Jen, the former CEO of SafeCare BC, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the non-profit, health and continuing care sectors. Prior to her work with SafeCare BC, she spent time as a community-based rehabilitation specialist for older adults and research assistant with a focus on the impact of care home environments on the behaviour of staff and people living with dementia. She holds a master’s degree in health administration, education she first put into action overseeing operations for Total Therapy, a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation clinic with several clinics under her direction.
Members of our community may be familiar with Jen through the instrumental role she played in establishing SafeCare BC, a non-profit workplace health and safety association for B.C.’s continuing care sector, since its launch in 2013. Among the organization’s many accomplishments with Jen at the helm is the production of the annual Hearts and Hands conference for health-care assistants, which pivoted to a virtual format in 2020. Other recent successes include coordination of Operation Protect, a public PPE drive that distributed over 2.3 million items of PPE during the pandemic, and a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association to establish Care for Caregivers, a mental health support hub for health-care providers. She also played a leading role in establishing Creating Connections, foundational dementia education for health-care workers, a long-standing collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of B.C.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a trusted and valued partner in our community of care to our senior leadership team,” says Alzheimer Society of B.C. Board chair, Robert Piasentin. “Jen is a compassionate and respected leader whose inclusive and person-centred approach to leadership aligns with the Society’s values and mission to build a dementia-friendly province. As we enter a new chapter together, we know she will bring her passion and energy, as well as a deep understanding of the people and communities we support.”
Jen’s long-held belief that people affected by dementia should be enabled to live fulfilling, meaningful lives in supportive and stigma-free environments – alongside her more recent personal and professional experiences of COVID-19 – are what inspired her to contemplate this role at the Society.
“People living with dementia deserve a voice, especially when hard decisions need to be made,” she says. “Coming out of the pandemic there is an opportunity to turn tragedy and heartache into accelerated change. From a more tactical standpoint, there's also an opportunity to use the progress made over these past several months of using technology to enable virtual models of support. I'm excited by the possibilities as we increase the accessibility of the Society’s programs and services to connect with more British Columbians affected by dementia.”
Jen’s commitment to support families affected by dementia is underscored by a personal connection to dementia. While supporting health-care workers and families professionally during the pandemic, a member of her own family on the dementia journey transitioned into long-term care, so she is familiar with the experience of having a family member living in long-term care.
When she’s not at work, Jen, a mother of two, is happiest hiking the B.C. backcountry and spending time with her family.