Jennifer Denouden is forging a path for female entrepreneurs
Jennifer Denouden is not one for tradition.
The belief in doing things a certain way because that’s how they’ve always been done doesn’t sit well with her. In fact, she hates that kind of thinking, with a passion.
Being born in Regina and having lived in a town of 600 people outside the city, that mindset has sometimes led Denouden to feel out of place. She didn’t want to feel like her destiny was to become a farm wife.
Growing up, Denouden also witnessed domestic abuse in her home. Her childhood taught her what she didn’t want her life to be like.
“I just always knew growing up in that situation, I never wanted to be weak and I never wanted to be dependent on another human being. Certainly not my husband, and I was going to grow up and be strong and independent and shape my own life,” said Denouden.
Denouden has made good on that childhood promise to herself. Now 33, she’s the chairwoman, president and CEO of Avana, a rental property management company based in Regina. Denouden founded the company with her husband, Troy, in 2014.
To say it’s been a huge success would still feel like an understatement. Avana will soon have 350 units in Regina, and is in the process of building a 96-unit project in Edmonton. Denouden is also looking at British Columbia and Ontario as other potential markets.
The original growth plan for the company was to get to 40 homes built over an eight year period, a $20 million property value. The company is currently sitting at $200 million in property value.
This past October, Canadian Business and Maclean’s ranked Avana as number 10 on their 2020 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies. Over the next 10 years, Denouden is planning for the company to reach $1 billion in assets.
Denouden is relatively new to the real estate industry. Her first career was in finance. She started out working for CMC Financial Group as a financial planner, and later moved on to work at RBC Wealth Management where she was a private banker.
Denouden loved the work, but soon realized it wasn’t fitting with her life. While pregnant with her second child, she flew to Winnipeg nine times for work and three times to Toronto. Starting her own company began to make a lot more sense since it would allow her to set her own schedule.
Denouden has quickly become a recognizable figure in the business world. In 2018 she was a finalist in the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, and in 2019 the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce presented her with its young entrepreneur Paragon award.