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Meet Jackie Dean, COO of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts


Over the past 15 years, Jackie Dean has been instrumental in building the business direction and strategies of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences/The Juno Awards & MusiCounts and shaping it into what it has become today. She has worked tirelessly to support the mandate of the organization within the Canadian music industry: to promote awareness and education on how the Canadian music industry is structured; the importance of music education and how it needs to be rebuilt to support the past downturn in the industry; and to focus on fair compensation for creators and the ever changing digital age to make the music industry sustainable in Canada.




My first job ever was… A paper route at the age of 10 and I haven’t been out of a job since. Gave up the paper route though.


I decided to pursue my field because… I love music, and I love building things and making change for the better. Strategic forward thinking is something I have always enjoyed and at CARAS, I get to exercise that daily by concentrating on the core backbone of our business to meet our mandate. In addition, being COO with a CPA background is a strong combination that gets results in any organization.    


My proudest accomplishment is… My two children, Jessica, 16 and Jake, 14. I have taught them compassion, kindness, and to go after your dreams and never give up.  


My boldest move to date was… That is a hard one. I do a lot of bold things. My mom is constantly shaking her head. But in any situation, I always stay true to my values. It’s not always easy, but I will challenge anyone to do the right thing. It does not matter who it is, what position they hold or what boardroom we are in.


I surprise people when I tell them… My brother is an explosives expert in the Canadian military.


My best advice to people starting their career is… Listen and then listen some more. Read and then read some more. The greatest learning tools you can have are the experiences you have and those from others.  Most things just take effort and elbow grease. Work hard, you will see the results. Meet with people, call people. Live conversations create the best relationships and you will get better results than via email.  


My best advice from a mentor was… With power comes great responsibility.


Listen and then listen some more. Read and then read some more. The greatest learning tools you can have are the experiences you have and those from others.


My biggest setback was… My divorce. It was really hard.  


I overcame it by… Just kept moving forward and never gave up on my happiness.


Work/life balance is… Insane, but AMAZINGLY fun. My children are everything to me and it’s my responsibility to make sure they are great people, the key to which is being present and listening to them.  (you can answer email at the hockey rink, baseball field and horse barn if no one is looking). I work really hard, but I also spend a significant amount of time with my children. They come first because seeing them happy and succeeding is my greatest passion. If you do anything great in your life, be a good parent.


If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m just a girl from a small town in northern Ontario. My parents are immigrants from Europe who came to Canada in 1966 with $250 in their pockets looking for the chance to give their children every opportunity possible. They were successful in doing that and I took full advantage of it.  


I stay inspired by… The women I’m surrounded with! Our team at The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts is 80% women, and are some of the strongest, most creative women I know. They are passionate about the music industry and dedicated to everything we do to support and celebrate talent, as well as the charitable work that we do through music education within communities across the country. They inspire me to push the boundaries and do our part in evolving our industry every day.  


The future excites me … Because Canadian music and artists are being recognized on the world stage. This raises the profile of the music industry in general and in turn inspires more young people to explore music as a passion and as a career. Our newly refined mandate is to Educate, Develop, Celebrate and Honour all musicians from the early class room years to those inducted into our Canadian Music Hall of Fame. This will help lay the future foundation of support for all Canadian musicians of all ages to ensure the great talent this country has to offer. I am very proud to be a part of it all.


My next step is… Working towards diverse representation in the music industry, where we see a broader spectrum of age, gender and race. Within my sphere of influence, I’d like to believe we’ve taken major strides to start making a difference. Canada is an extremely advantaged country in that we have so many cultures and opportunities. We need to capitalize on that. The Canadian music industry has been able to elevate genres from all over the world and we need to work towards fair representation of all the diverse talent. Over the coming years I plan to strategically work with all aspects of our industry on awareness and change for not only those in the music industry, but all Canadians.