Chief Executive Officer of Jake's House
Fighting for a Cause
An accomplished charity executive, a loving mother, and a natural leader, Jennifer Joseph contributes to her community in countless, significant ways. Passionate about helping children realize their potential, Jennifer began her career in early childhood education, enriching students' lives as a Certified Ontario College Teacher for many years. In 2010, seeking new ways to empower youth, Jennifer began volunteering for Jake’s House and instantly connected with the cause. Driven by both her compassion and ambition, Jennifer started to identify opportunities to help the charity do more while also supporting Co-founders David & Irene Bodanis with private asset management for high net-worth individuals.
After years of committed service, in 2015, Jennifer was appointed Executive Director at Jake’s House, and in 2018, was promoted to CEO. Jennifer quickly made an impressive impact by applying her strong business acumen, relationship-building abilities, and empathetic, nurturing nature. In 2017, inspiring support from the Province of Ontario and developing key community partnerships, she spearheaded the creation and launch of the Legends Mentoring Program. In 2019, Jennifer developed and implemented Jake’s House Employment Mentoring, a federally-funded, innovative program that supports the integration of young adults with autism into the workforce. Jennifer is now focused on expanding these programs across the country while also committing to finding and delivering solutions to address Canada’s growing housing gap for the aging autism community.
In addition to driving the strategy and execution of Jake’s House programs and events. A true mentor invested in both the charity’s and her employees’ success, Jennifer has personally guided each new member to discover how to thrive within the Jake’s House culture and uniquely support the team’s shared goals.
Jennifer is always advocating for women leaders and ensuring their success through mentorship, coaching, and guidance. She does this by encouraging women hires in leadership roles and making herself available to provide mentoring opportunities. She leads by example through her compassion, confidence, and ability to foster a creative and inclusive working environment.
Without question, Jennifer brings the best of both of her parent's strengths to both her personal and professional lives while consistently applying her Mother and Father's morals and work ethic. Jennifer’s father, Peter, always calm in demeanor, imparted into her a stoic approach of commitment and dedication through example throughout his 40-year work career – all to the service and benefit of a single-family business. Jennifer’s mother, Mena, had an equal commitment and passion towards her trade but applied it slightly more entrepreneurially. The combination of influences from both of her parents has allowed Jennifer to be far greater than the sum of her collective parts. Jennifer lives by a simple creed – Family first, then business and charity.
Given that Jennifer is very close in age to their children, it comes as no surprise that Jennifer has been heard over time to refer to the Jake’s House Co-Founders as her “work parents.” Jennifer has been supporting both their personal and professional lived experiences for over a decade. Jennifer has drawn lines of similarities to that of her parents concerning their morals and ethics, witnessing them firsthand over the years – noting that in particular with Co-Founder Irene Bodanis and the raising of her three sons over 30 years, that Irene always put their needs before her own. It is not surprising that the same values and sentiments have found their way into the charity – a lesson that Jennifer has taken to heart. Through her unique life experiences, Jennifer has developed insight and wisdom rarely seen in today’s world of instant judgment and comparison. Jennifer evidences a timeless approach towards family values, traditional or otherwise, that have assisted her in leading Jake’s House to new heights.
Jake’s House has been fortunate with support from all levels of the community. Having said all of that, this charity's essential lifeline stems from all of the young people that make up its volunteer base. The organization spent 20 years growing a family network that now includes leaders from all levels of government. There are countless dozens from leading corporate entities that are now embracing and supporting Jake’s House. Community leaders that number too many to count now support the cause. IEWL
Chief Executive Officer of Jake's House
Our mission is to provide meaningful support to children and families living with autism across Canada. As a community that personally understands and cares, we provide practical help and lasting hope to families living with autism. We mobilize support across Canada and make social impact through three main initiatives.