At Taylor Newberry Consulting we are grateful to be able to connect to incredibly talented, passionate and dedicated individuals. We are especially fortunate that some of these individuals have chosen to call themselves “TNCers”. We are continually inspired by members of our staff who share laughs, values, and learnings. Each month our website will feature a different member of our staff who will share a little bit about their work and a glimpse into their life.
This month, Karla sat down with Jen Dalton to get to know more about her and her work. Karla first met Jen in 2018 when she signed on to be a TNC Co-Researcher with the Community Food Centres Canada Market Greens evaluation. Jen kept in touch with participants in Stratford, collecting their perspectives on the program through surveys and interviews. Karla remembers Jen’s warmth, passion and personality shining through in those written transcripts and also remembers the incredibly organized and detailed spreadsheets that Jen created to track participant data. Jen’s contributions to TNC grew from there, as she provided logistical support to a growing number of TNC projects. Eventually, it became obvious that we needed to create a completely new full-time position for Jen. Recently, she became the full-time Administrative Lead at TNC. She has already made many TNC processes and policies clearer and more efficient.
Karla: What is your favorite thing about working at TNC?
Jen: I would have to say the people that I work with. I think TNC is very welcoming and everybody’s so caring and compassionate in the organization that it just makes it a great place to work.
Karla: I feel that too. Could you tell me a little bit about one or two projects that you’re currently working on or just some projects from the past that you’ve really enjoyed and anything that you’ve learned from them?
Jen: So a project from the past that I enjoyed, probably the one I enjoyed the most was the Market Greens program. I really enjoyed interacting with the people in my community and being able to… just knowing that I was helping people and being able to talk to them and just give them somebody to talk to sometimes was all they needed to get out there. So that was probably my favorite one that I’ve worked on. And then most recently I have been helping with the Lutherwood project with some scheduling, more admin side of things, and I’ve really enjoyed doing that and getting to know the TNC team members that are working on that project.
Karla: That’s awesome. And you’re in kind of in a cool role at TNC because you started out as a researcher for the Market Greens project and now you’re also the administrative lead for TNC. Is there something that you like about each of those roles?
Jen: Yeah, I like being interactive in the projects and being able to connect with people. But in the admin role, it’s nice to be able to do some of the background work and not necessarily separate myself, but I like being organized. So I enjoy organizing things and setting up new ways to do things. And that’s something else that I really enjoy about TNC, you know, everybody’s got an open mind. So if you come up with a new idea everybody is willing to listen and eager to learn.
Karla: TNC is hugely benefiting from all of the insights and skills that you’re bringing to the admin role. It’s a new role at TNC and now I can’t imagine TNC without you leading all of that work and keeping things so organized. So we really appreciate it.
Jen: I’m glad.
Karla: What’s one of your favorite memories from the past few months at TNC?
Jen: I have to say our Christmas party. I’ve actually never done another virtual gathering except with my kids and I thought that was really fun, the way we were interactive and playing games, and it was a neat way to get to know the staff members that I haven’t directly worked with. I get to know their personalities and see what everybody’s liked when they just let go.
Karla: Yeah, that was a really fun afternoon. What’s something outside of work that made you smile this week, or makes you smile in general?
Jen: Well, just this week I’ve been sick, so not much with all the sleeping. In general though, I would say every day I actually go for a walk when the sun comes up. So my walks got later and later as the days got shorter, but now that the days are getting longer, as soon as the sun comes up, I go for a walk and it just starts my day with a smile. I have pictures of every sunrise for the last few months, and it’s really neat to look back and see them.
Karla: That’d be such a cool album to take a look at. And you’ve shared a few with the team and they are really beautiful. And then the last question is to finish this sentence “when I’m not working at TNC, I’m most likely…”
Jen: To be outside. Most likely to be outside in the summertime. I’ll be in my garden or doing yard work. I often go hiking, fishing, or camping. Not necessarily camping in the winter but still out enjoying the sun and hiking and ice fishing if I am lucky. I usually have my camera with me. I love taking photos of almost anything. It’s a hobby that pays for itself. I started out taking photos of my kids and ended up working with a great photographer who taught me alot we still work together on big projects or events. I often get asked to do weddings or family photos which is a lot of fun getting to know people and what makes them smile. I have even had a few publications in calendars and newspapers which is pretty exciting. My favorite thing to photograph is the sky, it is always changing and if you can catch a storm coming in, it’s always exciting. I managed to catch some cold core funnels in the spring which was both scary and exciting. Last year I learned about night photography and was able to capture some photos of the milky way and comet NEOWISE. This year I have decided to spend time with my lens ball and I am really excited to take that out to the trails with me and capture some abstract nature photos.
Karla: That’s so cool. You took some really beautiful photos that sort of captured the essence of Market Greens back when we were doing that project too. I loved being able to include them in our reports. I hope you’ll share some more of the photos you take with us!