Job Title: Co-host, The Joe Show with Gary & J’Lyn
Why She’s A Top 40: She’s a 20-year veteran of broadcast journalism who has lent her media profile to raising money and awareness for more than a dozen charity organizations, especially those honouring the Canadian Armed Forces.
Key To Her Success: Wanting to make a difference, she first worked on repairing her own self-esteem and personal challenges, then she shifted focus to her city and looked for ways to strengthen her community.
In 2003, J’lyn Nye was one of Edmonton’s sweethearts. More Edmontonians watched the TV personality with big red hair and size 16 blazers – an anomaly for TV women – than any other weekend news anchor. The girl from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., who since the age of 19 had worked her way west through TV journalism jobs in Thunder Bay, Regina and Global Edmonton in 2000, was near the upper echelon of media jobs.
And yet, she says, “I wasn’t happy with myself.”
At the time she was 33. She had just filmed Return to Normandy in France, a documentary that won her the Edward R. Murrow Award from the American Radio and Television News Directors Association. “It was a really life-changing moment for me to be standing in the Canadian cemetery just off Juno Beach. And I had one of those moments, thinking, ‘These guys died for me to do whatever I wanted. What do I want to do?’”
She made a list of short-term goals and checked them off one by one. “I wanted to enter a bodybuilding contest. I wanted to get a tattoo. I wanted to ride a motorcycle. I wanted to start writing more,” says Nye. “But on the bigger level, I just wanted to be a nicer person.”
After leaving TV for the unscripted, shorter hours of Joe FM’s morning show, Nye threw herself even more intensely at community volunteering.
She had already given hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars through telethons and fundraisers to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also started volunteering for Angels Anonymous and the Edmonton Humane Society. She began hosting events and raising thousands of dollars for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Whether for muscular dystrophy, the Ride for Kids hot lunch fundraiser or Take Back the Night, Nye is there, lending her media profile to boost their causes.
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Her most personal annual commitments are on the horizon this month. Since 2006, she has emceed the Butterdome’s Remembrance Day service, the largest in Edmonton. Amidst the many hours she spends planning for that, she will also host the Lest We Forget tribute concert at the Winspear Centre for the third time.
Between her work and volunteer commitments, Nye co-wrote a popular biography of Peter Pocklington, I’d Trade Him Again, which was recently released in paperback.
Nye wants to give herself to her community because “along the way, the city was here for me, too,” she says. “My friends and the organizations I’ve become involved with have my back, and I have theirs.”