Q and A with Janet Harrell

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With Marco Salvi as its new President, Lyon & Healy has just appointed Janet Harrell as its Chief Executive Officer (read more). Harpists may remember Harrell from her time with the company between 1984–1999 where she served various roles, ultimately becoming its President. We caught up with Janet to find out what she’s been up to since then, and her plans for the future at L&H.

So, what brings you back to the harp world?

I was actually content in my position at the time, but when Marco Salvi reached out to me about returning to Lyon & Healy, he had the same enthusiasm and passion for the harp that his father did – which is contagious! That enthusiasm reminded me of the dedication to the instrument that was always present at Lyon & Healy and the next thing you know…here I am.

Many harpists will remember you from your previous days with Lyon & Healy, but can you tell those harpists who don’t know you a little more about yourself to help them get to know you?

I very much have a team approach to managing. I like to empower everyone with knowledge about the entire organization, so they understand what they are responsible for and how their contribution impacts our goals. I encourage new ideas and am not afraid to initiate changes as needed.

Tell us a little bit about your harp background. Are you a harpist yourself? How did you first get into the harp world?

I am not a harpist; I actually joined the finance department of Lyon & Healy when they were owned by CBS. As the company changed ownership over the following years, I was promoted several times until Mr. Victor Salvi named me President.

What you are looking forward to in your new role at Lyon & Healy?

One of the best aspects of my role is that I get to work closely with the harpmakers who build the instruments, and also interact regularly with the artists that play them—it is so unique and rewarding.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to travel and spend time with my family. Anything outdoors including golf, biking and running. I plan on trying surfing for the first time this winter on a family holiday trip. Several members of my family are avid surfers and I’m thinking to give it a try.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new position at Lyon & Healy?

Making customer service our primary core value. Obviously, to continue the building of the Lyon & Healy harp at its high standard. And further, to take that passion that Victor had for the harp and work with Marco and the team to see what we can do to promote the instrument — and harpists — into the future.

Since coming back to harp building, what do you think has changed the most and what has stayed the same during your time away from the industry?

The business was much more retail-focused, now we have a global wholesale network as the harp has grown worldwide. I am happy to see that the steps of harpbuilding itself at Lyon & Healy has not changed very much with the exception of stronger materials and better equipment—one of my primary initiatives is to ensure that the apprenticeship program that Lyon & Healy has always been proud of is still being closely followed.

Finish this sentence: “Lyon & Healy harps are…

…fantastic and continue to amaze me with their consistency of sound.”

Read more about Lyon & Healy at h www.lyonhealy.com.

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Editor of Harp Column, freelance harpist, private teacher, hot yoga lover, and grammar geek.

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