Our Leader Spotlight | Jana Boniferro
Alumni Engagement Officer, Niagara College
This series is dedicated to introducing and celebrating the participants of the ACL+ 2021/22 program. Each week, we will focus on one of our leaders, sharing a little bit about them and what motivates them to explore community leadership in Niagara.
Jana is a professional relationship-builder with over eight years of experience in Development and Alumni Relations operations in the post-secondary sector. Having always played roles in connecting the community to opportunities within the organization that facilitated growth and learning has been her area of expertise since graduating from University. Facilitating meaningful opportunities for alumni to stay connected and engaged with Niagara College is her most recent role in the Niagara region.
Jana lives in Niagara Falls with her husband, two children, and two German Shepherds. Jana and her husband made the conscious decision to attend school, work, and play in the region, ultimately raising their two kids in the area.
In her personal time, Jana is enrolled in her MBA at the University of Fredericton with a spring, 2023 completion date. When she needs to get her mind cleared for a paper, you’ll find her hitting the pavement for some running mileage. In her spare time, she sits on the Board of Directors for Parents Peace of Mind Daycare.
Why are you personally motivated to explore civic leadership?
When I first graduated from University, I worked in non-profit for a number of years and truly started to understand the needs of the community at that time. Whether it was business start-ups or networking opportunities, I started to gain an understanding of what it takes to connect people in the community so that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
At present, I am over half down my foundational courses for my MBA in Global Leadership at the University of Fredericton. This has made me hone my critical thinking skills and allowed me to become a thoughtful employee by exploring various options to choose which one would yield the best result. As such, I feel that it would both benefit me and complement my pending degree by working together with peers in the Region to ensure we are moving forward as a community.
What, in your view, is the most significant issue/opportunity facing our community? Why?
Presently, I feel that we have a housing crisis in our community and young professionals are faced with the decision to try and stay in Niagara to make it work, or try and find someplace that they can buy a home and call home. Even rent at the moment is not all too affordable and homes are being bid on, it is not at all the market it was when I first purchased my first home 17+ years ago.
As a young professional graduating from our “local University” 17 years ago, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to life in Niagara and that meant making the choice to study, work, and play in Niagara. It is the place where I wanted to raise my children and at this point, I fear we will lose talent because we are not making it affordable to stay here.
At an average household income (after tax) in Niagara hovering at around $72,000, it makes it hard to purchase a home with an average cost of nearly $700,000 in Niagara Falls. This math does not equate and it will cause a huge issue for many years to come. However, with a University and College in the area, it is an opportunity to provide up-skill programs, provide affordable housing, training and education, and incentives to stay in Niagara.
What individual attributes do you hope to develop or expand upon?
I would love to develop my leadership skills and give myself the opportunity to learn from peers that have experiences much different than mine. This would allow me to expand my thoughts beyond what my experiences have been thus far in my career, and develop them to get a better understanding of what makes a community function at its best.
Are we doing enough as leaders in our respective fields or can we be contributing to the greater good in a more meaningful way? My real-world experience in the non-profit, corporate and public service sectors will not only serve as important contributions to my peers but it will also enable me to absorb key concepts that will guide my education and help me excel.
I look forward to this opportunity and know it is the right step for me.
What Is ACL+?
Accelerate Civic Leadership+ is our answer to adapting our flagship Accelerate Civic Leadership (ACL) program for virtual learning.
Designed as a tool to expand the number of individuals who accept leadership roles in business, government, and social organizations to meet future challenges in the region, ACL+ strengthens the bonds within the region. It serves as a retention and engagement tool for our Niagara businesses and non-profits.