Human Rights Commissioner Jan Gitlin Leading by Example
There is a unique generation of women in our midst. These women did it all — studied, raised families, volunteered, made their professional mark and took care of aging parents — and they did it quietly and progressively, without social media to document every moment of their journeys. These remarkable women set the stage for the younger generation of successful entrepreneurs and professionals we see today. It’s time to celebrate their quiet accomplishments and the trails they blazed in our province!
“The fabric of Saskatchewan continues to change.” Born and raised in Saskatoon, Jan Gitlin is a community leader, a social justice advocate and, since 2011, a commissioner with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. When she summarizes her life, Jan also adds wife, mother, grandmother and fitness devotee to the equation.
In her early career, Jan graduated with a communications degree and worked at the local radio station CJWW as an on-air personality. After staying home with her son Josh for several years, Jan then worked for CTV Saskatchewan as a senior account executive for “just shy of” 20 years. Representing television stations in Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon and Yorkton, she laughs that she became known around the province as “Ms. CTV.” Jan praises the sales team environment at CTV as having “no glass ceiling. I was shown such respect there.”
Jan’s husband Ron Gitlin is the long-time general manager of Sherwood Chevrolet. The couple has been married for 42 years and lived on the same cul-de-sac in Lakeview for two decades. Their son Josh is now a radiologist at the Royal University Hospital, after attending medical school at the University of Saskatchewan. Jan is quick to point out her son’s “amazing taste in women,” her admiration of her daughter-in-law Nicky and her absolute devotion to her grandson Levi. “Nicky is the best mom I’ve seen in my life!”
While Jan recognizes the myriad of situations that parents can be in, her advice is to “get your fingerprints all over your little ones. I believe that the foundations of parenting and grandparenting are explaining and interacting, showing respect and teaching with love.”
Jan’s community leadership is extensive and includes co-founding Think Good. Do Good with her cousin Heather Fenyes in 2012; the interfaith organization works with schools to find ways to improve our world. Jan also co-chaired the Saskatoon Holocaust Memorial for three decades. And for many years, she has been the celebrity chair of the popular Silver Spoon Dinner — a fundraising event that is well-known for its entertaining celebrity guest speakers.
Jan’s current priority is Concentus Citizenship Education Foundation (she is a board member). She describes Concentus as “a legacy for my grandson. I’m now in my passion. Through Concentus, we are realizing a vision for effective learning of the new 3Rs of rights, responsibility and respect. Saskatchewan has the best Human Rights Commission in Canada.”
A registered charity, Concentus is a board-governed foundation that administers, supports and fundraises for the development and advancement of classroom-ready, teaching resources for citizenship (kindergarten to grade 12). A cornerstone donation to establish Concentus was made by Elaine and Sherwood Sharfe. Concentus resources are focused on five essential citizenship competencies: enlightened, empowered, empathetic, ethical and engaged.
Concentus Citizenship Education Foundation