Creativity has always been central to Jano Kotzas' direction in life.
While at St Aidan’s, she excelled in home economics, which led to work experience as a window dresser with Sportsgirl. The experience led Jano to her first job at the Queen Street Sportsgirl store, where she stayed for two and a half years before taking the leap into business for herself, a venture that has led to a colourful and successful career in visual merchandising, event theming and styling.
Although a creative personality, Jano’s leadership ability was also recognised at a young age. She still recalls the phone call asking her to be a school Vice-Captain in Year 11.
“I was always keen to hold a position of leadership in the school so to get this call was a dream come true for me – and something I am still very proud of,” she says.
“In my role as Vice-School Captain I learnt the most value lesson of leadership. Through my years at St Aidan’s I learnt to believe in myself and that if you really want something and work hard to get it, it will come.”
Jano’s career in visual merchandising and event styling has developed to a point where her business The Prop House celebrates its 25th year in 2020. Together with new brand VM+ (established 2011) her company employs ten core staff and up to 40 casuals during Christmas and event season working with clients including the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, QPAC, Toyota, Treasury Casino, Westfield, Brisbane Marketing and News Corp to create spectacular events.
A recognised business leader, Jano has been awarded the American Express Rewards for Excellence Best Services Retailer twice, in 2006 and 2007, and was named Women in Business’ winner of the Professional Services award in 2009.
Among her best memories of St Aidan’s, Jano counts her small but close-knit group of friends, the teachers’ kindness, strength and guidance, and the leadership of the senior students above her.
“There was an underlying sense of love within the walls of the school,” she says.
“You always felt safe, loved and accepted.”