Camille Jayne: More Time for Tennis?

A life-changing event often bears some universal signs: a baby's cry in the night, a sheepskin in the hand or a gold watch in the pocket as one heads off to retirement.

For Camille Jayne, the sign her life had changed was a tennis game. During daylight. On a Wednesday.

"Five p.m. tennis time on a Wednesday, that was huge!" she said. "It's the first time I'd ever played other than after work, or a weekend."

During her corporate career in cable, Jayne was too busy for such luxury. She worked her way up the ladder with stints at Procter & Gamble and Ameritech Corp., among others. During the 1990s, she was the senior vice president of Tele-Communications Inc.'s Digital TV Division.

"TCI was fun, but grueling," she says.

In 1997, she got her big break: Jayne was hired as chairman and CEO of remote-control maker Universal Electronics Inc. Corporate tasks kept her in the office from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on most days, and included business trips three to four days a week, including international travel.

Two years ago, she decided to take more control over her life, leaving Universal and delving into a plethora of other activities, the roster of which makes one wonder how she still had time for that daytime tennis game.

Her new challenge lets her use her corporate skills, plus design training she received as an undergraduate and master's candidate at Stanford University, as well as her master's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.

She launched Orange County, Calif.-based The Jayne Group, which has two distinct divisions. One handles business-consulting projects; the other is a design and building project management consultancy.

Business-consulting clients include Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Fetzer Wines, as well as executives from her former employers, Ameritech and TCI.

The Jayne Group's design business also aids high-powered executives who are too busy to handle their own relocations.

One client, a production executive from Denver, had to relocate to Los Angeles but had no real-estate contacts in California and didn't want to move his Denver furnishings. Jayne's firm found him a house, upgraded it and stocked it with everything from furniture to soap and food in the pantry.

She's also on the board of MyPort Express Inc., also based in Orange County, a start-up specializing in residential-messaging systems that let a homeowner access text and voice messages in any room of his or her home.

Jayne serves as a guest lecturer to MBA students at the University of California in Irvine and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

If that's not enough to keep her busy, Jayne, 50, is working with an editor from Simon & Schuster Inc. to co-write a business tome.

"There are so few women who are chairmen or CEOs of public companies, I wanted to detail the lessons I've learned."

Like time management.