When Jessica Gruchy signed on to become Toronto Film School’s first-ever Manager of Indigenous and Partnership Engagement, she did so with one goal in mind: To amplify the voices and increase the presence of the school’s Indigenous students.
“I feel it is a privilege to be here, and that it is important for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people to take on leadership roles in academic institutions,” said Gruchy, a Mi’kmaq member of the Qalipu First Nation in Newfoundland.
“Creating partnerships with Indigenous groups will open doors for communication and facilitate educational opportunities.”
In her new role, Gruchy’s main responsibility will lie with community outreach – with a focus on building meaningful relationships with Indigenous groups.
Collaborating with the school’s Admissions, Academics and Marketing & Communications teams, as well as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she will help lead the development of a First Nations and Indigenous peoples outreach campaign.
“I have a couple of significant projects I am working on, and hopeful they will support Indigenous students’ success,” she said, noting her role will also include maintaining present articulation agreements and partnerships with colleges, universities and businesses.
“I think this position is a unique opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting difference for students.”
Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Gruchy is a self-described “energetic and highly motivated” individual who characterizes herself as a lifelong learner with a diverse educational background.
She has diplomas in Travel and Tourism and Business Administration, as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Husson University, and a Professional Master’s of Education Degree from Queen’s University.
Prior to joining Toronto Film School, she worked with the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, where she developed and coordinated a provincial eLearning program for health care professionals. She currently volunteers as a board director with the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I feel my diverse educational background and work experience have given me a broad perspective on education,” Gruchy said.
“As a student, I transferred credits from college to university to accelerate my undergraduate degree, so I understand firsthand how articulation partnerships can benefit a student’s pursuit of higher education.”