2018 40 Under 40 Winners

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Jesse Dees

Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation
Collingwood, ON

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  1. She raised over $12,000 in one day through the hospital’s first Giving Tuesday social media campaign, on a budget of just $100.
  2. She served on the planning committee and presented at AHP’s 2018 Convene Canada conference.
  3. Jesse is a current member of the Board of Directors of My Friend's House, a local women's shelter.
  4. She established a successful mid-level giving program that resulted in four major gifts and two seven-figure planned gift commitments within a 12-month period.

Q & A


  1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

    In the final year of my undergraduate degree, I was unsure of where I wanted to specialize upon graduation. Acknowledging how important volunteering in my community was, I decided to volunteer with a local cancer support charity (Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka) in hopes of getting some direction and perspective.

    During my initial interview with the volunteer coordinator to determine the best use of my skills within the organization, I was told I would make an excellent Fundraiser.  At the time, I knew very little about the Fundraising profession but within the first few hours I spent volunteering in my new role, I knew I had found my true passion.

  2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

    After finishing my undergraduate degree, I went on to obtain a graduate certificate in Fundraising and Resource Development. It was during that program that my passion for the world of fundraising deepened.

    In the summer before starting the program, my volunteer work turned into full time employment with Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka. It was always my goal to have a career where I could help people and make an impact. Through my schooling and employment that summer, I realized that a career in health care philanthropy would allow me to do both.

  3. What has been the #1 factor in your career success so far?

    It is difficult to narrow down just one exact factor for my career success; the most prominent would be that the value of hard work was instilled in me from a young age. I got my first job the day after I turned 15 and I worked two jobs throughout my entire undergrad. I have always tried to find a learning opportunity and a way to grow in every job I have had.

    Another factor that has guided me is being conscious of the fact that success isn’t linear. Real success is when you fail and keep going and constantly strive to learn and adapt.

    Also, having a great mentor and working for an organization that embraces innovation and professional development has been extremely instrumental for success.

  4. What is your greatest passion and why?

    My greatest passion is to try to leave the world a better place than I found it – not only through my professional career but this is a passion I strive towards through my volunteer work and in my personal life. I feel very fortunate to have a career that allows me to make a positive impact on healthcare in my community. I try to lend my skills wherever possible to causes I am passionate about in my community through volunteer work.

    I am passionate about innovation and embracing new technology and have found that there is so much room in fundraising for innovation and leveraging technology to further our causes. I am grateful to have found an industry that has so much room for innovation and so many opportunities to learn and grow.

  5. What are your future aspirations?
  6. My future aspirations include pursuing a senior leadership position in a healthcare organization and traveling the world with my amazing husband.

Jesse Dees

Fun Fact:

I am an amateur kickboxer and occasional instructor.