As Senior Community Investment Manager, Jennifer Kirner has one of the most exciting roles at TELUS. TELUS believes in giving where we live; Jennifer and her team help make that belief a reality. To better understand Jennifer’s career path and current role, we asked her what it took to get where she is today and what makes her proud to be part of the TELUS team. Here’s what she had to share with aspiring community relations professionals.
- How would you describe your role to someone outside of TELUS?
I have the best job at TELUS! Every day I work with the TELUS team to empower youth to create positive social change in the communities where we live, work and serve.
First, I work with charitable organizations in the Greater Toronto Area and Southwestern Ontario to help them develop proposals for TELUS support that will resonate with the community leaders on the TELUS Toronto Community Board. This includes working with many diverse organizations, as TELUS supports a wide array of programs ranging from community grants through our Community Boards, partnerships, humanitarian relief, cause campaigns and team member giving.
Second, I help our team members find and pursue meaningful experiences within the charitable sector through our Team TELUS Cares programs, including volunteering (individual or team-based), donations, fundraising or knowledge sharing. These programs help promote positive change in the communities where they live and work and help our team members feel proud and supported when they come in to work every day.
Finally, I support our executives with their charitable involvement and charitable activities. I am constantly amazed with how committed the entire TELUS team is when it comes to giving back and how important they view being involved with the community. It is truly inspiring and definitely keeps me busy!
- How long have you been with TELUS? Can you describe the career path you’ve taken to get where you are now?
I’ve always had a passion for the community. In fact, all of my previous positions were in the non-profit sector. I started with TELUS in September of 2008 – so I just celebrated my 7th anniversary! Before joining TELUS I worked in Corporate Fundraising at the Royal Ontario Museum and before that at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I have a Bachelor of Music degree and I have a passion for song. One thing you might not know about me is that I regularly perform with an a capella ensemble that I founded and am the artistic director of called Duly Noted.
- What is one particular achievement or project you’re particularly proud of? Why?
One achievement that I am particularly proud of was being recognized with a Connections Honours Leaders of Excellence (CHLOE) Award. The award was given by our internal women’s network, where I was recognized in the emerging leader category. This award is given to a woman who has distinguished herself early in her career, showing tremendous potential to continue making her mark in the years to come.
- What are some words of advice you would offer to someone looking to work in your field?
The first thing I would say is to be patient. There aren’t a lot of jobs in this area and everyone wants them so you need to be patient and persistent without being discouraged.
Second, be sure to have a good grasp of the non-profit sector, including grant-writing and how a non-profit organization works.
Finally, make sure you have a good business background. In this type of role, you need to be able to provide a business case for why we are donating funds and demonstrate a return for in the investment. You also need to have very strong interpersonal skills. In my role I interact with and support many types of people and roles within TELUS. Similarly, I am out working in the community with charitable organizations and recipients daily. On any given night I could be in the office reviewing grants or at fundraising gala meeting world leaders, celebrities and philanthropists. You need to be able to work with all types of people from all walks of life and transition between them seamlessly.
- How would you describe the TELUS culture? How has it impacted your role directly?
Everything we do at TELUS starts with putting the customer first, which is a unique and exciting philosophy. No matter what our roles, each TELUS team member uses this as a guide on how we make decisions. This leads to an engaged and empowered community within TELUS.
Having worked in the non-profit sector, I never imagined I would ever end up working in the corporate sector. I came to TELUS because I knew they had a great culture and they had such a great community investment program. Every day I come to work knowing that I am directly impacting how our customers feel about TELUS and how our team members feel about working for us. That makes me feel great about what I do and the company I work for.
You can learn more about the inspiring projects Jennifer and her team are working on at community.telus.com. If you’re looking to join our awesome community investment team or if you’re interested in another role with TELUS, be sure to check out our current job opportunities.