At just 18 years old, Jacq Brasseur began volunteering in grassroots non-profits in the Northwest Territories, eventually doing the same as a young adult in Saskatchewan. After years of working in this space, they noticed a gap between these organizations and the services needed to support them, especially within remote communities. It became apparent that traditional consulting services often lacked an understanding of the needs of rural non-profits, making their services costly and incongruent with non-metropolitan values.
Inspired by their mother and grandmother, who were trailblazers in advocating for workers’ rights and accessible education, Jacq founded Ivy + Dean Consulting. The company focuses on providing affordable, relevant, and equitable services to strengthen and empower non-profits in rural communities and small cities. Unconventional to the traditional consulting model, Ivy + Dean takes a progressive approach by educating their clients on techniques to solve current operational challenges and encouraging self-sufficiency in tackling future barriers.
“Other people across the rest of the country, particularly in non-metropolitan spaces, still deserve access to affordable, accessible and relevant services for them,” said Jacq Brasseur (they/them), CEO of Ivy + Dean.
Building a queer-centric business model
As a queer-owned business, pride is ingrained in all practices at Ivy + Dean, from the lavender branding intentionally paying tribute to the 2SLGBTQIA+ resistance, to their “queering” business model.
“Queering” encourages business leaders to embrace organizational changes, including self-expression and solutions for work-life balance. Jacq argues that many of society’s expectations of how to dress, act, and arrive at work are rooted in traditional, archaic principles, which can impact employee retention and culture. This progressive approach by Jacq is shaking up the workplace culture of their clients, which encourages them to disrupt the status quo toward progressive changes and implement policies that promote accessibility and flexibility.
To Jacq Brasseur, the word ‘pride’ holds two meanings. Personally, Jacq acknowledges the many ways pride is celebrated across Canadian communities, and although drag shows and parades may come to mind, every community has its own history and preference for celebrations. In Yellowknife, Jacq grew up celebrating pride with Out North activists handing out cakes to residents outside of the main post office, which is commemorated each year. At the core, pride acknowledges the originators of the movement, the Black and Brown Trans community, recognizing the impact of the Stonewall Riots and the progress made since.
Leveraging Interac products to power their business
As Jacq continues to expand their business, having safe and secure methods of payment like Interac has been critical. They currently leverage Interac e-Transfer to receive payments from their clients and shared, “For so many of our projects, we need an efficient and easy way to provide honourariums to people in our community, and so we use Interac e-Transfer every day because it’s safe and user-friendly.”
Although Jacq offers a progressive approach to their customers, remote non-profits still encounter physical barriers that can affect their operations, such as limited payment options and location-based inaccessibility. For Jacq, leveraging Interac solutions such as Interac e-Transfer and Interac Debit offers two distinct advantages. First, it makes payments accessible, secure, and affordable between Ivy + Dean and its clients by offering a convenient digital solution. Second, these products provide a safer alternative for queer Canadians who may feel uncomfortable with in-person interactions.
How Interac is supporting 2SLGBTQIA+-owned businesses
Interac is a proud member of Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), which has helped connect over 28,000 2SLGBTQIA+ owned and operated businesses, including Ivy + Dean Consulting, to one another. Jacq acknowledges the growth they’ve experienced from their involvement in the CGLCC, as Jacq, like other queer professionals, has had to navigate heteronormative spaces while being perceived as queer-first, professional-second. The CGLCC offers a community for 2SLGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs to interact based on their professional merits, removing labels that create room for prejudice.
How businesses can facilitate an inclusive workplace
One of our core principles at Interac is for employees to feel empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. And when asked what allies can personally do to facilitate an authentic workplace for queer employees, Jacq believes that even more than education, allies should reflect on why they present at work the way they do, encouraging all of us to do the same kind of introspection and reflective work for ourselves as queer and trans people have done for themselves. As conveyed by Jacq, “I think that you get a little bit more of an idea of why being able to show up to work as your authentic self is so important and it then becomes a lot harder to deny that to other people.”
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