Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

SFU staffer’s commitment to local arts community nets staff achievement award

May 26, 2022

By: Emma Keeler-Dugas

A dedicated communicator, local arts advocate and graduate student, Tessa Perkins Deneault has been awarded the 2021 Staff Achievement Award for Community Contribution.

As the Manager of Communications and Strategy in the Faculty of Communication Art, and Technology, Perkins Deneault is a stand-out, compassionate leader within the faculty and across its diverse schools and programs. 

"Tessa is an absolutely critical member of the Dean’s Office team when it comes to community engagement and connections,” says Carman Neustaedter, Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology. “She takes the mission of an ‘engaged university’ to heart and deeply explores it through her work, as well as in the communities that she extends herself to, outside of work."

Perkin Deneault’s commitment to the SFU community and local arts community knows no limits. 

As she pursues her Master of Arts degree with the Graduate Liberal Studies program at SFU, she contributed to the program and organized its 30th anniversary celebration.

“Open to new ideas and keen to share her own wide range of experiences and knowledge, Tessa quickly became an integral member of the seminar,” says Carolyn Lesjak, chair of the English Department and instructor. “She was someone whom all of us looked forward to hearing from, thanks to her stellar contributions.”

As a champion for the local arts community, Perkin Deneault’s manages her own website Centre Stage where she writes about dance and theatre. She is a sitting board member for the Vancouver International Dance Festival, regularly contributes to the Dance Current and Dance International and pursues dance classes in her own time.

Within the SFU community, Perkins Deneault is working with SFU Retiree’s Association (SFURA) on their book compiling the history of the arts at SFU. In her work, she will be contributing a chapter about the history of dance at the university. The work by Perkins Deneault and the Retiree’s Association will benefit the university for years to come. 

“When I joined the SFURA committee working on the Early Arts at SFU project just over a year ago, Tessa and Walter Piovesan had already been involved for some time,” says Ann Cowan, committee member with the SFURA. “It’s great when current staff and faculty show an interest in the history of the institution and much appreciated when they bring energy and expertise to projects like these.”

Perkins Deneault’s nominators emphasized her strategic leadership that have made her a valued member of the communicator network at SFU. 

“Tessa is an incredible attribute to FCAT, SFU and the local arts and culture community,” says Kim Hockey, associate director of community engagement and alumni for FCAT. “Through her multi-faceted support of the arts, Tessa has developed an extensive knowledge of local happenings which she regularly applies in her communications position. FCAT and SFU have benefited tremendously from Tessa’s community support.”

For Perkins Deneault, her favourite part of the job is the SFU community. 

“Ever since I joined SFU as a student in 2006, I’ve felt that this university is a place that takes care of its community,” says Perkins Deneault. “I’ve always had the support I needed to grow and pursue my academic and professional goals. I hope I can give back in some way to this incredible community.”

SFU’s annual Staff Achievement Awards recognize staff members for their achievements and contributions to the university or the community. The awards are a way to showcase some of the great work being done at SFU and in the community by inspired and outstanding staff members. Read more