Jan Mathieson was born in Toronto and brought up in Montreal, but for 38 years she has lived in the West and she and her husband Don call Calgary home.
Growing up years were good, and she is 2nd youngest in a family of four sisters and one brother. Her family attended the United Church. At school, Jan was popular and an outgoing leader. At the age of 12 something happened that she sees as a pivotal moment in her life. She developed Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that led to the complete loss of hair. Difficult to cope with at any age, this was potentially devastating to a young girl who only months before wore her lovely long hair in a ponytail. Although this was understandably hard to come to terms with, Jan says she learned to “stop, mourn, and get going.” This permanent condition “changed how I view other people. I came to realize that the nerds and other less popular students were often the nicest kids.” As she looks back, Jan sees this occurrence as “something God used to put me on the path that He wanted for me. This was the beginning of my compassion for others.”
Throughout her teen years, Jan was studious, family-oriented and had a few good friends. She was interested in helping people and volunteered in the Ladies Auxiliary at the Hospital. By grade 13 her family had moved to Toronto and here she met a new friend whom God had in mind to play an important part in her life.
Following high school, still looking to help people she became an English Major at McMaster University in Hamilton, with a teacher’s certificate in mind. Again, life took a turn she didn’t expect and after completing two years of her degree program she was offered a job in Human Resources with Consumer’s Distributing in Toronto. During this time her above-mentioned friend had become a physiotherapist and had been offered a job in Alberta. They decided to make the move together. Jan’s friend was a Christian from a faith-based family and her influence was key in Jan’s decision to follow Jesus. “I always had an affinity with God, and wondering about Him. And then one day while alone in my apartment I accepted the Lord.”
After 9 months in Edmonton, Jan moved to Victoria and took a position there for three years, and then eventually moved to Calgary.
It was here that a ‘set up’ took place at Jan’s office one day. A friend showed up with a man in tow. One day soon thereafter, Don, this hopeful new acquaintance, asked to take Jan for a drive. She said she’d go if he would come to church with her. ‘Ok’, he said…. Six months later they were married, and eventually, Don became a pastor.
Jan knows what it is to try to balance being a wife and mother, her role as a pastor’s wife and a job outside the home all at the same time. She worked part-time when the kids were small. Some years she ‘climbed the ladder’ and other years she ‘worked to pay the bills’. Through it all, she has done her best to understand what the difference is between what you (or others) think you need to do, and what God wants you to do. It is important for her to be in unity with her husband and congruent with her commitments.
With 35+ years of experience, Jan’s career in Human Resources has continued to flourish with her positions in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, and it has been varied, stimulating and fulfilling. Over the years Jan cites many great career opportunities. She has proven skills in leadership, strategy, program design, compensation, performance management and business/risk management. She has also given of her time and talents as a volunteer to numerous non-profits, serving them in a variety of roles. And perhaps best of all her career has provided a platform from which she has been able to help a multitude of others.
After spending over ten years in oil and gas, Jan opted to spend a few months at home. She then held a 3-year consulting contract with the Muttart Foundation, following which Jan launched her own business, Wise Resources Inc. in 2006. This consulting firm focusses primarily on supporting small business and not-for-profit organizations, and, to date, she has provided support to over 40 not-for-profit organizations.
Jan and Don’s one son and two daughters are all grown and married, and now they have 4 grandchildren to love and enjoy. She is involved at church, is a board member, and is a community volunteer. As a Christian, Jan’s passion is to be more Christlike; to be ‘a spiritual resource as well as a human resource.’
Jan enjoys what she does at Wise Resources and has no intention of stopping any time soon. “I like to be busy.”
One of the things she loves about her work is that she gets to “connect people and solutions.” “I don’t impose my ideas, but I offer different perspectives. I leverage my clients’ knowledge and partner it with mine to help them do what they want to do.”
Jan is no stranger to the HR issues common to churches. To date, she has worked with four denominations and can offer help to churches struggling with organizational structure, employee relations, policies, governmental regulations and more. She is available to conduct training and workshops on a variety of topics. She is able to assist leaders who are trying to make sure they have the right people in the right roles. Sometimes she finds that churches look no further than how churches have always done things, and they are unaware of different thoughts and perspectives that they could integrate. “I like to come in and say, ‘How are you functioning? What are you trying to achieve and how can I help you?’”
To contact Jan to discuss how she could help at your church, see the contact information on the Enrich website.