As an employee of the Ministry of Labor, a private business owner and the Immediate Past President of Junior Chamber International Canada, Jen Sencar has accomplished a lot since moving to Kelowna 10 years ago. Sencar became involved with JCI Okanagan when she first moved to Kelowna as a way of meeting others, but it quickly grew to much more than that. She developed strong relationships with other JCI members, was able to give back to her community, and became only the fifth female president in the history of JCI Canada.
As the president of JCI Canada, Sencar has had the opportunity to travel across Canada and overseas, speaking to and motivating other JCI members around the world, which she loves to do.
“Usually I talk to them about being an active citizen or what that is,” Sencar explained. “To me an active citizen is somebody who takes it upon themselves to use their voice and their skills to make things better. They speak up for people who can’t speak up for themselves or help their community, all those things that are looking for or being a part of something bigger. When I go to other chapters I speak about how we use junior chamber to become that. How do we step out and become a leader, how do we just do little things every day as JC’s to be an active citizen?”
Sencar’s desire to motivate and help has guided her through her career, as after being a lawyer for four and a half years she joined the Ministry of Labor as an industrial relations officer, where she mediates and investigates wage complaints.
“A motivator for me is definitely to be able to help people and businesses, make sure they stay in compliance and do the things they need to do to treat their employees well,” she said. “I also think it’s a skill in communication, you spend a lot of time mediating and explaining things to employees and employers about what they need to do to be successful, because really they don’t want to have to come and see me.”
Although she was already working for the Ministry of Labor and was heavily involved with JCI Canada, Sencar became involved with 4Kids Online Enterprises in 2010, a private business she is now the sole owner of, in addition to her other roles. 4Kids Online Enterprises includes Okanagan4Kids.com and the magazine Bump & Beyond. The business focuses on young families with one or more children between the ages of zero and four, providing helpful magazines and other resources for them.
One of the most memorable highlights of Sencar’s career came in the past year as she traveled across the world promoting Quebec City as a host candidate for the 2016 World Congress. World Congress is an annual JCI initiative that brings 4,000 to 6,000 active leaders together to visit the host city and have meetings for the international organization. Sencar visited Columbia, Malta, Japan and Germany in her efforts to secure Quebec City as the host, and while she was in Germany she discovered she had been successful. Quebec City will host World Congress in 2016, the first time it will come to Canada in 30 years.
Sencar knows her time with JCI Canada will be ending soon due to age restrictions, but once she moves on she plans to continue using many of the skills she developed while there.
“I think I’m going to start to work on doing some more training and doing some motivational speaking. It’s something I really enjoy doing, along with the coaching and mentoring of other women and young people. I’ll probably do some (speaking) through Junior Chamber, but also some on my own.”
Sencar’s drive to help others who in turn can then pass along the same message and her personal success in both business and international organizations are what make her a Woman to Watch.
Crowe MacKay’s Women to Watch program is a weekly feature that profiles remarkable women in our community. This feature series is a joint initiative between Crowe MacKay, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Kelowna Capital News. To nominate the exceptional woman in your life, email firstname.lastname@example.org.