Jen Temple is an asset manager with Trademark Group of Companies. But to say that her official title doesn’t quite encapsulate all that she does would be an understatement.
Temple builds community around her, connecting businesses with residents and neighbours with neighbours.
In her work, she is in charge of everything from land development to property management. On a typical day — if there is such a thing — she can be looking after broken pipes, knocking down icicles to make pathways safe, and getting through paperwork.
The most challenging thing for her, she said, is “being able to just switch from one thing to the next.”
It might be the most challenging aspect of the job, but it’s also what Temple does best.
She’s a powerhouse in the local business community, but she might be better known as a community cornerstone who lends a helping hand whenever one is needed.
When Temple saw the Clayton area first constructed years ago, she knew it “didn’t really have an identity.”
In its infancy, Clayton “had all these houses but nothing for people to really do in the area,” she said.
Now, she would place the area in its teenage years. “Clayton is getting there. It has great pockets where people know each other and look out for each other. And it has other areas where people are disengaged.”
Her goal, she said, is to make everyone come together.
She’s been thrilled to see new community features come to life, including the local dog park, the community garden, the new Clayton Farmer’s Market, and the little libraries that launched just last month.
In many ways, she led the way in creating community projects when she launched the Clayton Community Festival. The massive, family-friendly festival takes place every year at her company’s Hillcrest Village and the neighbouring Clayton Crossing shopping centre.
She went further, founding the Clayton Heights Activity Team, a program that helps connect youth with their community. The program has been running successfully for two years, working to connect Clayton youth with a support system. Teens and mentors eat dinner together, listen to guest speakers, and participate in activities including screen printing and baking.
It’s a place where kids can be themselves. “It’s about reconnecting them to support systems and just being there for them,” she said.
When Temple sees an opportunity where she can help out the vulnerable, and connect them with resources, she takes it. It’s part of the reason why she has been volunteering for the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper and the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk, which raises money for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, for years.
“We can change peoples lives and make a difference,” she said. “When you see people struggling it just really breaks my heart.”
“I’ve been blessed to be as fortunate as I am, and so to be able to give back is everything,” she said.
It’s also important for her as a mother. She wants her kids to see how they can make a difference in their community as well. “It’s really just about community, right? It’s about everybody working together.”
When her youngest son was small, he faced serious health challenges. At the lowest point, he was near death. Thankfully, he made it through. During that time, “when we were struggling, community rallied around us,” said Temple. “It made a difference for us.”
It’s part of what informs her volunteer work.
Balancing her career —which isn’t exactly a 9-to-5 job— her extensive community work and her family life is a challenge that she struggles with daily.
She gets through it all with the support of her husband and family.
“Women are strong. There’s nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it. No matter how busy life gets, if we want something bad enough we will go after it,” she said.
“You always give stuff to busy people because they get it done,” she said, laughing.
And Temple is nothing if not a busy person.
When it comes down to it though, no matter how much is on her plate, giving back is part of who she is. “It fills my cup. It makes me feel good. I feel like I need to.
“I’m drawn to help.”