Jeanne Beker

Jeanne Beker

Iconic Fashion Journalist

Jeanne Beker

Having started her professional show biz career at the age of 16, Jeanne Beker studied acting in New York and mime in Paris before moving to St. John’s Newfoundland in 1975 to cover arts for CBC radio. Three years later, she landed a job at Toronto’s CHUM radio, and in 1979, helped launchthe ground-breaking series, The New Music, on CITY TV, which she co-hosted for 6 years.

A founding member of MuchMusic, Jeanne continued to trail blaze and in 1985, launched the legendary Fashion Television, which she presented in over 130 countries for 27 years.  A seasoned newspaper columnist and features writer, Jeanne was editor-in-chief of FQ and SIR magazines from 2003 to 2008, has authored five books and is a frequent keynote speaker and guest on myriad lifestyle shows. She’s been at the creative helm of numerous fashion lines under her own eponymous label, and since 2015, has been Style Editor for The Shopping Channel, where she currently hosts the series “Style Matters”.

Active with several charitable organizations, she’s received honourary doctorates from OCAD and St. Mary’s University and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Special Achievement Award from the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television and a Crystal Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television.  Jeanne was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Legends in 2015 and received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016.  In 2014, she was named to the Order of Canada.

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  1. Your Personal Brand

    In show business for 50 years, since the age of 16, Jeanne began building her now internationally recognized brand long before ‘personal branding’ was a common buzz phrase.  Originally an actress and a mime artist who began working as a radio arts reporter in Newfoundland in the mid ‘70s, Jeanne’s ‘nose to the grindstone’ attitude and strong work ethic were instrumental in her cultivation of a distinctive multi-faceted, multi-media career path at a time when media was dramatically transforming and the worlds of art, film, music and fashion were colliding in popular culture. Always positioned in the eye of the storm, Jeanne kept her listeners, viewers, and readers abreast of the shifting cultural landscape, reporting directly from the trenches.  The first in the world to host a website dedicated to fashion (MCI’s @Fashion) back in 1994, Jeanne earned a reputation as a global media trailblazer and went on to launch a number of her own fashion lines.  Inducted into the American Marketing Association’s “Hall of Legends” in 2015, Jeanne was named to the Order of Canada the year before, and in 2016, received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

  2. Passion for Fashion

    More than 30 years ago, Jeanne Beker set out to live a life that was extraordinary. She recalls some of the high and low points of the turbulent past decade. She dealt with the end of her marriage and rediscovered romance. Professionally, she suffered setbacks that became learning experiences leading to new career paths. She travelled the world; witnessed epic events and conducted intimate interviews as a fashion reporter; launched her own clothes labels; wrote newspaper columns; and hosted or appeared on innumerable television shows. Through it all, she stuck to her youthful resolution.

  3. Work Life Balance

    From the outset of her so-called fabulous career, Jeanne Beker was determined to ‘have it all’.  A highly successful multi-media journalist, whose life had been spent climbing the rungs of Canada’s success ladder—and making her presence felt globally via the internationally syndicated Fashion Television, which ran for 27 years in 130 countries—Jeanne had her first child in 1987, and a second one in 1989.  With both babies, she took only a couple of weeks off work, largely due to an employer who threatened she’d lose her job if she was gone too long—an amazing job that she’d spent years cultivating for herself.  Still, despite the incredible demands of her work, and a hectic, globe-trotting schedule, she managed to strike what seemed like a perfect work-life balance.  Then, in 1998, her husband, who’d been her partner for 18 years, suddenly announced he was leaving the marriage.  With two young daughters to raise, and still deeply in love with her husband, the shocking news was nothing short of devastating.  But Jeanne managed to keep on going…. Her story of survival—continuing her life as a single mom, and finding happiness once again—is an inspiring one, and a timely tale of not only mastering a most delicate balancing act, but successfully juggling  both a high profile career and family for the next two decades.

  4. Don't be Afraid and Never Give Up

    As young Polish Jews, who lost their entire families in the war, Jeanne shares the inspiring story of her parents survival during the Holocaust.  After the unspeakable loss and profound pain they suffered, they managed to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, and in 1948 immigrated to Canada.  They didn’t know the language and had little more than the shirts on their backs but with dogged determination, hard work, courage and faith, they eventually re-built their lives.

    “Don’t be afraid.  And never give up.” was Jeanne’s father’s motto.   Jeanne, who grew up listening to her parent’s relentless ‘war stories’, attributes her personal and professional success to her upbringing: It taught her about fearlessness, tenacity, dreaming, believing, hard work and above all, resiliency.  She also credits her parents’ love of story-telling for her trailblazing career in media.  “Our own honest, personal stories are the most precious gifts we can give one another,” says Jeanne.

Jeanne Beker was an amazing addition to our Women as Career Coaches program. Jeanne’s keynote was unique, entertaining and spoke to both the students and career coaches in attendance. She brought an excellent mix of wit, humor and a genuine sense of self in articulating how you must remain fearless in pursuing your dreams. She is an excellent example of what happens when dreams, determination, and passion come together.
Halton Industry Education Council

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