Global Woman of Vision: Jen Panteluk
CEO, triathlete, mother — this businesswoman is taking the not for profit sector by storm and showing women how you can have it all.
photography by Cooper and O'Hara
When Jen Panteluk graduated with her Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing, she had a certain idea of what her career would look like. “I thought I was going to go work for an ad agency or do something really flashy,” says the exuberant 36 year old. She cycled through a few jobs before finding a position with United Way — and the not for profit industry was a match made in heaven for her.
“I’m a very emotional person and I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I think that’s a little bit where the not for profit world is a good fit,” says Panteluk. She’s remained within that sphere of the industry for years, holding positions with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta, and has been President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT for the past two years. “At the end of the day you feel really good about what you’re doing. You know you’re making a positive impact.”
Panteluk was initially drawn to the position at Junior Achievement because of how it married her passions for business and community. “Junior Achievement, I feel, is really about inspiring our next generation,” says Panteluk. “We touch on leadership, collaboration, teamwork, there are just so many transferable skills that come out of the programs that we deliver.” Program participants can learn everything from financial literacy to entrepreneurship, and get the skills to help them succeed with whatever path they pursue. And, while she’s mindful of keeping their expansion sustainable, Panteluk is always striving to expand and improve on Junior Achievement’s reach. “I think long term I’d like to see us as an organization not just focusing on our delivery of programs but figuring out how we help support the community as a whole and elevate the community as a whole,” says Panteluk.
Panteluk herself has gained inspiration from various facets of her life, such as athletics. She was an athlete growing up, and is now a high-level triathlete, fitting a rigorous training regime into her already busy schedule. “I think a lot of the leadership components of business have bubbled up because of sports. The determination and dedication. To be able to perform at a certain level in any sport, it takes time, it takes effort,” says Panteluk.
And, of course, there’s her family and support system. Panteluk describes her parents as “the type of people who told me you can be whatever you want to be and always pushed me to give 110%, to go after my dreams.” She hopes to inspire her two-year-old daughter in the same way, and to help ensure she grows up in an environment that allows her to thrive. “I just want the best for this community, and I want to leave it in a little bit better place than I found it when I got here,” says Panteluk. “Now that I have a child at home, [I think] how do we have a community that’s going to support her as she gets older so she can be successful in whatever dream she might want to do? Just making sure our community is vibrant and relevant and a really great place so that people continue to want to build it.”