Profile | Jen Schaeffers, Executive Director, CKNW Orphans' Fund & Founder, NetworkinginVan

It seems that 2013 is all about meeting and making connections and friends with incredible women!  Jen Schaeffers is no exception. She came to me upon the recommendation of a few of her trusted friends. From the moment we met it felt like we'd known each other for years.  

I am in awe of Jen and the more I learn about her and all the amazing things she is involved with - in addition to being a mom to her two young children both under the age of 5 - the more I am motivated to be the best person that I can be.  Don't you love people like that?

Jen and I share a big love for children and I'm so inspired by her dedication to her work with the CKNW Orphans' Fund. Because of Jen, I'm excited more than ever to giving more of my time and talent to photography projects that raise compassion and care for both animals and children and to working with Jen and the Orphans' Fund to help support them in the work they do enhancing the lives of children with special needs in BC. Jen's newest passion is her professional business development blog site NetworkinginVan.com where she supports business professionals connect through networking groups, events, mentorship and awards programs and business tips and practical advice.

Jen sought me out to take her portraits and after several cancellations due to not so perfect weather, the day finally came and we were able to get these fabulous shots of Jen near the new Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver. The day was spectacular and so were the views. Jen's a Vancouver girl to the core so it was important to her that her city be visible in her pictures. Thankfully she is over the moon about her new portraits and I couldn't be happier for her. Most of all I am pleased as punch to have a great new friend and champion in my ever-expanding circle of beautiful, talented and powerful women!

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Tell me a bit about yourself...about you, your business and/or what you like to do with your time.

I currently work as the Executive Director for the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. It is a children’s charity with an incredible legacy of helping vulnerable children since 1945. We are dedicated to enhancing the lives of children with physical, mental, social and behavioural challenges living in BC.

NetworkinginVan.com is my blog and that keeps me very busy in the evenings when the kids go to sleep. The site promotes all the amazing networking and professional development opportunities there are in Vancouver.

I am an avid volunteer with the Minerva Foundation for BC Women and I run a group in my home community called the “Steveston Mom’s Network” which provides opportunity for like-minded women to connect. I do some speaking and participate in a few formal mentorship programs as well.

I am well known for being a U2 superfan, hence my twitter handle JenU2 and I cannot put a good business book down. I love to read and am thus a bit of a word nerd. Don’t challenge me to a game of boggle! My children keep me smiling and laughing every day. I am very blessed. 

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What did you like best about working with Linda and how have your photos benefited you?

Linda and I built a great rapport right from the beginning. She was very attentive to email, had great suggestions on locations for the shoot and offered help with wardrobe, makeup and hair. She has such a keen eye for small details including how I looked, lighting, suggestions for poses etc. She made me feel so comfortable right from the beginning and was such a professional.

I am looking forward to using the photos for website, social media and speaking.

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If you could pick one favourite shot Linda took of you/for you, which one would it be and why?

Honestly, this was the most difficult decision. Given as skilled Linda is, there were so many great photos, that it was hard to choose. Linda also provided some fantastic feedback on what she thought were the best shots and I was grateful for the advice.

I think out of all the photos, I like the one featured below the best. I love Coal Harbour in the background, the lighting of the sun and the natural smile she captured, which really accurately portrays who I am.

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What is your philosophy or approach to life?

Mother Theresa is kind of my home girl. I live by her quotes, especially “We can do no great things, only small things with great love”. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of need in this world, in Vancouver, and I feel that sometimes that I am not making quite as big of an impact as I could be. But then I try and reflect on what Mother Theresa did. It is the small things that sometimes make the biggest impact…the smile you give someone on the elevator, the person you hold the door open for, being vulnerable, being giving of yourself…these are the important things.

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What's new in your life? What's next for you?

 I just returned to work a few short months ago from my second maternity leave so I am getting into the swing of being a busy working mom of two little ones! I thought that might be a great time to start training for a half marathon (I haven’t done one in 5 years). Boy, did I underestimate the amount of time it takes to train, work, spend time with family, run a household, volunteer, blog….so right now I am just enjoying the controlled chaos of everyday life. I am a very positive person and I wake up every day grateful for my family, my work, my friends and my life. 

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Photographed on location near Coal Harbour and the new Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver, BC.

 


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