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Still Smiling After 17 Years at CONNECT

CONNECT leader Janette Jackman, who celebrates 17 years with the company, reflects on a job that has never really felt like a job.

"I just love working here," said Janette, during an interview in Langley on August. 21. "It's hard to articulate what it's like or why I love it so much, but I honestly don't feel like it's a job. I love coming in each day, I love learning from the residents and families and staff and I love the diversity."

She said the highlight of 17 years at CONNECT, a milestone she is proud to acknowledge, has been the continual determination residents have shown and the strides they've made in their focus to create a better life for themselves following their injury or illness.

"No two days are alike here. You never know what a day will bring, no matter how much you try to plan out your schedule. The job is still challenging me, still teaching me, still so diverse."

Born in Horndean, a village in England near Portsmith, Janette's first job when she moved to Canada 17 years ago was with CONNECT.

"I started at CONNECT as a care aide when we had just one house in Langley, East House," she said. "I would do personal care, help with rehab, take residents out into the community. When it was quiet, I would clean windows, paint walls, mow the grass."

She smiled when remembering the names of the first three residents she worked with when she started.

Janette's position has evolved since her first year and she has been one of the company's key leaders for most of her career.

Her role has most recently transitioned into more operations and HR, although she insists on staying involved with the day-to-day goings on of residents.

"As we grow and open more CONNECT locations, I want to stay involved with residents. I have to maintain that connection because I enjoy it so much."

The hardest part of the job for Janette has been the significant changes the company has gone through over the years, including opening a second location in Lake Country. While she said the changes have been positive, it has been difficult to learn to let go of control and allow change to happen.

John Sherwood, Founder of CONNECT, attributes Janette with holding the heritage of CONNECT in her DNA.

"Janette was working directly with residents when we opened our second home and has supported CONNECT through many operational and cultural changes," said John. "Together we've come to realize that change is a permanent condition and, as a group, we now manage change more intentionally. I'll always be grateful for Janette's steadiness in holding CONNECT's mission when our supports weren't as robust as they are today."

"I have really enjoyed working with John and appreciate the trust he put in me from the beginning," she said.

Janette's home life keeps her just as busy as her work life with an active lifestyle and four grandchildren to chase; Lilee, 5, Lyric, 4, twins Autumn and Ella, 3, plus a newborn expected this month. She runs three times per week and does yoga once per week. She also enjoys her road bike and just earned her first biking medal for completion of the Tour de Whatcom. Trips back to England serve as a travel fix.

"I'm busy with family and try to stay healthy. Life is good at work and at home. I certainly can't complain."