Jeanne Rokosh is the founder of Essie's Place.
This organization is dedicated to her partner, Essie, who died unexpectedly in November 2011. After moving back to her hometown in 2013, after 30 years, Jeanne noticed that while some things had changed, some things had not. She experienced first-hand, the lack of support and services for people from the LGBTIQ2SA+ community.
While Jeanne encountered many kind, compassionate and willing people, who represented organizations that supported marginalized groups, she didn’t see anything for her community by her community. This was the motivation for the creation of Essie’s Place.
Jeanne has an MA in Clinical Psychology, and has completed Post Graduate Certification in Monitoring and Evaluation. Throughout her 35-year career, she has progressed from front line work to leadership positions in the non-profit, healthcare and post-secondary sectors. However, she says it is her 35 years of experience in connecting with thousands of people from marginalized communities, as well as being a member of some of those disenfranchised communities, that has taught her the most.
She knows we now live in an era, where there is increasing resistance toward people from the LGBTIQ2SA+ community, as well an influx of disinformation and self-proclaimed experts. Jeanne sees this combination, when directed at any marginalized community, as both toxic and reversing some of the strides toward acceptance, and genuine equality our communities have always needed.
While she has experienced this throughout her career, she now finds it more important than ever to be truthful, integral to ensure Essie's Place services are, first and foremost, informed by the community, anchored in evidence and based on best practices.