Alumni Profile Jenny Konkin

BA in Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 2008
President and Co-founder, Whole Way House Society
Connect with Jenny on LinkedIn or Instagram

1. Where do you currently work and what is your position? / Which jobs or careers have you held since completion of your Psychology degree up until your current role?

I am currently the President and Co-Founder of Whole Way House Society since 2013. Previously, I was the Director of Operations for Relationship Lifeline, an intensive personal development course. Additionally, previous roles that I have held include: Manager of Operations at the Avalon Hotel (DTES SRO), producer for the California Women’s Conference, as well as a Marketing Director and AGM for Earls Restaurants.

2. Why did you decide to study psychology?

To be honest, I wanted to take over my parents’ business one day (Relationship Lifeline, an intensive personal development course) or run a business of my own that would also help people and I figured if I could understand how people work, think and make decisions, then I could understand how to do business with them. I had no idea I would use it in the very meaningful way that I do now.

3. What were your favourite courses? Who were your favourite professors at SFU psychology?

I have so many favorite courses from my time at SFU. Developmental Psych was so helpful in understanding our wounding and how that can impact us all the way into adulthood and how we make decisions. Psychopharmacology with Brian Johnson was super interesting, especially learning about the relationship between drugs, the brain, law and history. But, ironically, my favorite course was Adulthood and Aging (and now I just happen to work with seniors and end of life care).

4. What did you originally plan to do with your degree in psychology during your undergrad, if you had any ideas at that time? Is that different than what you do now? If so, how?

I thought I would run a business, and this degree would help me do that. I had no idea I would start a charity and work with vulnerable adults and low income seniors struggling with poverty, mental health issues, addiction issues and complex health issues. I knew I wanted to help people, I just had no idea that this would be how I would do it.

5. How did your time at SFU change you and influence your career?

It gave me the insight I would need to understand the human mind and how we are impacted by our environment and those around us. If I had not had such an in-depth look into our make-up and how we can change and grow as people, especially in spite of our wounding, I may not have believed I could do the work that I do now.

6. What advice would you give to students that you wish you knew in your undergrad?  What was important to you then and what’s important now?

Enjoy it. Take it in. Learn to learn. I thought I was studying to make the grade, but it turns out I was studying to prepare me to help change lives. There is so much that I’ve never forgotten. My education has not just been about the piece of paper I was handed on a stage, it’s been about the knowledge and the tools I was given to give me the confidence to know that I could start an organization that would truly make a difference in our city.