As Senior Project Manager, Karen LeBlanc oversees most of the major projects at the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI). Karen has worked both for profit and non-profit organizations alike and says that she prefers working for the latter as it is much more rewarding. Outside of her role at JEDI, Karen possesses some serious artistic abilities that she has been able to turn into an entrepreneurial venture of her own.
How long have you been with JEDI and what is your position?
I started at the Aboriginal Workforce Development Initiative (AWDI) in October of 2009 and in 2012, AWDI and JEDI merged under JEDI. I was the Executive Director of AWDI and then became the Senior Project Manager for JEDI.
What is your favorite thing about working at JEDI?
I love my job and the people I work with. As an organization, JEDI offers an excellent work environment and a close-knit team environment where employees tend to work very well together on projects and initiatives.
Can you talk about some of the roles and responsibilities you have at JEDI?
I work on various proposals for government projects as well as negotiating project agreements and contracts with funding partners – thus project staff members report to me. I am also a member of the management team and I maintain relationships with our funding and other partners.
What are your goals in your current position?
My goals are to continue to monitor existing projects and to prepare proposals for the next fiscal year. In addition, I plan to continue to monitor staff and targets for the projects to ensure targets are met. Also, I plan to eventually mentor someone to take over my position when I retire.
So, tell me a little bit about yourself…
I was born in Fredericton (many years ago!) and then I grew up in Newcastle (Miramichi) and Hampton, NB. I’ve been in the Fredericton area for over 40 years! I was married at age 20 and when my marriage ended, I went back to school as a mature student and single mother of 2 boys. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with an Honours in Sociology in 1990 and a Masters of Education in 1999. I met my second husband, Eric LeBlanc in 1985; we were married in 1996. We live on the Saint John River where I have a weaving studio and gallery.
What is your work and education background?
In addition to what I previously mentioned, I’ve completed a Business Certificate and Human Resources Certificate at UNB. I have also taken several weaving courses including Jacquard Weaving, which is a highly technical form of computer weaving.
What makes you unique (both as a JEDI employee and as an individual)?
I have a Masters in Adult Education and I am a fibre artist. I have used my M.Ed. every day in the work I do – we educate people about First Nations, JEDI projects and initiatives and Reconciliation. As a fibre artist, I am very proud of my accomplishments and my international exhibitions.
Anything you’d like to add?
I plan to retire at the end of 2019 if the sun, the moon and the stars line up appropriately!