At withinUs Natural Health, we are very proud and honoured to have incredible support from active members and leaders within the health and wellness community. We would like to take the time to formally introduce them to you, as they are also very integral to the withinUs Team.
It is with great honour that we present the numerous and diverse attributes that embody our very own TruAmbassador, Jen Murtagh.
Jen is a Vancouver native and CEO of the The Minerva Foundation, BC. This registered, non-profit charitable organization provides leadership skills and instills confidence in women and girls throughout British Columbia. Jen’s past roles include- Executive Director at CKNW Orphans’ Fund, Marketing Manager with the Vancouver Canucks and Director of Marketing & Communications with Sport BC. She is an active community leader who contributes to a variety of boards including WNORTH, Little Flower Academy School for Girls and the Steveston Moms Network. Jen is a ‘Business in Vancouver Forty Under 40’ alumni, and finalist for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. She is a passionate and strong mother of two, and a one-of-a-kind woman who instills empowerment and change.
Tell us about your journey that lead you to your current position at the Minerva Foundation.
Giving back and philanthropy have always run in my blood. While growing up, being of service was the most exalted value in our household. When I started my career I volunteered alongside my corporate roles but it was during a time where I was working 70 hour weeks, when I woke up one day thinking - Why am I doing this? What impact am I truly making? So I made a conscious decision to move to non-profit. After five years working as the Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans' Fund, the CEO role at Minerva came up and I jumped at it. Having my daughter Kaylee, who is now seven, has really opened my eyes to how girls are valued and objectified in the media, resulting in plummeting confidence levels. My job at Minerva directly addresses that, and through our work, we build confidence, resilience, and capacity in women leaders so they can take their rightful seat at the table.
What has your experience been like since starting at the Minerva Foundation?
Although I am just over six months in, I've grown more in this time than the last few years of my time in my previous role. At first, I must admit I grappled with 'the imposter syndrome' like so many other women do.
"Am I good enough for this role?", "Am I ready?", "What if I fail?".
I have a quote that sits by my bedside, which says "Everything you want is on the other side of fear". I am a firm believer that working in your comfort zone isn't growing you - it's on the outside of it by which the magic happens.
Describe your favourite leadership program that Minerva is involved in, and why it is your favourite.
Such a hard question!
I am passionate about everything we do, especially Minerva's decade long experience working with Indigenous women around the province. With our 'Face of Leadership' Initiative we are working with CEO's and diversity leads in the biggest companies around the province, helping commit them to action with our diversity pledge to more diverse and inclusive workplaces. My heart is truly aligned with 'Learning to Lead' which is an immersive values-based leadership weekend retreat for 50 Grade 11 girls from around the province. These young women remind us why it shouldn't take 75 years to close the gender gap!
Highlight why you believe empowerment is important for young women.
At the end of the day it's about having equal opportunity. Just because you are born a girl shouldn't mean your chance to excel to the top jobs in the world are less than boys. Sadly, this is currently the case. Women only hold 8% of Canada's top jobs. 8%!!!!! The multitude of factors behind this include unconscious bias, inflexible work environments, women feeling they aren't ready, and traditional masculine corporate environments....the list goes on. Women have so much to offer in the workplace, from their perspectives, values and the way they lead. As so poignantly said by Lisa Tallio, Minerva's Combining our Strength Director "The lack of leadership is simply the denial of your true potential". Minerva encourages the women we work with to see that potential and then build on it.
Many women have the ability to do this through Women Leading the Way, our career accelerator for high-potential women.
What makes you excited to go to work every day / your favourite thing about your job?
The work Minerva does transforms lives. I can't go more than a few days without speaking to a woman in this city who hasn't been impacted by our organization. Minerva takes an approach around values-based leadership. We believe that if you know yourself, truly know yourself (your values, strengths and how you lead) then you can build into an extraordinary leader from this. This then has the ability to create significant ripple effects - in women's lives and their community. My favourite part of my job is hearing how much better women know themselves after taking our programs and how that has been a springboard for them for so much more...whatever that looks like!
Who were some of your most influential female role-models while growing up? Who are some of your female role models today, and why?
I was greatly influenced by Mother Teresa all my life. From a very young age, I remember having a deep connection to her work and how selfless she was. Her empathy, courage and compassion are values I feel strongly aligned with.
I am currently surrounded with female role models, thanks to immersing myself in some of the women's networks in this city. Two of my local role models are Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA and Tracey McVicar, Managing Director at CAI Capital, and also a withinUs Ambassador. Both of these powerful women lead with integrity, strength and kindness. It's a beautiful thing to be able to pick up a phone when you're struggling with something and have so much authentic support on the other end.
How did you first hear about withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen?
After the birth of my second child I was lamenting over my continued hair loss to another mother. She told me how TruMarine™ Collagen had helped her hair and nails grow. I was
a bit skeptical at first, but the more I read about the product and the powerhouse women behind it - I thought, ‘sure, I’ll give it a shot’!
It typically takes 4-6 weeks to notice results after starting this collagen peptide, but personally, within a few weeks I noticed improvements in my skin complexion, and my hair stopped clogging up the drain in my shower. I was hooked after that!
What is your favourite way to ‘stir it up’?
I’m a straight up girl. Every morning I mix two scoops (10 grams) of Trumarine™ Collagen in a glass of water with my vitamin C and pro-biotic supplements and drink it up!
What benefits have you experienced since first taking withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen?
What benefits haven't I experienced?! My hair stopped falling out, my nails became stronger and grew much faster, my skin....oh my skin :) I also have noticed my joints are less achy post exercise and running.
What is your hope for the future of the Minerva Foundation?
A big, big question! I hope Minerva will continue our journey walking with Indigenous women in BC so that we can benefit from their incredible leadership in a way that will transform our businesses and country. I hope that Minerva can expand our work, transforming more lives and making greater impact with the women we serve. I hope that with our influence, organizations in BC (and hopefully Canada) will look different - that women will have equal opportunity and through this (because the research is there), our economy and communities will be stronger.
Comments will be approved before showing up.