It was a beautiful Tuesday evening in the Byward Market courtyard. The air was crisp and we had the pleasure of listening to live music that was playing in the background. With a 6 inch ice-cream cone in our hands (thank you Sweet Jesus), we sat down with one of the most courageous women we have had the opportunity to meet this month.
Jenna Hamlyn is a creative 28 year old professional with a beautiful heart residing in Ottawa, Ontario. Interior decorator by day, florist by night and wedding planner by the weekend, she is what we love to call a Go-GETTER! Aside from her ambitious spirit and being a woman of many talents, she decided to do something that the majority of us women would be hesitant to do in our lifetimes.
Jenna decided to shave her head for cancer.
Ever since she could remember, Jenna has always participated in helping to raise money for cancer research. Similar to many of us, her family was affected by this modern day plague at an early age. She lost one of her grandmother’s just as she was born and one of her grandfathers when she was six years old. This year alone, she knows at least 12 people that are diagnosed with a type of cancer. As Breast Cancer Awareness month started to arrive, she started getting ready to fundraise. As always, she took part in events such as CIBC Run for the Cure and other fundraising initiatives for cancer research, but this year she wanted to do something more in hoping to create a bigger impact. Jenna wanted to raise $1000 for The Canadian Cancer Society and with her goal in mind, she wanted to make sure she got the attention of others. Not only did she surpass her goal, she decided that because of the amount of encouragement and positivity she received, she would make her shave off event live on FB!
You always have support from your networks, no matter what!
Currently, Jenna works full time as an interior decorator and social media strategist for Randall’s Decorating Centre. On the weekends she is a florist, wedding stylist and a wedding planner at Satin and Snow, a well-known wedding planning company that caters to Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto. Remember when we said she’s a woman of many talents? We weren’t lying! Jenna went to school for interior decorating and throughout her career, she met Brittany, the owner of Satin and Snow, through a mutual friend. Event design has always intrigued Jenna, so she came on board as a lead wedding planner and stylist for Satin and Snow. Two years later, her love for florals eventually led her to pursue her own business with her mother, Amethyst Floral, which has been flourishing successfully since its launch.
“My mom and I didn’t always see eye to eye. It was only when I moved out and started to mature, that we started to grow close. She became my role model. I was able to see her strength in being not only my mom but a single mom and everything she sacrificed in order to raise her children. Going into business with my mom has been great! It started out as arranging flowers for my wedding but then it turned into a business. My mom loved doing it and so I thought why not?”
Jenna is a perfect example of the DiscoverHERproject’s #HustleAndHeartAttitude. If you thought her ambitious spirit ended with being an interior decorator, event planner and owning a floral company, you thought wrong! She wants to help people in any way she can. She wants to spread awareness and educate others in matters that aren’t well known in today’s society. One of Jenna’s personal goals is to start a wellness centre or a support group to help those who feel alienated or feel like they need to handle things alone. She is still in the early stages of planning and looking at different ideas, but she hopes to one day turn it into a career.
There are so many people fighting a battle that we don’t know about. I want to help those people.
This Thanksgiving, Jenna is most thankful for her family and friends for the ultimate support and the generosity she has received for shaving her hair off for The Canadian Cancer Society. She cannot believe how much love and support that she’s received! When thinking back to a time where she recognized the kindest gesture a person did for her, she thought of a childhood story where her aunt gave her mom some hand-me-down clothing to surprise the family with since they couldn’t afford any new clothes that summer, which they now loved to call Christmas In July. It was truly a Christmas miracle and tale to tell!
You know when you have an idea that seems unconventional, even crazy or risky? When you don’t know if this idea is the right move until you’ve already acted on it? There’s a measured risk in these unconventional ideas, but after it’s put into action, you look for some sort of sign that tells you whether you made the right decision or not. Well, Jenna got a sign, alright! It was her husband that was shaving her hair, and at the end of it, the song, I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair by Brett Kissel came on the radio…
Jenna’s initial mission was to raise awareness for the dire need to find a cure for cancer, but her efforts have turned into something more. The amount of love, positivity, encouragement and stories that were shared by her colleagues, friends, family and even strangers that have been affected by cancer wasn’t something that she was expecting. But for some, it wasn’t only about cancer, Jenna became an inspiration and created a beautiful statement. Things don’t make you beautiful, it is the person and the heart that you have that make you beautiful. Unintentionally, Jenna opened our minds and reminded us about gratitude. She reminded us that there are so many things to be grateful for in our lives, big and small. If you are passionate about something, pursue it! If you want to raise funds for an organization that’s close to your heart, then do it! Whether the gesture is big or small, size doesn’t matter. Just remember that no matter what you do, you are making a difference and you could be making an impact in someone’s life.
There’s no magic formula to life and things are overrated. You make a good life by just living; being able to travel and helping others.
Founded on an ambition of helping girls succeed in becoming their best selves, DiscoverHER Project advocates the right to education for girls and women around the world. We aim to educate, invest, and empower in young women globally by offering a platform with programs, tools, and resources to enable them to succeed.