Interview with Jillian Dempsey


Jillian comes from a diverse employment background, having worked in the not-for-profit sector, career management, events planning, marketing, and various project management roles, as well as teaching English abroad. Jillian manages all financial aspects of the SOSCIP operations.



Q: How do you maintain health and wellness as a mother working from home in a pandemic?

A: As a single parent, I rely quite a bit on my community (family, friends, and school) and the pandemic has severely impacted that option. Taking space away from one another is important to my family’s well being and I am lucky enough to have a few hours of childcare a week where I can take a quiet walk to reset my emotions and process my thoughts. I do pilates, yoga, gardening, mediation and, most importantly, regularly talk to my therapist.

That being said, the time and options for self-care are limited and, like many parents, I am in survival mode with a strong hope that there is a return to some normalcy in sight!



Q: What drives you in your personal and professional life?

A: It is important to me to be reassessing, changing and growing as a person. I care deeply about the environment, societal equality, and human rights. As part of my commitment to those areas, I spend time learning how I can be an advocate or ally. I consider what I can work on within myself, as a parent, in the workplace, or in my community to be supportive of positive change. Feeling that I am contributing to leaving the world better than I came into it adds meaning to my daily life.




Q: What are your hobbies?

A: What I consider to be my consistent hobbies are yoga, hiking, travel and reading. I also enjoy taking a few courses a year to expand my interests, so I consider that to be a hobby of its own. Some of my favourite classes have been: millinery, ASL, and mixology.




Q: How can EDI be successful in organizations and throughout the innovation ecosystem?

A: EDI needs to be approached holistically. We are trying to address a societal issue at an industry or business level, which means that our EDI initiative are a few threads in a much larger cloth.

We need to look at all the reasons why there is not already diversity in our organisations and see where the root causes are to these barriers. For example, we can work towards more inclusive hiring and encourage women and BIPOC applicants to apply; however, if we look to graduation statistics for our industry and find that only 25% of all graduates are women and 10% are BIPOC it limits our ability to succeed in growing equity and diversity in our workplace. How can we, as an industry, triage the loss of EDI talent at the educational level and then create a workplace that fosters a supportive environment for all staff? The answers are not simple and the work is not easy.

We always need to be working at an individual, organisational and societal level when it comes to EDI.




Q: What are you looking forward to?

A: I am looking forward to celebrating with friends and family. One of the positives of this pandemic is the time I have been given to assess the relationships in my life and their importance to me. As much as I love to travel to exotic places, my most frequent wish this past year has been that I could sit on a patio with friends.