Ten Profiles for Fusion’s 10th Year: #8 – Jennifer Gillivan
There are many people who love Nova Scotia and Halifax but Jennifer Gillivan chose this place as her home and she’s happy she did.
An immigrant to Canada from Ireland, the current IWK Foundation CEO lived in a number of cities before finding her way to Halifax.
Today Gillivan is a prominent member of the community, named one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, and volunteers with numerous groups in the city, including Fusion.
“I’ve always been impressed with how organized Fusion is and how serious you are even though it is volunteer,” said Gillivan. “I passionately believe in paying it forward, especially to younger people so I am naturally attracted to what you guys stand for.”
Her passion for the community, young people, and encouraging immigration to our region is contagious. You don’t have to listen to her long to want to jump in and start working towards a better, stronger city.
“First, I think as a community, on one side we need to sit and listen to our indigenous communities … and that’s going to take patience and time and trust. And on the other side you need to do the same thing with immigrants. You need to listen but they also need to be open to culturally stretching themselves out of their comfort zone.”
She said she wants to help people be part Canada and add to our culture. “Let people find their own pathways to success,” she said.
As Fusion marks its 10th year in Halifax Gillivan said the group should be proud of what it’s done so far.
“I think you’ve changed the perception of what older or mid-range leaders would have thought about younger people, who you are,” said Gillivan. “I think Fusion’s changed how people, especially in local city politics and employers, are looking at you guys.”
Looking ahead to the next 10 years Gillivan’s focus is still on making the community stronger but said the main way to do that now is to slow down and listen.
“I think if you can continue on the path you’re on but really think about how do you blend all the different founding cultures with the immigrant cultures together … and look at how you can carve a path forward,” she said. “You’re a very powerful force and I don’t know how powerful you could be.”