Born in Guyana, South America, raised in Guyana, London, UK and now resides in Mississauga, Canada. Shelley is a wife and mother of two adult sons, who are successful in their own professional capacity in the media industry.
This was one of my hardest Trailblazer Profiles, yet one of my proudest because Shelley Jarrett is very much a part of who I am today. She is no ordinary person and is probably one of few people here in Canada, who could give you chapter and verse about who Ann Divine really is. We are first cousins. Her mother is the eldest of 9 children from my paternal grandparents, Simon and Emily Anderson. Shelley and I spent many happy holidays together both as children in Guyana, teenagers and young adults in London, England.
We are not surprised at Shelley’s success. As children, she was a skilled negotiator and networker. Shelley knew how to get us out of any trouble with our grandparents. Looking back, Shelley had a charming personality, filled with laughter and fun. Shelley would use her smoothest velvety tones and words like “Granny sugar plum”, “Granny love-a-dove,” "Oh granny nut you are the best." These words were so persuasive, they were guaranteed to get on our grandmother's good side and spare us a hiding.
We were very fortunate to have had women in our lives who were role models. They were teachers and civil servants, stylish and sophisticated. Even though our grandmothers and some aunts, did not have university degrees, or college education, they were perceptive, ambitious and industrious. They made a living by being innovative and creative. As children, we would often play dress up to emulate them. As well as made plans to be chauffer driven, wear hats and white gloves like our grandmother, Emily Anderson.
Shelley took her education seriously, she graduated with a Social Work Degree from Sheridan College, and then moved into finance. After working in a number of financial institutions for several years she finally found her niche in becoming an entrepreneur. She is described a hard working, determined, and ambitious woman. She is well known for her work of empowering women and girls, to rebuild their confidence as they re-enter into the workplace or try to navigate their career path or develop the self-esteem needed to thrive in the business environment. Shelley is also well known for hosted workshops in which she taught women how to dress for success, based on their body shape. Her business is based in Ontario and increasingly across Canada and more recently her magazine is being seen and read around the world.
After a year Shelley came to the realization that she wanted to reach more women at one time than she was able. She became the Founder & Publisher of SMJ Magazine, an online image, lifestyle and business publication, formed in the summer of 2013. It is primarily online with an App and with limited printed editions. The publication is now in its fourth year and is issued 4 times a year.
Shelley has her own Publisher notes in every issue, has started a Beauty Closet section in the magazine, and has written many articles in each issue herself, in the four interest areas of fashion & design, arts & entertainment, health & wellness, faith & community. For this, she has been recognized in the community for a number of awards and honours. In 2013 she was given a Canada Glass Woman of Excellence Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. In September 2014, she was a keynote speaker in Ottawa at the “Women in the Media” event for the Network of Black Business and Professional Women. The magazine and Shelley Jarrett have been nominated for two MARTY Awards at both the 21st and 22nd annual celebrations at The Living Arts Centre in 2015 and the Mississauga Convention Centre in 2016. On May 23rd, 2015, Shelley was part of a panel ‘Making it in the Media’ and honoured as one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada in Toronto at the “Infinite: Canada International Black Women Event.”
More recently, has begun to host on-air conversations with leading African Canadian women such as Ms. Caesar-Chavannes served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister from December 2015 to January 2017, and other successful business women in Canada. Some have referred to Shelley Jarrett as Canada's future Oprah Winfrey.
“It’s about the Rush I get when I take an idea and turn it into "Reality," something others can aspire to.”