Our People. Their Stories - Jennifer Taylor

Every day, Medavie's team of more than 8,000 professionals work to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. Join us as they share their stories and show how we deliver on our mission and bring our values to life. These are the people who make Medavie what it is today.

Jennifer Taylor (she/her)
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

BMH Jennifer T resize
Black History Month, Medavie

Medavie’s first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Jennifer Taylor, brings a diverse background to her role, having worked for some of the biggest name brands in the world. Before joining Medavie in 2017, she led marketing, communications, training and brand repositioning strategies for Elizabeth Arden, a subsidiary of Revlon, Aveda Canada and Red Bull Canada, global market leaders for cosmetics, hair and skin products and energy drinks.

“Being in roles in communications and brand, you have the opportunity to impact culture. Not only are you leading the tone and supporting the narrative of creating an inclusive culture you get the opportunity to elevate diverse voices and inspire positive change.”

Leads DEI strategy

In her role as Director DEI, Jennifer leads the execution of Medavie’s DEI strategy, collaborating with teams across the organization on the development, implementation, promotion and evaluation of Medavie’s DEI initiatives while monitoring emerging trends to inform future endeavours.

“Although this is a new role, it’s not new to society, and it’s a growing, important field. I see myself as someone with the ability to influence. My Dad was in sales, so perhaps I learned a thing or two. I love change and delivering impactful change to make things better.”

Until her appointment, Jennifer had been “doing DEI on the side of her desk” in her roles as Manager of Corporate Communications and as Manager of Brand and Creative Services. The work she did — from leading Medavie’s month-long Pride celebrations to supporting the update of forms to be inclusive —inspired her to apply for the director position.

Guided tours in Australia

Jennifer has always been willing to go expand her horizons. When she was in her early 20s, she and her sister moved to Australia’s Gold Coast where they landed jobs as tour guides for a country they knew little about.

“My sister was the bus driver, and I was the tour coordinator.”

When asked what her proudest professional achievement has been, Jennifer quickly answers: “Getting this (the DEI Director) job.

“Having the opportunity to impact the organization every day advancing our DEI strategy inspires me professionally and personally.”

The most gratifying part of her role is hearing from employees about the impact the DEI strategy has had on their lives.

“When an employee has shared with me that they feel like they belong here and don’t need to hide who they are, they feel valued and can share their perspectives. I love, love, love hearing these stories”.

Supporting single mothers

Jennifer draws on plenty of real-world experience to support her in this position. For example, as Director of Institutes & Academy for Aveda Canada, she led many programs to support underrepresented groups at one of Canada’s top hairstyling schools and collaborated with community partners like the YWCA Toronto to support single mothers in preparing for job interviews.

As National Communications and Education Manager for Elizabeth Arden, she played key roles in change management projects like the largest cosmetic repositioning strategy for some of North America’s largest retailers. The scope of work ranged from making sure foundations and colour products supported the diverse skin types of Canadians and creating skincare resources to help people feel their best.

As global liaison for Aveda Canada and Elizabeth Arden, Jennifer gained valuable insight into how product R&D, education and communication can positively affect culture in different countries. This, in turn, opened her eyes to the world around her more broadly and heightened her cultural awareness.

Envisioning her future

On a personal level, her proudest achievement is becoming a mother to two daughters.

“I travelled for many years around the world, working in corporate society but spent many days alone. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and I was worried that it wouldn’t happen. I created a vision board of my future that included children and focused on how I was going to get there, and it happened. I want to say this was not as easy as it sounds, but it is one of my proudest moments to get to watch them grow into change agents for the future!”

She, her husband Giles, and their children share a home in Halifax with a cat named Alfie. She practices Moksha yoga, enjoys skiing and sailing and somehow finds the time for scholarly activities. A graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University’s Business Administration program, Jennifer holds a Harvard Mentorship Certificate from Harvard University and a Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Dalhousie University.

Jennifer is now looking at Medavie through her sharp DEI lens to focus her efforts on “fostering a culture of belonging where everyone is valued for who they are and what they contribute” — the vision for Medavie’s DEI strategy.

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