Jenna Weinkauf, Senior Associate at Dentons Canada LLP
Jenna is a commercial real estate lawyer, mother of two young children, Penelope and Theodore, and current Secretary of Edmonton CREW. Jenna has worked at Dentons Canada LLP throughout her legal career, starting out as a summer student in 2011, and joining the Real Estate Group full time after being called to the Bar in 2014.
Jenna has been volunteering with Edmonton CREW since 2018. She started as a member of the Education Committee, joined the Board of Directors as Education Committee Chair in 2019, moved to the role of Secretary in 2021, and will be President-Elect in 2023.
What was your path to joining CREW and what has been the biggest benefit of being a part of the organization?
I joined CREW on the recommendation of senior female lawyers in my firm. The biggest benefit I have had from CREW is the informal mentorship and support that I have received over the years. Edmonton CREW is full of really remarkable and supportive members, and I know any member would be happy to take a call if I needed any guidance, whether CRE-related or otherwise.
What are the elements of working in the Commercial Real Estate Industry that excite you the most?
There's always more to learn in Commercial Real Estate, and I have a real passion for learning new things. Whether it be as a result of new laws or court decisions, new market considerations, or a unique set of facts, the job both requires and allows you to be curious and to keep learning.
Tell us about your greatest professional achievement to-date.
When cannabis was legalized in Canada, I had the opportunity to work with numerous cannabis retailers across Canada. I worked with various clients on over 200 cannabis retail premises that year, including on the permitting process, subdivision and development process, lease negotiations, corporate organization, and financing. Working in unknown territory, with constantly changing regulations, and with dynamic clients, felt like winning the lottery.
Share one (or two) pieces of advice for how to build a successful career or achieve a challenging professional goal.
I recommend getting to know yourself better by taking a few tests designed to give you insight on how you learn, how you communicate with others, and how your personality type is best motivated. I recognize it's a bit cheesy to recommend that someone take a personality test, but I believe that knowing your tendencies, and recognizing the tendencies of others, can help you navigate challenging situations and overcome your common stumbling blocks. As an added bonus, the results often give you great insight into your strengths and can help you find the language needed to promote yourself within your organization and the industry.