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An Aspiring Leader: Jessica Saunders, Personal Interview

Recently, a friend of mine made the decision to join the team of motivated, talented women at the Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL). I have known Jessica Saunders since we were nine years old, and I’ve always admired her personal strength and charisma. While always knowing she would do great things, in the last few months I have seen Jessica step a milestone closer to actualizing her dreams, and I am pleased to present an interview that I conducted with her, focusing on her new role as the PR and Communications Lead with WIL.

Tell me a bit about your education / career history.

J.S.: I graduated from Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC with a Bachelor of Tourism Management, double majoring in Marketing and Management, and minoring in PR.

Once I graduated I began my job hunt in Vancouver, BC. I landed my first gig at a start-up tech company as an unpaid sales intern. After a few months I was hired on full-time as the Marketing Coordinator. Within a year the company re-organized, and I was promoted to Marketing Manager.

In January I made a company switch, and am now the Marketing Manager for a Telecommunications provider. My mind is brimming with ideas and I’m very exciting to see the growth of this new company over the next few years.

What motivated you to volunteer with Women in Leadership?

J.S.: My boyfriend was definitely a source of motivation for me. He volunteers for Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA), Under 40. I’ve seen him make awesome friends, build his network and land a new through the organization. I’ve seen him make awesome friends, build his network and land a new job through the organization.

After seeing his success, I wanted to surround myself with like-minded people who are excited and motivated to succeed in their careers. I began looking into networking opportunities in my own industry, and Volunteered at the Young Women in Business (YWIB) annual conference, Beyond Pink: Disrupt to Reconstruct in November, 2012. I found these women’s positive energy so contagious that I was pretty much hooked, and I knew it was only a matter of time until I found the perfect organization to volunteer for.

What are some of the personal and professional benefits you hope to gain through being a part of WIL?

J.S.: I hope to build life-long friendships and gain experience in new areas. I would also like to develop more clarity about my own goals and nail down a more solid idea of what I want my professional future will look like.

Tell me about some of your passions:

J.S.: I love to cook, and I like a good challenge when doing it. I am always trying new recipes and dishes – my next challenge is going to be rack of lamb.

I am also in to holistic nutrition and clean eating, and have also gotten really interested in learning more about working out and weight training.

What are some inspirational books or blogs you recommend?

J.S.: I highly recommend the blog: “Ask a Manager,” to anyone who is on the job hunt or looking to expand their career horizons, I learned so much from these posts in the past year. For fitness, I keep up to date by visiting the “Tone it up” website and blog posts.

Some books on my “to-read” list:

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg

Fire Starter, by Danielle La Porte

Strengths finder, by Tom Rath

Where would you like to be 10 years?

J.S.: I want to have my own marketing consulting business. Having a seamless life that involves a family and a job that I love would be perfect for me – I want to be available for my husband and kids while making a living by managing a company that I am passionate about.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

J.S.: Yes, I would just like to reach out to the readers of this post to let them know that WIL Vancouver has Committee positions open including Administrative Coordinator, Mentorship Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator, and Event Planning Coordinator. The positions require a commitment of 2-6 hours per week with more time required leading up to big events. You can email Baily@womeninleadership.ca to apply or request position descriptions. We are also always looking for volunteers to help at our large events. If you would like to be notified of upcoming opportunities please email volunteer-van@womeninleadership.ca.

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