Welcome, Jane Potentier

Jane Potentier
Jane Potentier, AVP, Alumni and Development. Photo by UVic Photo Services.

Our team is delighted to welcome Jane Potentier as the new Associate Vice-President, Alumni and Development at the University of Victoria. She comes to UVic with over 25 years’ experience leading fundraising and alumni relations programs, primarily in the post-secondary sector. Her most recent appointment was at the University of Alberta, where she served for 18 years.

While in Alberta, she generated increasing philanthropic support by leading comprehensive development and alumni relations programs and working on campaigns. Jane mentored and developed diverse teams of professionals and delivered on strategic goals through collaboration with academic leaders, donors and other key stakeholders.

Jane is also a long-time volunteer leader for her profession, and is the Chair-Elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Foundation for Philanthropy Canada. Jane joined our team in March 2020.

Watch Jane’s video message to alumni here:

Q & A with Jane Potentier

What made you want to move your life to Victoria and join UVic?

I had moved to Edmonton from the United Kingdom in 2001 and worked for the University of Alberta for 18 years. I had amazing opportunities to learn and grow there, but when this role came up at UVic, I was excited for a new challenge–to bring all of that varied experience here.

I was attracted by UVic’s strategic focus on collaboration, inclusiveness, community engagement, equity and diversity and its commitment to social justice. I was also excited to see how UVic is positioned for growth and is rising in the rankings in many areas. I wanted to be a part of the next chapter of UVic’s success.

Also the location doesn’t hurt! As I told the hiring committee, whenever I visited Victoria in the past, my heart would sing as I flew over the ocean and the islands. I found a connection with this city in so many ways. 

How did you get into fundraising? What kept you in the field?

I answered an advert in a UK newspaper that simply said “Make a Difference – Work for the UK’s top 20 charities and non-profits!” The idea of making a difference grabbed my attention. I knew that whatever my profession, I wanted to do something meaningful that would change lives and make the world a better place.

I didn’t even know it was fundraising at the time, but it became my life’s work. I stayed because I have been fortunate to see firsthand the difference philanthropy can make. In the early 1990s, I worked with ACTIONAID and had the chance to go to Ethiopia. More recently, I’ve met students who have received financial support that ensured they could pursue their studies and become engaged citizens of the world.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I like to stay fit and healthy. I do CrossFit and lots of walking and running. I am an avid sports fan, particularly soccer (English premier league) tennis and basketball. I’ve really missed live sports these past couple of months. And I love music, theatre and art, so I try to check out art exhibits or sales, take in a movie or a play and live music whenever possible.

The best thing about my new home is:

The weather! (Moving from Edmonton in early March, it’s difficult not to focus on that!) And the beautiful flowers and trees, and the ocean… I could go on and on. 

When I am feeling stressed out…

I have found a really great breathing technique–even just three really focused deep breaths can help bring calm and then refocus. At the end of a stressful day, a long walk or run by the ocean does wonders for me. What better place to be able to do that that here in Victoria?

I want UVic alumni to know: The university is a great place to work. I feel very privileged to lead the alumni and development team, and l am excited to work hand-in-hand with your Alumni Association to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial ways for alumni to engage in the life and success of the University.  And I always welcome feedback and ideas, so please reach out at any time! (Contact Jane via alumni@uvic.ca.)