Laurier Grads Soar is a multi-part series that has returned for the 2017-18 year. The segment features former Wilfrid Laurier University athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department, and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, different features will be released throughout the year that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.Jennifer Elliott: Sports Information Officer, uOttawa Gee-Gees
Jen Elliott remembers it very well.
Graduating from high school, apprehensive and un-sure about taking the next step towards a future career and, then, there was everything else that goes through the mind of a teenager.
For Elliott, the nerves, tension and anxiety, calmed quickly when she, and her family, took a trip to Wilfrid Laurier University. Her parents had met and later graduated from the University of Waterloo, but Elliott met her match somewhere else.
“I was an artsy kid, very program oriented and during my university search was really focused on where I would spend my next few years,” said Elliott.
“But it was the school visit to Laurier that did it for me. The welcoming atmosphere (at Laurier) left me with a great feeling - and the courses were interesting and what I had wanted. I just knew I had to be there and Laurier was for me.”
With her ambitions openly discussed, Elliott also wasn’t about to part ways with her fondness for athletics – but, despite being chosen as the top female athlete in her graduating high school year, university was a new world for her.
Not a star competitor, by her own accounts, and nicely acclimated to life at Laurier, Elliott took a different turn in the world of athletics and recreation.
Instead of competing for a spot on a varsity squad, she became involved in an array of other activities that included the Women’s Athletic Association (co-President one year) and Student Union to events planning and extensive volunteer work.
“To be honest, I was never serious about competing in varsity sports,” she recalled. “For me, I wanted the other aspect of university athletics. I really enjoyed taking on major responsibilities, like Homecoming, and being behind the scene at games. That was a big thing for me.”
Elliott didn’t rule out keeping fit and participated in several intramural sports from basketball and volleyball to playing goal on the team that went on to win the inner tube water polo championship.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Degree in Communications, with a Business Administration option, Elliott wasn’t done learning. Closer to home, she took the post-grad program in Sports Business Management at Durham College in Oshawa.
“I learned an incredible amount at Laurier, topped it off at Durham and was comfortable to go after a job knowing that I had strong skills, quality, stability and passion,” she said.
Elliott worked at Canada Basketball with the on site management, special events and communications planning of all administrative details for the National Elite Development Academy men's and women's teams.
When an opportunity developed at the University of Ottawa, it was time for Elliott to make the move – first, as Varsity Events Coordinator followed by the duties as Sports and Events Coordinator. In 2016, stunningly gifted in her field, the job of Sports Information Officer was hers having shown she could handle the transition from event management responsibilities to sports communication.
“I have enjoyed the job so much,” she said. “You never forget how it all started, the hard work and determination. I am very fortunate and I also keep learning.”
Elliott was also part of the Canadian delegation at two World University sports championships – the Universiades of 2013 in Russia and 2015 in South Korea.
“I am very thankful to Laurier and the many friends in the WLU Athletics Department,” said Elliott. “It was a big part of my life and a place that was something special to me. I knew that after leaving Laurier, I had learned what was needed to function in a career.”
-END-David Grossman is a veteran award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 40+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.Previous FeaturesSteve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay LightningSophie Kotsopoulos - Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueMike McKenna - Former Director, Telecom, Media and Technology Investment BankingNicole Lee - Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey LeagueMike Bartlett - Executive Director, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment FoundationRebecca Watts - Manager, 2017 World Junior Hockey ChampionshipHugh Lawson - Director of Business Development, Staples Promotional ProductsCheryl Pounder - Former Canadian National Women's Hockey Team MemberJohn Morris - 2010 Olympic Men's Curling Gold MedalistBill Burke - Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Niagara Ice DogsTania Pedron - Manager of Administration and Operations, Maple Leafs Sport and EntertainmentWayne Kemick - BMO Wealth AdvisorDenise Burke - President, Niagara Ice DogsKevin McDonald - Vice President of Football Operations and Player Safety, CFLDr. Megan Yaraskavitch - NeurologistAndrew Agro - Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development, New York JetsMarcia Powers-Dunlop - Senior Manager of Professional Support Services, Toronto District School BoardJoe Vernon - Lawyer, Miller CanfieldEmily Rudow - Founder, Oneiric HockeyTodd Cooney - Vice President and Broker, CBRE Limited