an hour, trying to accomplish a million different things a day. Shaffner, who describes herself as positive and compassionate, would agree.
“If I don’t think I have quite enough to keep me at maximum speed, I add something else in,” says the North Dallas mom of two. “I admire stay-at-home-moms, but I’m not sure I’d be a good one because I’d end up filling my day with craziness. I might as well get paid for my craziness!”
A Texas A&M University alumna, Shaffner, 40, has worked in recruiting for nearly 20 years. She says the network-driven field is a perfect fit for her gregarious, intellectually curious disposition. Over the last decade, her focus has been on executive recruitment. When she’s not traveling for work, she splits her time between her offices downtown and at home, carefully balancing a demanding work schedule with care for her children: 2-year-old Allie and 6-year-old Logan, who was diagnosed with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) at 32 weeks in utero.
A rare birth defect, ACC occurs when the fibers connecting the right brain and left brain are missing. On a day-to-day basis, this means Logan’s processing speed is slower than typical kids his age and learning new things requires more repetition.
“Some days we just pretend it doesn’t exist,” Shaffner admits. “I’m just glad we aren’t chasing a diagnosis, so we can proactively help him in the best way possible. We try to take it one day at a time.”
Since graduating from The Rise School of Dallas last year, Logan’s attended The June Shelton School where he’s in a language-intervention program; he also does occupational therapy and speech therapy. Impressed by The Rise School’s model, Jana and her husband Layton enrolled Allie with the hope that — by being surrounded by kids of all abilities — she’ll grow into an adult who has a strong sense of compassion and empathy.
Between career, two kids in two schools and Logan’s full therapy schedule, Shaffner’s days are packed. Fortunately, Layton, a project manager for a software company, is her partner in it all.
“We’re pretty traditional in our roles,” she says. “But there are times — when I travel — when Layton does it all.”
Shaffner loves to tell the story of how the two met. In 2002, she traveled to London with a few girlfriends to ring in the New Year. While there, she met Layton, who was in the city on work. Serendipitously, the two quickly discovered that their offices in Dallas were less than two blocks apart. As they say, the rest is history. The couple has now been married for 10 years.
In addition to responsibilities around the home, the duo shares a deep passion for travel. In 2007, they both quit their jobs to take a belated honeymoon around the world, visiting 30 countries in 10 months. (New Zealand’s South Island was Shaffner’s favorite.) Far from satiating her wanderlust, the trip sparked her desire to see more corners of the world.
In January, the couple took a kid-free trip to Norway.
“Travel is absolutely a passion, but it’s something we’re still trying to figure out how to squeeze in with littles,” Shaffner says. “It’s hard to want to spend the money to go abroad when they’re so young.”
For the Shaffner team, family vacations aren’t kid-centric affairs designed solely to entertain Logan and Allie but opportunities to expose the children to new things and cultivate a love for adventure in them.
“Whether it’s a trip to the Grand Canyon or a weekend to visit friends in L.A., they’re learning to go with the flow and that not everything is about them — even if they’re a little bit bored,” she says.
And what does this busy mom do when she’s not plotting the next getaway? She says her perfect day starts with a four-mile run and a cappuccino. Then, she’d while away the afternoon with the family — perusing The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, eating cheese fries at Snuffer’s Restaurant and Bar and playing at Klyde Warren Park.
“That’s how I want to spend my time, doing fun things with my kiddos,” she says.
But she recognizes the importance of feeding herself, too. In pursuit of that all-elusive thing called balance, Shaffner makes thrice-weekly morning runs with friends a priority; she says they keep her sane. She’s been a member of a book club with the same group of women for more than 10 years. And recently, she joined a neighborhood babysitting co-op, so date nights at Lakewood Growler — her favorite adult hangout — become a more regular occurrence.
“The co-op wasn’t my idea,” she says. “But I’ve been screaming from the heavens about it since we started. It’s the coolest thing!”
And on top of all that, Shaffner finds time to do thoughtful things for others: leaving crazy socks on a friend’s porch for World Down Syndrome Day and volunteering at her kids’ schools. Candidly, she admits that this million-mile-an-hour approach to life can be exhausting, a weakness even. She’s prone to spread herself too thin and doesn’t get much sleep. Her days typically start at 5:30am and don’t stop until well after 10pm.
“But it’s just who I am,” Shaffner says. “If I’m not doing and doing for others, I’m not happy. Everybody does things differently. Do things the way you want, and just love on your family. That’s what life is all about.”