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Meet Jenn Deon, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Social Change — Regional Impact Finalist

Jenn Deon is known as a woman who makes things happen. After many years working as an accredited business communicator, Jenn’s professional trajectory was profoundly altered in January 2017 while attending the Women’s March in Washington, DC, as part of a worldwide movement and call to action. She responded by returning home with the idea and drive to found the PerSIStence Theatre Company, an intersectional feminist organization that would use the power of professional storytelling to change hearts and minds. Quickly joined by others who shared Jenn’s vision, the company was up and running by April 2017 with a $25,000 angel start-up investment. Also in 2017, as part of the national response to the #MeToo movement, Jenn became trained as a facilitator of Respectful Workplace workshops, conducted with dozens of organizations across Canada. By 2019, Jenn had shuttered her own consultancy business to devote full-time attention to PerSIStence and now, in 2023, PerSIStence is a well-respected and registered charity with an annual budget of $500k. For her work, Jenn is a recipient of a Woman of Distinction Award from the YWCA St. John’s, a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was twice nominated for the NL Human Rights Award.


The moment I knew I wanted to catalyze social change was… a day shared by millions of women across the world: the day after the 2016 U.S. election. The results shocked so many of us and caused us to realize that things had to change.

My mission aims to… create a positive impact by generating professional opportunities for women and other marginalized persons; by responding to issues that impact women and girls in my community; and by creating a community of allies that can come together to empower and support each other.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a change leader is… how to make space for and amplify the voices of others who may have been previously underrepresented.

My proudest accomplishment is… creating a community that unites all those impacted by patriarchy, and that helps each individual know that they are not alone.

The biggest risk I took that paid off was… leaving behind my consultancy business to run PerSIStence and discovering rewards that go far beyond the financial.

One of the most important lessons I’ve gained from my experience within the sector is… that feminism is a constant journey, not an achievement box to be checked off.

I surprise people when I tell them… that I struggle to overcome self-doubt and anxiety. I often have to remind myself to “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.”

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would use it to… nap! Often, especially as women, we devalue the process of recharging our batteries. I have learned that if I do not take the time to do so, the rest of what I want to achieve will suffer.  

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… well, very little! I have always tried to be open about my experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, knowing that they might be of value to others.

The future excites me because… every day, feminism is becoming the norm as opposed to the radicalized. In every sphere, awareness of patriarchy and calls for economic, social, political, and personal equality are growing. There is still so much work to be done, but I feel bolstered and inspired by those around me.


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