Jan was born in Mackay and grew up in the Whitsunday area, central Queensland. It was while she was studying at James Cook University in Townsville, that she became a Christian. She taught maths and science in several schools and later studied at the Bible College of South Australia. In 1990, Jan and colleague Marie Blackman (then Geytenbeek) began work with the Ngaanyatjarra people in Western Australia. Since 1999, Jan has been working alone in the Ngaanyatjarra lands as well as, more recently, helping other teams in various locations. For several years, Jan has also been managing the Bible Place bookshop in Alice Springs, making vernacular resources available to local people.
Jan is planning to bring to a close her times of working in the Ngaanyatjarra lands, and aims to continue producing Ngaanyatjarra Scripture resources, and distributing products through the Bible Place shop.