Philanthropist. Mom to two. U2 Superfan. Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. Founder of NetworkingInVan.com. Superwoman? We think so! Meet the fierce, driven & oh-so-funny Jen Schaeffers. 

LWTL: On a typical Tuesday night at 9pm what would we find you doing?

JS: Thankfully by 9pm both my children are usually fast asleep and I’ve cleaned up dinner and toys. I would likely be doing one of the following: posting a blog to NetworkinginVan.com, making a casserole for the next day’s dinner, coming back from a run or figuring out the week’s logistics with my husband (sometimes this actually occurs all on the same night).

LWTL: Who is your best friend? What makes your friendship special?

JS: I am grateful to have a few incredibly close friendships. One of my closest friends is Jane. Jane and I met a few years ago at a mommy group when on our first maternity leave. I was thankful to find a mom that had loved working as much as I did and was somewhat shell shocked with how drastically our lives had just changed (for the better of course!). Jane is an incredibly loving, supportive and non-judgemental friend. She is kind, generous and damn funny. I kind of adore her. We can lament about motherhood and cheer about motherhood within the same sentence and can laugh about anything, including ourselves.

LWTL: Describe a time when a woman has helped you or you’ve helped another woman? 

JS: I was lucky enough to participate in the WXN Top 100 Mentorship Program in 2011 and was mentored by former Editor-in-Chief of the Vancouver Sun, Patricia Graham. Throughout the year, she helped me tremendously – through teaching me the importance of saying no (I am a bit of a yes girl) and helping me stay focused in both family and at work.

LWTL: If you could trade shoes with someone for a day who would it be and why?

JS: Perhaps Bono needs a new Executive Assistant? As long as that job includes swilling beers with the rest of the lads in a highfalutin pub in Dublin, I am there.

jschaeffers-web-8888LWTL: How do you stay connected with your girlfriends? 

JS: In person. I am pretty well known for planning “girls night out” dinners and cocktails. Nothing is better than sharing a meal and wine with close friends. When life gets insanely busy – phone, text and email suffice. I try really hard to never be too “busy” to stay truly connected with the most important people in my world.

LWTL: Virtue & Vice? 

JS: I am very positive, I wake up happy! However, I do have an unhealthy obsession with really good chocolate. Think Mink Chocolates and Thomas Haas. Don’t leave me alone with a bottle of prosecco either!

LWTL: What is your favourite quote? 

JS: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

LWTL: Hot topics when you are hanging with your girlfriends? 

JS: It depends what group of girlfriends! It can range from kids, music, great running routes, career advice, how we’re going to take over the world (lol) and just everyday life stuff.

LWTL: What has been your biggest challenge?  How did you overcome it? 

JS: Like most girls growing up I developed self worth issues. I put myself down a lot and even though I exuded confidence on the outside, I truly didn’t believe in myself. I compared myself with prettier girls, skinnier girls, girls who had boyfriends. And those issues carried themselves into my adult life too. I realized the importance of working on myself. I realized that there is no “you complete me”…I learned to complete myself. Once you love yourself and are kind with yourself – then you give others the ability to love you more. This is a work in progress for me. Books, experience, motherhood and making decisions that align with my core values have all helped. I highly recommend the book “Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I am so much happier at 35 than I was at 25. I wish I would’ve figured some of this stuff out sooner.

LWTL: Fill in the blanks:

I am COMPASSIONATE

Friends are VITAL TO A HAPPY LIFE

Love is PLENTIFUL

If more women helped one another BAD REALITY TV WOULDN’T EXIST

One thing I would change about myself is TO BE MORE PATIENT (with others & myself)

One thing I love about myself is MY POSITIVITY

LWTL: Name a woman who inspires you and tell us why? 

I have come to know Janet Austin, CEO YWCA Vancouver and admire her immensely for her integrity and how she shows up in her community. She is a force to be reckoned with and everything I have seen her take on she does with tenacity, compassion and authenticity. Let’s just say I am in awe and totally inspired.

LWTL: What piece of advice would you tell women getting started in their career?

JS: Build your network before you need it. Take initiative, ask for opportunities, volunteer, avoid gossip, seek out a mentor and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You have a lifetime to develop your career.

LWTL: What was the last book you read?

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown. It’s a must ladies! Life changing.

jsLWTL: What does being a woman mean to you? What makes you proud to be a woman? 

JS: My mother taught me the importance of class – to take the high road, even if it hurts. To be grateful, compassionate, to laugh and to be kind to others. And above all to be fabulous!

I think women are incredibly strong, dynamic and resilient. I am constantly inspired by the selflessness I see in other women and how much women sacrifice for their families.

LWTL:  you could share one piece of advice with other women what would it be?

JS: Be kind with your words – both to yourself and others. Remember, a young girl is watching you and how you speak to yourself and others is often how they learn too.

Jen Schaeffers is the Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund and Founder of NetworkinginVan.com.  She is a firm believer in the power of networks and how people can help one another in their road to success (whatever that looks like!).  Follow her on Twitter at @JenU2.