Who I Am

My name is Jean Sheppard. I launched Saying It Forward because I believe in preserving and passing on the wisdom that comes from our unique life experiences. I hope you will see from my background that I bring a wide range of skills to this venture.

When I was sure I would be young forever, the times themselves encouraged me to act on any and all calls to adventure. I worked in public relations in London, England, studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York, and earned a diploma from the Swedish Institute for Massage Therapy, also in New York. I held a variety of jobs in Canada: I was a correctional officer in a minimum security prison for young men, a waitress, and a legal secretary, and, briefcase in hand, I briefly sold telephone security systems to small businesses (well, one—no plaques for me). I kept hoping I would find a vocation. I am grateful that, ultimately, I did.

In 1986, I began a long and very rewarding career at Havergal College, an independent school for girls in Toronto where I taught academic English, media studies and dramatic arts while earning an MEd from the University of Toronto. One of my greatest pleasures came from developing and teaching The Writer’s Craft, the creative writing course for senior students. It has been said that we teach best what we most want to learn, and that is one reason I am so pleased that I studied at the University of British Columbia and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

In recent years, I have trained as a coach with the Adler Coaching School in Toronto and with Certified Retirement Coaches in the United States. I have also helped individuals and groups ‘write their lives,’ delighting always in the courage and compassion of those who tell their stories. 

And I’d love to work with you!