Creator of Pickle Planet Moncton, Contributing Editor of Family First/Famille en Premier, Co-founder/co-owner of Grapevine
Cape Breton-born Jenna Morton trained as a journalist and spent more than a decade working in traditional media throughout Canada before moving to New Brunswick. At 35 she was the mother of three children under the age of two and decided a 9-5 life wasn't the right fit for her family. In June 2015, she launched Pickle Planet Moncton, an online resource that aims to create a generation of proud and resilient East Coast children by helping families connect with each other and with the community. She's also the co-owner of Grapevine Events (a pop-up consignment sale business), the contributing editor of Family First/Famille en premier (a quarterly print publication launching in 2019), and an active community volunteer.
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I am proud of what I'm building with Pickle Planet Moncton. Over the past three years, it has become the top online media source for parents in New Brunswick, but more importantly, it has helped thousands of local families take a more active role in our community. Those little connections to place can become major economic drivers. When a child is raised with a sense of pride in what surrounds them - the inspiring tales of local residents past and present, a love for the local landscape, compassion for their neighbours, an understanding of the daily things that make a place special - they will always be an advocate for that community, whether they choose to stay or return to visit. This is an important part of the equation of securing a prosperous future for Atlantic Canada; we must continue to raise children who want to live here, who feel such a connection that they create opportunities for themselves and for others.
What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
Our biggest opportunity is our people - those who are here and those who have left. We need every Atlantic Canadian to continue to operate as an ambassador, shouting from the rooftops why this is a wonderful place to live. The 'why' differs for people: sometimes it's directly tied to the natural landscape, for others it's the pace of life, while others see the economic advantages for pursuing business here. All of those whys are important; each one speaks to a different type of person who could be convinced to move here and call Atlantic Canada home. We don't just need to court particular industries or professions or populations; we need to court people who will love living here, because those are the people who will stay and help us thrive.
Ten years from now our three children will be trying to decide what comes after high school; my dream is that they'll feel confident that any career choice could lead them to create a life in Atlantic Canada, even if they have to forge the path themselves. We all play a part in preparing youth to be resilient critical thinkers who see potential in themselves and in this place; my dream is that in 10 years the negative, limiting beliefs about the East Coast have completely left our collective consciousness and we all our focusing on what we can do, not what we can't.
Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
It's an endless list that is constantly growing! A few that stand out in regards to these points:
My parents and extended family, for teaching me through their actions that we all must work to create the community we want.
Cape Breton University Professor Doug Lionias, Inverness County CAO Keith MacDonald, and all the rest of the JCI Cape Breton crowd from the early 2000s that helped me articulate and understand the power of place and positivity.
My former CBC colleagues and King's University professors and classmates who helped hone my journalism skills, as well as my confidence in my abilities.
Erin Trafford, Cary Beaumont, Ingrid Munroe, Heidi Rushton, Katie Kelly, Tosh Taylor, Crystal Richard, Angela Harris, and all the other incredible female East Coast entrepreneurs who believe in community over competition and work to raise each other up, lifting me with them daily. Without their constant support and encouragement, I would've taken the easy way out a long time ago and given up the entrepreneur life. I'm not sure what that would look like, but I'm sure it wouldn't be as rewarding as what I'm doing, even though there are days that are hard on the heart and on the bank account. This isn't an easy path, but I believe the efforts we put in to creating opportunities for ourselves and for others have ripple effects we can't even imagine.
Writer, journalist, podcaster, influencer, blogger, mother, wife, volunteer, big picture thinker