Academic Coordinator, Faculty Of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University
Jananee Rasiah moved to Canada from Malaysia when she was 15. Her father’s high-ranking government position meant she wasn’t even able to say goodbye to anyone before being thrown into a completely different world with just a pair of corduroy pants from The Bay as her armour (“I thought they were so fashionable,” she laughs). The experience was incredibly challenging: “Having to be independent and learning to cope with anything that comes your way, to be strong, those were the values that were embedded deeply.”
Rasiah has maintained that warrior mentality ever since — and she’s always seeking a new challenge. “I don’t like doing the same thing for too long.”
When she hit a ceiling in the health-care industry because of a lack of breadth, she took on different roles, from teaching nursing students to running a provincial research platform. When she realized that visual creativity was a deficit in her skill set, she started down a path that ended with her co-founding a film and media company, FRAME Productions. “For me, growth is a must. If there’s a chance for growth, I’ll do it.”
Now, whether she’s directing a diverse team on a film set, translating dense health data in a public-friendly way or raising her two children in a multi-generational, multicultural household, community and collaboration are Rasiah’s north stars.
“You couldn’t do the things that I’ve done if you were doing it on your own. You have to do the work, yes, you must have an eagerness to pursue something but, aside from that, it’s the relationships you build, the people you collaborate with, it’s the things that you do with others, for others.”