Maple Creek News
Jenni Sustrate has always been ambitious.
She bought her first home when she was 19, runs her own financial planning company and has been featured in a popular women’s business magazine for the past two years.
The 31-year-old Maple Creek native has been surrounded by business for her entire life, and now living in the Edmonton area, Sustrate’s passion and drive was recently featured in a new book, where she joined 20 other women to co-author “Mentoring Women Leaders II.”
“I’ve been in a magazine the past two years with a little page that I write, but this is my first time (published) in a book,” says Sustrate, referring to Womanition, an award-winning Alberta-based publication that profiles women in business and female entrepreneurs.
“Womanition is led by a lady, her name is Dorothy Briggs … and she just came up to me said she’d love for me to be in this book. I’ve always loved writing and was really happy to be involved.”
Sustrate’s chapter is called “Tips on How to Rock Your Life as an Entrepreneur and Be Successful at it,” which she says includes some key points of success for women starting a business. The book as a whole will help women with every aspect of business, from start-up and growth, to personal and professional networking.
“There is a huge wealth of knowledge available in this book,” she says, adding that it has already won a Gold International Award with the Marcon International Award Company.
Sustrate grew up in Maple Creek, where her parents owned Jenni’s Steakhouse. With grandparents who also ran their own businesses, she has been groomed or entrepreneurship since birth.
“I grew up living in the restaurant, basically,” Sustrate says. “I was put to work by the time I was 12. I was just taught good morals, I think, from the time I was young. Like how to work hard, and how to be kind to people and cultivate good relationships.
“I’m third-generation entrepreneur so I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know what that would look like to me. I grew up thinking I didn’t want employees or a building, because I never saw my parents unless I went to the restaurant.”
She initially moved to Edmonton at 18, where she studied dental assistance at NAIT. She wanted to take something that would have her making money as soon as possible, and since this program was only 10 months, she jumped right in.
Possibly a little overzealous however, Sustrate knows now she chose a career for the wrong reasons and was finished in the dental industry after about two-and-a-half years when she was approached to be a financial planner, something she’d often thought about with high regard.
“I learned a lot at a young age, and then I eventually got into the financial and insurance planning industry, so that’s what I do now,” she says. “It fit in perfect with not having a building or staff, and it worked really well with my life. I get to work from home most of the time.”
A fairly sweet gig considering she lives on an acreage where she can take care of a few animals and enjoy some quiet country living. She’s been in a relationship for several years, and while there have been no wedding bells to date, she says he’s “probably my forever.”
It’s a good time for Sustrate to say the least. And now that things are coming along so well for her, she is extremely excited to be able to help other women reach their own lofty goals.
“When you’re a woman in business, there is a real challenge balancing your life. You’re trying to take care of a household, trying to take care of kids — getting groceries, getting the kids to soccer — and you’re trying to run a business, so you have so much to juggle.”
Easing those struggles just happens to be her expertise.
“I just think sharing your knowledge is really important.”