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Meet The Team Spotlight: Jennifer Connolly

Maria Vassiliou
Maria Vassiliou
May 24th 2024 - 6 minute read
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Eirene is composed of remarkable individuals who are dedicated to making a
difference. This series delves into the lives of the people who drive Eirene
forward—the ones who answer phone calls, respond to emails, and offer unwavering
support and compassion to the families we serve. Discover the moments and
influences that have shaped them, and explore how their diverse experiences
contribute to the rich tapestry that is the Eirene team.

Tell us a bit about your career path and how you entered th

Eirene is composed of remarkable individuals who are dedicated to making a difference. This series delves into the lives of the people who drive Eirene forward—the ones who answer phone calls, respond to emails, and offer unwavering support and compassion to the families we serve. Discover the moments and influences that have shaped them, and explore how their diverse experiences contribute to the rich tapestry that is the Eirene team.

Tell us a bit about your career path and how you entered the death space. What inspired or motivated you to pursue a career in this industry?

Cheesy as it sounds I believe it's a calling. I'd been drawn to the industry from a young age for no real tangible reason, no family in the biz, no major losses as a child, just this sense of "this is where I'm meant to be."

Photo from Jen's trip to Grenada

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Honestly, helping people through the worst moments of their life...being able to take them by the hand and walking them through their first few steps.

Can you describe a particularly memorable or meaningful experience you've had while serving families?

There have been so many through my career so far, we share the most intimate and vulnerable moments with families.  We're invited to be these safe spaces where people can be raw. I've cried openly with families, I've had the best hugs, I still get messages from families I served years ago....this humbling feeling when a family you served brings you a thank you card, helping parents say the most impossible goodbye, explaining to children what's going to happen over the next few days and making them a special part of the process..... every single family I've had the privilege of serving has a special moment somewhere for me.

How do you approach supporting grieving families?

Truthfully....

I try to remind myself every single day how difficult it is to make that phone call to a complete stranger to tell them someone you love more than anything has died. No one wants to make that call. I'm genuine when I express condolences, I've been on the other side, too. I listen to people, they tell you what they need from you if you really listen. I don't mean they tell you they need to arrange a funeral or buy flowers or any of that, I mean funeral directors read people for a living. We listen to the non-verbal cues, if you need a hug I sense that. If this is a business transaction because of a difficult relationship dynamic in their life, I see that and I provide a professional service. I just listen to people.

Can you share a piece of advice for individuals who may be considering a career in the death/funeral industry?

Don't do it. LOL

Seriously though, really consider what it is you're going to be doing.  It's not glamorous, you're not going to be rich doing it, the hours are tough and the emotions are tougher.  It's not for everyone and that's okay. Really find your passion. Make sure you have emotional and mental health support, and never ever forget what it is you do for a living. Never lose that sense of purpose.  

Lucy, Jen's dog.

What made you choose to work with Eirene?

Eirene reminded me of why I got into this business in the first place. It was that grounding sense of actually being able to help people, the transparency and honesty with families. I had only ever worked for large volume traditional funeral homes prior to this experience. When I left that space, I was really re-evaluating my place in this business. I was the first employee here – Mallory and I met over coffee one day, and I was blown away by the business model, along with the ideas she and Faisal had.

I believed and still believe in Eirene – it's like nothing else in the business from a client and employee perspective.  We have something here that's really special.

Outside of your work in this space, what are some of your hobbies or interests?

I love to travel when I can, I love spending time with my nieces, and I enjoy just being quiet – with a book or a cup of coffee, just sort of being in my own space.

Can you share a favourite book, movie, or TV show that has had a significant impact on you?

I'm a person who takes little tidbits from everything. I know that's a crappy answer but it's true, I never have a favourite anything, I like lists of things!

Do you have any favorite quotes or mottos that you live by?

No famous ones, but I tell myself that “it'll all work out eventually”, or “that the lotus flower rises from the mud.” All those types of "when you're having a bad day think big picture" kind of sayings.  

Oh, and to breathe... that's a big one. We all do it unconsciously everyday, but sometimes just be conscious of it and slow down.

Molly, Jen's cat.

Can you share a meaningful life lesson you've learned through your experiences in this industry?

Life is short, no matter how long it is. And no one gets out of here alive. We all go in the same sized box in the end, it doesn't matter how much stuff we have – in the end, it's all meaningless. In the thousands of eulogies I've listened to I've never heard someone say "they wished they had bought more stuff," or "worked more hours," it's always about personal connections. What Maya Angelou said is true: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


Jennifer Connolly is our Managing Funeral Director in Canada. She’s thankful to be able to serve families and provide guidance in their time of need. If you're interested in learning more, or arranging with us, you can contact Jennifer via email at jennifer@eirene.ca.

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