Jennifer McGillivray was born in Elliot Lake, and received a degree in theatre from York University’s prestigious School of Fine Arts. She pursued a career in stage and production management working with the Canadian Opera Company and Opera Hamilton before completing a program in not-for-profit management at Ryerson University’s Chang School of Business. Jennifer has been in leadership roles at some of Canada’s finest arts institutions, including executive director for the Festival of the Sound. She has been the executive director of the SSO since 2015. Jennifer is also an experienced teacher and mentor and works with Cambrian College and Business for the Arts.
Q: What’s the number one thing you are working toward that you haven’t yet accomplished?
A: I would like to see the City of Greater Sudbury take its place as the arts and culture capital of Northern Ontario.
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?
A: The arts in Canada, particularly at the upper management level, can still seem like a bit of a boys’ club. We also find that sometimes foreign talent gets recognized more easily than domestic. I’m very proud to work with an organization whose leadership team is made up entirely of brilliant Canadian women, including our music director Mélanie Léonard, our board president Claire McChesney, and our concertmaster Beth Schneider-Gould.
Q: What are 3 things you can’t live without?
A: Books! I’m a huge reader, mostly fiction; it’s a great escape. My Wustof French chef’s knife: I love to cook and it’s the one tool I’m completely lost without. Siegfried the cat! Since my husband travels for a living there’s nothing quite like knowing there’s a warm, fuzzy presence waiting for you at the end of the day.
Q: What would be the theme song of your life?
A: “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I get the opportunity to be creative in my work. Working in a small organization means I get to keep a hand in marketing and fundraising as well as overall management. I love being able to bring music to our community, particularly to kids. I love seeing their faces when they hear a symphony for the first time.