Executive Director, Systemic Advocacy, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Research
Jennifer joined the Representative’s Office in September 2021 as Executive Director, Systemic Advocacy, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Research. Jennifer is Métis-Cree, and is a member of the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria, located on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Jennifer is also a descendent of Scottish immigrants and Irish homesteaders and carries both her settler and Indigenous heritage with pride, “walking in two worlds” in her life and her work.
Jennifer began her career 20 years ago with youth-serving organizations, holding positions in outreach and engagement, youth leadership, and community development. Her experience working with young people impacted by intergenerational trauma, racism and systemic oppression led her to pursue her graduate studies in Counselling Psychology where she studied both Indigenous cultural perspectives of wellness and Western clinical models of mental health. After graduating, she spent 10 years working as a clinical therapist with Delegated Aboriginal Agencies and family service organizations to develop culturally safe, trauma informed services for families.
This work led her to join the Ministry of Children and Family Development as the Director of Trauma-Informed Operations where she led strategic service delivery operations, policy development and program evaluation, and worked with the Tripartite Mental Health and Wellness Table to bring systems together to address the social determinants of health and wellness for families.
Alongside her work with families, Jennifer continued her research studies with UVic’s Centre for Youth & Society, exploring identity development and youth transitions into adulthood, working closely with marginalized communities to develop participant-led research models and knowledge mobilization strategies. She is currently completing her doctoral studies, which focus on restoring Indigenous research methodologies to better understand the intergenerational strengths and traumas experienced by First Nation, Métis and Inuit families.