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Career Profile

Jenny Fortier

Initiatives Officer and Greenhouse Operator
FedNor (Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario)
Jenny Fortier | Gestionnaire de serre
Jenny Fortier | Gestionnaire de serre
School Subject

Jenny Fortier is the initiatives officer for FedNor (Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario).

About me

I was born/grew up in: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

I now live in: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

I completed my training/education at: I completed a B.Sc. at Laurentian University, then an M.Sc. at Trent University and a Diploma in Sustainable Landscape Design from the University of Guelph

What I do at work

In my role as Initiatives Officer at FedNor, I am the contact person for businesses and entrepreneurs in this region. I work with local community and Indigenous groups to help develop the economy in our area. Part of my job is to help them with their proposals for economic development projects. I help them with the budget planning process and assess the economic outlook. What I am doing is helping to create jobs and opportunities for the people of Northern Ontario.

I also help operate our family-owned business. Our business, Northern Wildflowers, started as an experiment in growing varieties that could thrive in Northern gardens and provide habitat for pollinators. As the demand for the seeds and plants we grew increased, our business grew. Our mission has always been to help our customers create a little slice of wildflower paradise. As a small business owner, I wear many hats. I do the marketing and the accounting. I do the business planning, maintain customer relations, and test new products. Wearing all these hats helps me develop skills that help me relate to the businesses that I support in my work at FedNor.

My career path is

After graduate school I worked in ecological research for a little while. I enjoyed working outdoors but I didn't feel like my work had as much impact as I wanted. In addition, I really missed interacting with people. I made a career move to work in science education, which I did for about 6 years. In that role I learned how to be a good presenter. I also learned how to learn information quickly and transform difficult concepts into something everyone could understand. I also learned lots of skills that weren't necessarily science based. These skills included such things as how to lead a team, manage finances, organize an event, manage projects and more.

During that time, I also started a small business of my own selling native plants. I feel strongly about the importance of growing plants for wildlife and I was also really interested in being an entrepreneur. I've had my business, Northern Wildflowers, for about 8 years now and am still really enjoying it as a bit of a side job.

From education I moved into the private sector and worked as Vice President at Greenhouses Canada. I had spent a bit of time volunteering as a board member at a local food co-operative and became really passionate about the environmental and health benefits of growing food locally. My role at Greenhouses Canada really gave me a chance to be a part of a local food movement in Northern Ontario. I worked here for a couple of years before moving into the role I currently have at FedNor. I can safely say that, all my education and experiences have led me to this role.

I am motivated by

My motivation is to make life better for the people who live in Northern Ontario. I help create jobs for people in this region by working with business owners and people who want to start businesses. By helping them be successful, I’m helping them contribute to the growth and economy of this region.

How I affect peoples’ lives

FedNor is the Government of Canada's economic development organization for Northern Ontario. I help business owners use its programs and services. I also help new and established business access financial support for projects that lead to job creation and economic growth. My work with FedNor is helping to build a stronger Northern Ontario.

Outside of work I

I really enjoy doing anything physical and/or outdoors. At the end of the day I find that physical activity is really helpful in helping to reduce stress and a great way to spend social time.

My advice to others

Find what you enjoy. If you don't know what that is, then put yourself in lots of different situations to figure it out (volunteer, do co-ops, try out different part time jobs).

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Home Economics
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Brought people together
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Liked reading
  • Was really creative
  • Always threw the best parties
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Always knew what I wanted to do
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing
  • Learned best by doing

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