Dear Shalem Supporters,
With great excitement, we are pleased to announce that Jennifer Bowen has been selected as Shalem Mental Health Network’s next Executive Director.
Jennifer has served as Shalem’s clinical director since 2009, and has loved her time growing and supporting our team of therapists and clinical programs. Before Shalem, she worked for 20 years in the field of marriage and family therapy as psychotherapist, valuing opportunities to work in both Family Service agencies in the GTA and faith-based clinical settings. She brings a passion for team building, visioning and community partnerships, and is keen to support the board in continuing its mission of engaging our community. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of Toronto, studying psychology and religion, was active in leadership in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and completed a Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Counselling degree at Tyndale Seminary. In recent COVID months, she’s balanced her work with long family walks with her children, a healthy pile of novels, and perfecting the best position in her new hammock.
Jennifer’s hiring is the result of an extensive 6-month long search undertaken by the Network Board Search Committee and facilitated by executive leadership recruiting firm Nelson/Kraft & Associates. We benefited greatly from their expertise and rigorous search process. There were a number of strong applicants who were selected to take part in an in-depth interview process. At the conclusion of the interview process, there was unanimous agreement and a strength of conviction from all involved that Jennifer was the ideal candidate for the role. Jennifer’s passion for Shalem and vision for its future shone brightly throughout the interview process.
This marks the beginning of an exciting new season in Shalem’s wonderful history. It is with profound gratitude that we recognize the gift of Mark Vander Vennen’s leadership, vision, and commitment over the past 16 years of service to Shalem. We reflect on the countless ways in which God’s grace and provision has allowed the organization to become a leader in the mental health field, touching the lives of countless individuals and their communities. It is our prayerful hope as a board that Shalem’s transition is an opportunity to dream boldly about the future. We could not be more thrilled to have Jennifer lead us forward as we dream new dreams.
Jennifer will be supported by Mark as she transitions into her new role until Mark’s retirement on December 31, 2020. We ask for your prayers that this transition would be life-giving. Pray that it will be an opportunity for Jennifer to be empowered as she begins her new role, and an opportunity for Mark to celebrate God’s good work during his time as ED as the torch is passed.
Please join us at our Annual General Meeting to be held on November 18th at 6pm. Please see the notice on our website here. We will welcome Jennifer into her new role and give thanks to Mark for the gift of his leadership and vision to Shalem.
Héctor Acero Ferrer
On behalf of the Shalem Board of Directors
Introducing Jennifer Bowen
When I sat down with Mark Vander Vennen in 2009 to discuss the position of Clinical Director, it was Shalem’s collection of unique programs and responsive approach that made me excited to join the team. Eleven years later, I’m even more excited. I’m also deeply grateful for the opportunity to step into this new role, and serve Shalem staff, Board and our community in this new way.
My past experiences working in both secular and faith-based settings gave me a wide lens for needs in our wider community. Supporting people and programs struggling with conflict, addiction, and domestic violence taught me so much about the resilience we carry through relationship and the profound impact of isolation. My life in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Tyndale Seminary and church life taught me about the deep joys of faith communities and the true complexity of conflict in community. I look forward to sharing the impact of our restorative approaches to community health and mental health approaches with our partners, and growing Shalem’s excellent programs that seek to build belonging and healing.
I’m so grateful for our board, and for the discernment process they shared with me this summer. It clarified for me the values that I love about our agency. In every program, we are committed to healing through restoration and relationship, and we strive to embody those values at every level of our organization, and with our partners. I look forward to growing these values, to meeting so many of you and to sharing this journey with you.
You can read the complete notice here.