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Embracing Authenticity: Jennifer Ireson's Journey of Empowerment in the Peace Region

Embracing Authenticity: Jennifer Ireson's Journey of Empowerment in the Peace Region

In the vast expanse of the Peace Region, Jennifer Ireson found more than just a geographical location—she found herself. Reflecting on over 11 years of living in Grande Prairie, Jennifer describes this region as the place where she has truly come into her own. It's a testament to the freedom the Peace Region offers—an environment that allows individuals to be who they are, grow, expand, explore, and shape the lives they desire.

A familiar face at local events and a proactive participant in Chamber activities, Jennifer's commitment to community development goes beyond attendance; she readily immerses herself in new initiatives and responsibilities. Her dedication is a testament to her genuine investment in the success, expansion, and well-being of locally owned businesses in Grande Prairie.

Jennifer's involvement in the community is simply a reflection of her belief that small, everyday actions can collectively bring about significant positive change. Her journey toward community impact began during a pivotal moment in grade 11 while working at the local fish plant. Witnessing the constrained opportunities of previous generations, she recognized the importance of education as a gateway to independence, exploration, and personal growth.

Every day presents its challenges, and for Jennifer, a unique challenge surfaced in her mid-40s—an ADHD diagnosis. Rather than viewing it as a setback, she embraces it as a superpower, a force that propels her to make quick decisions, learn rapidly, and share knowledge with others. Her journey with ADHD is a testament to the strength derived from acknowledging and embracing one's uniqueness.

Jennifer's involvement in the community extends to her role as an educator at Northwestern Polytechnic, where she witnesses women entering unsure of themselves and leaving with newfound confidence. One particular student, aspiring to start her own business, credited Jennifer's encouragement for providing the push needed to embark on that entrepreneurial journey.

The impact of Jennifer's actions on the community is evident through the admiration she receives for her bravery, independence, and willingness to try new things. Although she may not be fully aware of the extent of her influence, she believes that her courage might inspire others to find strength in their own endeavors.

Educating oneself is a key piece of advice Jennifer imparts to women aspiring to make a difference in their communities. She is a strong advocate for formal education, emphasizing its role in fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication skills. Education, for Jennifer, has been a pathway to freedom, confidence, and security.

Jennifer's contributions extend beyond the academic realm, as she has actively participated in various not-for-profit boards since arriving in Grande Prairie including Habitat for Humanity, Palliative Care Society, Sexsmith & District Chamber of Commerce, Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Advisory Committee Town of Sexsmith, Physician Recruitment Task Force (Town of Sexsmith), Chartered Professional in Human Resources GP Volunteer Committee, and more. 

As she reflects on her journey, Jennifer acknowledges the impact of Human Resources (HR) early in her career, providing stability and a path that allowed her to explore new territories, stay abreast of technology, and develop new skills. Her narrative challenges the notion of a "correct" career path, emphasizing the importance of adaptability in a constantly changing world.

In considering the qualities essential for making an impact in the community, Jennifer recognizes the strength in diversity. It's not about one strong voice but rather the collective contribution of individuals bringing their unique perspectives to the table.

Inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery, an author from a small town in Prince Edward Island, Jennifer sees her journey as proof that humble beginnings need not limit one's ability to make a difference. As part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, her legacy message is one of collective effort—”We give what we can when we can. Every tiny piece adds up, and over time, we can build large pyramids from which we can enjoy the view.”

Jennifer Ireson exemplifies the power of authenticity, resilience, and the collective impact of small, everyday actions.


To learn more about Jennifer & her work as a Human Resource Expert, check out Balanced Perspectives


If you know someone who you believe has made a positive impact in the Peace Region, nominate here.