Community Circle Profile: Jessica Rodriguez - Lean in Canada


What do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I work as a Project Coordinator at small, growth-stage company called Horizn. My favourite part of the experience is that my job constantly evolves and I get to challenge myself daily. On my spare time I write. My favourite part of writing is pushing myself to discover new ways of thinking.


What motivated you to get involved with Lean In Canada?

I heard Sarah Kwan, Lean In Canada’s co-founder, speaking at a panel about empowerment and women in business. I watched as all panelist spoke of the numerous gender challenges that plague women in and out of the workplace. Most importantly, they spoke about opportunity, and the need to build momentum around these conversations. I was instantly captivated.

The conversations that they referenced are the same one’s that Sheryl Sandberg challenges us to have with Lean In. They are conversations that require voices and communities of women. I got involved with Lean In Canada to lend my voice and be a part of these conversations, and as a special project, I will be launching Lean In Canada’s official Book Club – In Her Own Words!

Each month, In Her Own Words will highlight the unique and necessary voices of women. You can read along with us and follow our blog for a monthly recap and review of the books. My hope is that in the same way that Sheryl’s words sparked a movement, the words of other women will help cultivate this momentum.

Interested in joining us? You can get a head start by picking up September’s book – Women Who Don’t Wait in Line by Reshma Saujani. See below for a list of books for the upcoming months.


What issues facing women in Canada are most important to you?

The issues closest to my heart are the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada, women living in poverty, the visibility and treatment of transwomen, and the representation of women in all mediums and occupations.


What’s your favourite book?

Reading is a great passion of mine, so this is a tricky question. For the last year, I’ve been strictly reading books written by women, and discovered absolute gems in the process. I’d say my favourite book is Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich.


What website or blogs do you check daily?



Name a woman you know professionally who you find inspiring, and why she inspired you?

I am constantly inspired by the women in my life. My mentor and friend, Shana MacDonald, provides daily inspiration for me. I met Shana at the University of Waterloo, where she is an Assistant Professor. She’s also a filmmaker and installation artist; and a passionate, understanding, wicked smart human. The greatest lessons I’ve learned from her is to raise my voice when I have something to say and that you can accomplish a lot with just a little.


What’s the most empowering thing you’ve done in your career?

Seeking out new learning opportunities. Whether it’s volunteering my time, taking an online course, or attending a webinar – I am always looking to grow personally and professionally. I see education as extremely empowering, and it has helped fuel my confidence and creativity.


*Lean In Canada’s Book Club – ‘In Her Own Words’ Reading Guide 

September Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way by Reshma Saujani

October Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture by Elissa Shevinsky

November Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne Marie Slaughter

December The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

January Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person By Shonda Rhimes

February Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

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