Avana Builds https://avanabuilds.com/ A better tomorrow. Mon, 28 Nov 2022 21:25:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://avanabuilds.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CCLFavicon.png Avana Builds https://avanabuilds.com/ 32 32 Becoming #HeForShe https://avanabuilds.com/stand-against-gender-based-violence/ https://avanabuilds.com/stand-against-gender-based-violence/#respond Fri, 25 Nov 2022 21:55:31 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/importance-of-affordable-housing-copy/ The post Becoming #HeForShe appeared first on Avana Builds.


Gender-based violence happens around us every day. As per data from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, women are the targets of the vast majority of this violence.  Partly due to a lack of accountability by men in their immediate circles – think “locker talk” or a “boys-will-be-boys” mentality. These ideals can and will lead to gender-based violence. This type of violence can be physical, psychological, or a combo of both shown in the many relationships that have an unequal balance of power and control. 

What is Gender-Based Violence?

Gender-based physical violence is the most prominent and overt form of gender-based abuse. We all talk about how we would step in and stop it if we saw it. How we could never let our friends assault someone or use the excuse of “the people around me couldn’t possibly be like this.” These assumptions blind us from seeing the red flags before the violence, which usually happens behind closed doors.

Gender-based emotional violence lurks deeper in the shadows and is, objectively, harder to spot. It has low visibility and is challenging for most people to discuss. It is silent and often overlooked because society tends to give people, especially men, the benefit of the doubt. These small behavioural outbursts we see in public are often small glimpses of a more significant issue happening in private. It is also well-known that this emotional damage creates longer-lasting effects for the victims. On a neurological level, a victim’s brain chemistry changes when experiencing emotional abuse – similar to PTSD. 

Turning a blind eye to micro-occurrences, outbursts, harmful conversations amongst colleagues, “locker-talk,” and other problematic behaviours that pop up in everyday life allows these issues to fester. Ultimately, it falls on individuals to help mitigate these situations in their day-to-day lives. To notice the behaviour early on and to call for an end to it, to change the priority given to all types of gender-based violence, and ultimately, to hold abusers accountable.

How can men help against Gender-Based Violence?

So, where do we go from here? As men, husbands, fathers, and friends, it is time to stand up and become He for She. The occurrences of inappropriate comments or gestures are the catalyst. The more frequent the behaviour, the higher the tolerance for inappropriate transgressions. Every six days, a woman is killed by her intimate partner, and a close family member or married relationship perpetrates more than half of the violent acts committed toward women.

These facts make it more urgent than ever that we need to end gender-based violence and make faster gains than we have currently been achieving. What are men and males going to do about it?

We can start by just heading over to heforshe.org and looking through some of their resources as to how men can help create a more equitable world for women and start the conversation with concrete plans on how to achieve these goals.

Ways to challenge Gender-Based Violence

Heforshe recommends, “Start with where men and boys are coming from, but don’t get stuck there. Take chances, be challenging, and show respect for men by challenging stereotypes and sexist assumptions about men and boys”. We need to start with what we know to be true to us. It opens us up to hearing the views that challenge us and make us uncomfortable.

We must challenge the abuse of power and ideas that justify gender-based violence. One of the simplest ways for men to do that is to speak up in the face of inequality by breaking the frequency of behaviours that lead to complacency. We need to challenge our peers when they speak disrespectfully of others because individuals have the most significant impact when it comes to changing human behaviour.

Finally, we must be supportive of the individuals who have faced violence or are currently dealing with it. Listen and offer your nonjudgmental support by telling them the violence is not their fault and that they deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of the situation. Let them know you do not blame them. The most valuable thing you can offer is respect and take their claims seriously. For more resources, visit the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

We need to be proactive in our everyday actions

Suppose we don’t talk about gender-based violence with any regularity. It shouldn’t take an event’s finality to cause us to act. We need to be proactive in our everyday actions

We look both ways before crossing the street to ensure that a car doesn’t hit us, and we do these actions every day to ensure we are safe. We take proactive and preventive steps every day, sometimes without even realizing it. So why do we idly sit by when those around us may be contributing to gender-based violence? It is time to stand up, use our voices, and take the necessary precautions to stop the violence before it happens. 

If we can all stand together, we can make a difference.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance).

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The Importance of Affordable Housing https://avanabuilds.com/importance-of-affordable-housing/ https://avanabuilds.com/importance-of-affordable-housing/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2022 21:22:58 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/lets-talk-lady-business-copy/ The post The Importance of Affordable Housing appeared first on Avana Builds.


Housing and rental affordability are issues in Canada. This issue isn’t something that happened because of the pandemic; exacerbated, yes, but it’s not a new problem – it has been an issue for the past decade. It continues to be one, as one-in-five families cannot comfortably afford safe and stable housing, and women, children, and visible minorities are affected the most. We see it in our current markets, Regina, Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, Alberta, as well as across the nation. Affordable housing options are harder to find than ever, especially if you’re searching for a rental home.

What are affordable housing and affordable rental rates?

The government of Canada states that housing should not take up more than 30% of your household budget. You need to include all your utilities, like heat, electricity, and water; anything more than that means you’re spending too much on housing and have to cut back on other expenses. For those who need to see the numbers to get a clearer picture, here is an example: if a single parent family earns a living wage of $16.23 in Regina, $33,758 per year, you would want to spend no more than $10,127 per year on housing expenses. This yearly budget equates to $844 in rent each month. Saskatchewan’s average “in-market rental” is approximately $1,049 per month. At this price, it is tough for single parents to be able to provide a safe space for their families.

Avana Affordable Housing Statistics - Canada Rental Housing Index

Who is disproportionately affected by the rising cost of living?

Women in Canada are more likely than men to be single parents. In fact, women make up 77% of single-parent families. Single women with children are overrepresented in the rental communities, and over half of them are in situations where they can’t comfortably afford their current housing. Couple this with the fact that women are paid less than men for the same position, and you can see a sad truth beginning to appear. 

But why affordable housing?

Keeping a roof over your head is not the only thing your monthly paycheck goes towards. Your funds must be used for other basic needs, which are also becoming even more expensive. By the time you get through all of the necessities, there is a good chance there may be nothing left. How is it possible for these families to get a place where they can grow? Affordable housing helps people get back on their feet, no matter where they have come from. It helps prevent homelessness by giving people more stability in their lives. It can help someone escape a dangerous situation. It can be a hand-up when life is giving them a push-down. 

Creating more affordable housing options in cities across the country gives people the chance to thrive instead of just getting by and surviving. That is the reason our work is so important. That is the reason we choose to do the work that we do. By providing quality affordable housing that meets the needs of residents and local communities, you can help lift people out of bad situations and help them thrive in our neighbourhoods.

Avana has developed or is in the development of over 1,100 homes in Edmonton and Regina, and more than 70% of those are considered affordable. We are not alone in this fight, however. With support from organizations like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the federal government, we can maximize our impact. However, we extend beyond the minimum requirements to maintain those partnerships. When the federal government gives us a partial loan with the condition that 30% of the units must be designated affordable, we dedicate even more. 


If people can find stability in the affordable rental homes we provide, it is one step in the right direction, and we believe that access to a safe and stable environment is a human right. So much so that we will go above and beyond to make this a reality for all individuals in the communities with which we serve. 

Helping people thrive and setting them up for future success is the most profitable thing we can do.

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“Change is not born out of silence” – from jenndenouden.com https://avanabuilds.com/change-is-not-born-out-of-silence/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 19:41:20 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/regina-developer-criticises-government-copy/ The post “Change is not born out of silence” – from jenndenouden.com appeared first on Avana Builds.


“Change is not born out of silence.

Recently, we had the opportunity to be very vocal about an issue that is at the very center of Avana’s core values. We have always been vocal about affordable housing, but our voice has moved from meeting rooms and unfruitful email chains and moved into the public forum. We have always used Avana’s voice to advocate for change, however, once we did so publicly we made the people who are able to make those changes uncomfortable. We did what is considered unconventional for private business in our province and we openly communicated our discontent with the current provincial government policies. 

In the past, we went through conventional channels. Not once did we ask for funding specifically for Avana. We advocated for systemic change, we tried to share our experience working in the business of developing affordable housing strategies, what we had learned, where the gaps existed, and even; how to fill them. Policy which would entice other developers to adopt our purpose-led model. On Thursday, March 10th, Avana was part of a good-news story. An announcement in which we highlighted a partnership with the federal government, their crown corporation the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the City of Regina. During this event, reporters noted that the province was absent and I was asked about it. The door opened, we stepped through and we are happy we did. 

Why? Because we have a solution. One that benefits all of us. It is a solution that allows the private sector to contribute to the social progress of the community. It allows the government to see rewards while cutting costs. It provides support to those who need them most, and it does so while creating jobs, infrastructure, and economic impact in our province. 

Avana is unconventional, so it really shouldn’t surprise people that we are unafraid to leave convention behind. Rebellion against the status quo is part of our identity.

Conventional hasn’t been working, and that is what should make people uncomfortable, not the call for change and a private business using their voice to advocate for that change.

When we first walked into the Legislature as guests of the NDP on Monday, the same question was asked by nearly everyone we met: 

“Why would a successful business take such a critical stance of the government?”

Because we can and we care.

We are one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies. We have approximately $400 million in assets under management. Due to the magnitude of our operation, our relationships with our suppliers generate consistent contracts and significant economic impact in our markets. We build communities. We have accomplished all of this in spite of operating in a male-dominated industry as a female-led business, which, if you’ve read this blog, you’ll know is something I talk about from time to time.

One of the reasons we have seen success is because we understand that communities need to be inclusive. They need to be safe. They need to acknowledge the issues facing their residents. They need to provide a framework so we can work towards solutions for those issues. 

The Minister of Social Services, Lori Carr, responded to our concerns through the media on Monday and congratulated us on the funding we received through the federal government’s National Housing Strategy. She went on to say that there are so many programs who apply for funding and she is sorry Avana’s did not get selected for funding, but there is only so much money to go around. 

While I can appreciate that there is limited funding, it concerns me that they assumed we were there to ask for money. That has never been the case. The Minister went on to say that currently there are 317 vacancies in affordable units managed by the Saskatchewan Housing Authority. 

Carr says that all Ministry cases are looked at on an individual basis and support is provided when and if possible. Carr went on to say that this shows that no gaps exist and that she is proud of the work the Ministry does.

If you look on the surface and see the vacancy rate, it does give you pause for a split second. Maybe there isn’t much of a problem here. There are 317 empty units, they wouldn’t be empty if there was a need for them. If you dig just an iota deeper though, the truth is there to be seen and it is not pretty.

We work very closely with organizations that provide support, including housing, for families and individuals fleeing interpersonal violence. Neither of the two most prominent shelters for families and individuals fleeing interpersonal violence currently have any vacancies. One single unit is currently in transition and being prepared for a new family. One organization alone turned 135 people away due to lack of capacity in February. About 20% of these were turned away because they were individuals looking for housing that have not experienced interpersonal violence. That same organization has turned away 1016 individuals in the past 11 months. 

The reality is that there are barriers in place which prevent families from being able to access the 317 empty units. They are old. They are in unsafe neighbourhoods, often in the same neighbourhoods where the partner who perpetrated the violence still resides. They are not suitable for families. There are even specific and unrealistic criteria that if not met mean the person is turned away.

How can the Minister say there are no gaps?

We are a private enterprise, but we understand that without our residents, the families that call Avana suites home, we don’t have anything but empty buildings. Our vacancy rates in Regina are 2.1% and that is almost exclusively in our at-market homes. Shelters have zero vacancies. Yet the government is proud of a 15% vacancy? 

There is more to this story. So let’s explore it. Let’s fix it. Let’s talk.

This can be a win for everyone. This is a win we can all share today. Unfortunately, the win requires this government to acknowledge there’s a problem in the first place. Until there is a willingness to listen, families will be turned away from shelters and denied housing, shelters will be full and underfunded, and those 300 or so vacancies will still be there and the government will still be proud of a vacancy rate that is not a reflection of the realities our communities are facing.”

Jenn Denouden

President & CEO

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11 Resources for Women Entrepreneurs – From jenndenouden.com https://avanabuilds.com/resources-for-women-entrepreneurs/ https://avanabuilds.com/resources-for-women-entrepreneurs/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2022 13:49:00 +0000 https://jenndenouden.com/?p=1596 The post 11 Resources for Women Entrepreneurs – From jenndenouden.com appeared first on Avana Builds.


When I co-founded Avana in 2014, I was fortunate to lean on my extensive background in finance. It has been a competitive advantage that has helped me to grow Avana into a company aiming to hit $1 billion in assets under management in the next decade. But as a new founder, I definitely felt that there were gaps in the resources and opportunities out there and I saw first-hand how disproportionate this is for women entrepreneurs.

Here are eleven resources to help you as you navigate your entrepreneurial journey.

StartUp Canada

One of my favourite organizations of all time, StartUp Canada is a national organization that offers a wealth of guides, advisory opportunities, and events for entrepreneurs. Active in 30+ communities around the country, you can participate locally or catch up with their extensive podcast programming. You can catch me on an upcoming StartUp Canada podcast later this fall!


What started out as a job board for women looking for flexible work, tellent has evolved into leading the new ways we need to work in today’s economy. Here you’ll find an awesome community and extensive resources for mothers returning to work (full or part-time), help for transitioning into flexible work, and extensive Maser Mind programming from leading coaches and experts. A must for anyone tackling a transition in the way they work.

Women of Influence

Another awesome national organization, WOI posts regular features of inspiring women leaders and entrepreneurs across their channels. Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or at the top of the corporate ladder, you’ll find resources and a community of fierce women.


I could not do a roundup post about top resources for women entrepreneurs without a major shout out to WESK. From business advising, funding, training, to networking, WESK helps women in Saskatchewan to rise and succeed with their awesome resources.

Women in Leadership Foundation

With over 52,000 participants in their programs, WIL has been a major influence in helping women advance their leadership skills and pathways. They offer lots of online content and also feature a job board with access to some great companies posting juicy roles.

Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada

Curated specifically for women entrepreneurs, this ecosystem offers lots of content – videos, research, founder stories – that support their members.

The Forum

Another Canadian membership-based organization, The Forum offers a range of programs and opportunities including mentorship and Pitch for the Purse (a $50,000 investment and mentorship prize).

Forbes Women

The name speaks for itself. If you’re looking for a major dose of inspiration, you’ll spend hours on this site reading the profiles and content written by women for women. If you’re interested in the VC world, Forbes Women offers a great look behind the curtain, so to speak, from a woman founder perspective.


As a global non-profit, Catalyst is a leader in building workplaces that…work…for women. Their case studies and workshops shine a light on just how much work remains in cultivating more equitable work environments and leadership opportunities for women. It’s for reasons like this that we developed our Avana Pledge—more on that soon!

Make Lemonade

For small businesses, makers, and solopreneurs, this community offers a digital membership to help connect and inspire women (as well as a coworking space located in downtown Toronto). If you want the opportunity to share working sessions and network with others going through what you’re facing, this is a community that will cheer you on passionately.

Freelance Founders

Ideal for independents, this is another community that offers connection and collaboration to freelancers who run their businesses more like founders. Membership is heavily skewed to the US, but the community offers seasoned mentors and connectors that help fresh and emerging talent with sage advice and wisdom. Check out their published rates guide for the skinny on pricing your services.


Check these out and let me know if they help on your founder’s journey!

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Avana Wins National Award For Business Excellence https://avanabuilds.com/avana-wins-award-for-business-excellence/ https://avanabuilds.com/avana-wins-award-for-business-excellence/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2022 20:01:55 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/?p=9849 The post Avana Wins National Award For Business Excellence appeared first on Avana Builds.


Avana was honoured by being included in the 2022 class of the Canadian Business Excellence Awards.

The Canadian Business Excellence Award is a national award administered annually. This special designation recognizes businesses from all industries that demonstrate a strategic approach to successfully improving performance and achieving goals.

Applicants are evaluated by the adjudication committee of the Canadian Business Excellence Award against the award criteria in three key performance areas:

  • Delighted Customers;
  • Engaged Employees;
  • Innovation.

Tara Osipoff, Avana’s Executive Vice President, accepted the award on behalf of Avana at an awards ceremony earlier this month. Her acceptance speech can be viewed here

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CELEBRATED REGINA REAL ESTATE COMPANY BREAKS GROUND ON NEW HEADQUARTERS https://avanabuilds.com/avana-hq-groundbreaking/ Wed, 11 May 2022 15:58:26 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/qa-ceo-avana-foundation-copy/ The post CELEBRATED REGINA REAL ESTATE COMPANY BREAKS GROUND ON NEW HEADQUARTERS appeared first on Avana Builds.


Regina, Saskatchewan, May 11, 2022 Regina-based real estate development and management company, Avana, is reasserting its commitment to the City of Regina and the province of Saskatchewan by announcing Regina as the location for Avana’s headquarters. 

Located at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and the Ring Road in East Regina, the 16,000 square foot building features two floors and a main floor parkade. 

Avana’s housing portfolio features over 1,000 homes in Regina and Edmonton, with three major developments currently under construction in the Alberta capital and two major developments here in Regina. 

“Even though we are currently making significant investments in Alberta, the choice to keep our base of operations in Regina is the right decision for Avana,” says Jenn Denouden, Avana’s President and CEO. “We started Avana to be different, to go against the status quo. We are proud of the impact we are making in the communities we serve, the vision we have for our industry, our province, for our home; these are the things that matter most.”

Construction is beginning immediately and all construction materials are proudly being sourced through Saskatchewan companies, the project will provide 30 local companies contracts and will supply work for over 200 tradespeople. 

“Avana owes our success to our residents and the people who will ultimately come here to work every day to realize our purpose-led endeavour to build quality, affordable housing in safe neighbourhoods,” says Denouden. “We want to specifically thank Rob Hutcheon and his team at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for their continued support to Avana over the years and specifically around this exciting announcement of the Avana headquarters.”

Avana is a family-owned, female-led business that was founded in 2014 and has been widely recognized in the business community for its high-growth, purpose-led business model. In 2020, Avana became the first female-led enterprise from Saskatchewan to break the top ten fastest-growing Canadian companies list published by Macleans, and more recently, was named among the top 500 fastest-growing companies in the Americas in 2022 by a leading financial publication.

“Seeing shovels in the ground on such a monumental project is a testament to the incredible work we have been able to accomplish at Avana and a signal of what is to come,” says Tara Osipoff, Avana’s Executive Vice President. “This new home will provide us with a state-of-the-art facility to continue our remarkable growth and share our success with the communities we serve. Choosing Regina was important to us as this is where Avana began.”

For more information, contact:

Chris Harris, Manager of Communications and Media, Avana
Phone: (306)501-2245
Email: chris.h@avanabuilds.com


Join our Team! https://avanabuilds.com/join-our-team/ Tue, 10 May 2022 20:16:06 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/help-us-help-her-operation-mrs-claus-copy/ The post Join our Team! appeared first on Avana Builds.


The Company

Avana is a Saskatchewan-based real estate enterprise headquartered in Regina. The Avana team, proud of their female-led and family-owned values, is dedicated to using its energy and resources to enrich the community through extensive charitable giving and the development of safe, attainable, quality housing across Canada.

Since founding the company in 2014, Avana has emerged as a leading developer in Western Canada with accolades for high-growth successes and social responsibility. With over $300 million in assets under management and extraordinary business performance to-date, Avana ranked No. 10 on the Canadian Business and Maclean’s 2020 Growth List of Top 500 companies in Canada, marking the first time in history that a female-led company from Saskatchewan broke the Growth’s List Top 10.

Collectively, the Avana team demonstrates a progressive and forward-thinking attitude and approach to ideation actively seeking out change and evolution. As a key member of the Avana team you will exhibit a strong drive and passion to fight for equality and female empowerment. Parallel to Avana’s strong familial sense of belonging, care, and respect, you will be a part of something bigger than yourself. Together, the Avana team will build a better tomorrow, a better future, ultimately leading to a better community.

Visit avanabuilds.com to learn more about Avana’s purpose-led vision to maximize positive impact in the community.

The Opportunity

To support the fast-pace and high-growth at Avana, our client is actively seeking a Controller to closely support the President/CEO with all of cash flow and reporting needs of the company as they head towards their goal of achieving $1B in assets under management over the next 10 years.

This is an exciting time to join Avana as they grow and expand across key real estate markets in Canada. A commitment to and alignment with the corporate culture will be key to this professional’s success in the role. Everyone at Avana believes in a strong work ethic, a positive, can-do and will-do attitude and shares a passion for the community.

Based at the Regina, Saskatchewan head office, the Controller reports directly to the Head of Operations, and will lead a team of 2 direct reports for now with plans to grow. The Controller works with the President/CEO from time to time dealing with cash flow forecasting, providing documentation for financing applications.

The Controller works directly with the external accounting firm to finalize annual audited, reviewed and notice to reader financial statements for the entities in the enterprise. Throughout the fiscal year, this individual will gather details, options and assess risk, who will then present to the President/CEO as the ultimate decision maker on significant items.

The Controller manages the day to day banking needs of the enterprise, including bank accounts, credit cards, and cash flow products and services. This individual directly manages the accounting department staff, including daily management, performance reviews, performance development plans and compensation entitlements. This individual contributes to the operations by finding efficiencies and ensuring accuracy in the financial operations.

The scope of this position applies to Avana’s activities across Canada in current markets and will apply to new markets.

We have an incredibly fast-paced work environment so we are looking for passion, energy and proactivity.

Skills & Qualifications

  • Possess a driven entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to exercise composure and maintain professionalism at all times.
  • Strong and articulate communication skills.
  • Ability to work well independently and collaborate in a team environment.
  • Emotional intelligence to thrive in a family enterprise.
  • Ability to adhere to CPA standards while offering creativity to decision making in relation to tax planning.
  • Enjoys and works well in a fast-paced, high-growth environment that is focused on driving corporate expansion and market presence.
  • Ability to delegate to and manage individuals on the accounting team.
  • Ability to travel from time to time within Canada

Avana is a strong advocate for women and children with a mission to lead with a purpose that is driven by our values. We are proud to partner with and support the community organization, Sofia House. For the month of October Avana is matching donations to Sofia House up to $5000.00! Visit the website to make a donation in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Sofia House is a non-profit, second stage housing facility in Regina, SK that provides safe housing and supportive programming and counselling services to families who have experienced domestic violence. The immediate priority of Sofia House is to provide their clients with a safe environment through their 20 apartments equipped with basic essentials for every day living. A reserve of donations in-kind is kept on-site to restock apartments or present to those families that have completed their stay.

In addition to a safe place to live, Sofia House provides supportive counselling services. A combination of individual and group counselling for all family members is offered. Focus is on building self esteem and empowering women to use their coping skills and incorporate them into leadership skills.

Domestic violence can look differently from situation to situation. It is a pattern of verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual behaviours used by one person in order to gain power and control over another person. Domestic violence refers to abuse that occurs in the contact of an intimate relationship or family setting.

Domestic violence is committed by both women and men, however women experience violence differently.

  • Violence against women is more frequent, severe, and morelikely to be life threatening than violent acts against men.
  • Physical abuse of women is more likely to result in the needfor medical treatment.
  • Women are more likely to experience violence fromintimate partners in their homes.
  • Women are at a greater risk of sexual violence.
  • The fear of violence is more prevalent in women, potentiallypreventing them from being fully active members in their communities.

Statistics on Domestic Violence in Canada

  • Over the past 5 years, 8% of women report that they have experienced violence by an intimate partner.
  • On average, 73 women are murdered by their husbands every year. This is more than three times the number of men who are murdered by their wives.
  • Only 37% of female victims of spousal violence reported incidents to police.
  • 11% of women who reported at least 1 incidence of spousal violence in the previous year went to a shelter or transition house.
  • Since 2000, the rate of spousal violence against women has decreased while the rate of violence against women by their boyfriends has increased.
  • The most likely victims of domestic violence include: Women under the age of 25
    Aboriginal women
    Women in lower-income households.

In closing we would like to remind you that COVID-19 has effected many of us differently. It has really shone a light on the need for second stage housing and supportive programming for our community. Now, more than ever we need to band together and support those who are experiencing hardships.


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Q&A: Nicki Ackerman, CEO, Avana Foundation https://avanabuilds.com/qa-ceo-avana-foundation/ Mon, 02 May 2022 20:15:03 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/top-500-fastest-growing-companies-the-americas-copy/ The post Q&A: Nicki Ackerman, CEO, Avana Foundation appeared first on Avana Builds.


Our Manager of Communication and Media, Chris Harris, had a chance to sit down with Nicki Ackerman, Avana Foundation CEO, and leave the shop-talk behind for a few minutes. Here’s how it went:


Is there anything that you’re currently reading? If we were to look at Nicki Ackerman’s bedside table? What book would we find there?

Right now, you would actually find something out of the ordinary for me; I am reading “The Nightingale,” which is a novel that outlines the experiences of a family that went through World War Two. It’s a fascinating book and a tear-jerker. However, as I said, it’s not something that I would typically read. A few years ago, I started to invest more into my personal growth and development. So until now, for the past couple of years, that has kind of been my go-to. But just for over the winter, I wanted something a little bit different. So that’s what made me sort of transition. I would say 95% of the time that it would be personal growth and development you would find.

What is the last personal growth and development book you read, or one that sticks out?

One of my favourites is “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.” It teaches you kind of about the “B” rules in life. And I don’t know how much we can say here. “B” rules are bull**** rules. So as you grow up, you’re trained to think a certain way.  This book explores how to break down those thought patterns, recreate your own rules, and live by your values and beliefs. So I think that was really pivotal in my personal growth and development: learning to live by my own values and beliefs, not necessarily what I was taught growing up.

When we talk about personal growth, do you have any advice or maybe a methodology you might implement after reading one of these books? Something that helps you take an introspective look and apply the readings to your everyday life?

I actually started journaling about a year ago, it wasn’t something that I thought that I would ever need to dive into. I think people, including myself, look at journaling as time-consuming and it is, but when you actually take the time to journal and give yourself the opportunity to honestly and thoroughly reflect on things like books you’ve read, or events that have happened to you, it really makes the time you spent doing those things worthwhile. It helps you understand those things and apply them to your life.

Do you ever go back and read your journal?

Yes. I try to make a point, usually once a month, or every couple of months to go back. It is a very important part of the process, it’s a chance to remind yourself “I forgot that I should be doing that”, or “this helped me”. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from my mentors is that the learning never stops. You often hear people say “I put in the work, I’ve done the work, I’ve done the things”. The truth is, it never actually ends. You have to continuously put in the work. 

Grooming your own personal growth is evidently a big part of how you approach life and it has obviously brought you success. What about Avana? Was there a moment when you realized the company you and your family had created had realized a pretty impressive level of success?

I would say for me personally, it was when we shifted our focus to being purpose-led. In the beginning, we had goals and ambitions and dreams and what we wanted Avana to look like. It was very cool. It was a job, We were building these homes and we were building a great business. When we actually shifted our sole focus to being a purpose-led company, it felt like, this is what we were meant to do. This is what we need to do. We can’t stop now. Look at the impact that we’re having; all of the work we have accomplished with the YWCA and Sofia House. Those are the success stories.

Every time I’ve mentioned success. You have positioned it to be about someone else, you haven’t really said “my success”. Why?

A few years ago, I actually I was interviewed for a radio fundraiser. I was asked what makes your company want to give back? My answer is one I reflect on quite often. I said that we’re not actually successful unless we’re bringing up the community with us. We can’t find success without our residents in the community, without the tradespeople that we work with, and very importantly, without the people that are in our offices and in the field. To me, to us, it is very important that we acknowledge that although we started this, and we got it here, but not without all these other people. I feel like giving back is the ultimate way to show our appreciation to those who made us part of their lives.

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Let’s Talk Lady Business https://avanabuilds.com/lets-talk-lady-business/ https://avanabuilds.com/lets-talk-lady-business/#respond Wed, 20 Apr 2022 12:37:37 +0000 https://jenndenouden.com/?p=1677 The post Let’s Talk Lady Business appeared first on Avana Builds.


I recently saw a post on social media that showed a German company protesting a “luxury” 19% tax on female hygiene products by masquerading tampons as a book, which only has a tax rate of 7%. The story is from June 2019 but started to make its rounds again.

As an advocate and business person, I love to see such inventive and on-brand campaigns that look at a problem and provide a solution and insight into why the issue at hand is absurd. The campaign also had some effect. In November of 2019, tampons were reduced to a 7% tax rate and no longer considered luxury goods in Germany. The company that came up with the idea sells organic sanitary products. Using their experience in the industry, they were able to start a conversation in a very focused and effective way while showing the hypocrisy of the “luxury” tax.

So before we get too comfortable with our “*tsk tsk* Germany,” let’s look at things here in Canada…

Since 2015, Canada no longer has a federal tax on menstrual products. However, before that, we collected roughly $36 million in taxes per year on menstrual products alone. So big picture, that’s quite a lot of money, but does it make a difference when we talk about the product’s affordability; does not charging GST on an item really make it more affordable? No. Removing a “tampon tax” is nothing more than a symbolic change. Look at these stats from 2015:

34% of women and girls in Canada have had to regularly or occasionally sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.

63% of women and girls have regularly or occasionally missed an activity because of their period and concerns about not being able to access menstrual hygiene products or proper facilities.

93% of female respondents and 88% of male respondents support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products for free in schools.

81% of women and girls and 75% of men and boys support or somewhat support having menstrual hygiene products for free in the workplace.

58% of female respondents said they occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product.

41% of female respondents said a male has occasionally or regularly teased them about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.

The federal government recently announced a Menstrual Equity Fund which will see $25 million put towards providing products to those in need starting in 2022. That means, in part, creating a fund for non-profits and shelters to make products accessible/free for vulnerable women. They also announced that they will be providing menstrual products in federally regulated workplaces. 

These are all somewhat positive policies, but do they actually look to solve the issue and address the realities listed above? No.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have made it a focus of my business and my identity to fight back against patriarchal paradigms so deeply rooted within our society. You would also know that I have been fighting for industry-led solutions for problems that governments are failing to address, creating unimaginative and regressive policies for, or ignoring altogether. 

This is another example of how the government sees a prominent issue, provides a partial solution, and calls the job complete. 

It is something we have been facing in our own goal to create affordable housing solutions and second-stage shelter options for women and children fleeing intimate partner violence. I can’t help but wonder what solutions a company that had the vision and insight to expose a tax loophole could do with $25 million to address the issue of period poverty? 

Maybe they should ask?

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Avana Named in the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in The Americas’ https://avanabuilds.com/top-500-fastest-growing-companies-the-americas/ Thu, 07 Apr 2022 14:52:40 +0000 https://avanabuilds.com/regina-developer-criticises-government-copy/ The post Avana Named in the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in The Americas’ appeared first on Avana Builds.


For Immediate Release.
Regina, Saskatchewan, April 07, 2022
– Regina-based real estate development and management company, Avana, has been named in the top 500 on the Financial Times list of fastest-growing companies in the Americas for 2022. 

The list was compiled via a collaboration between the Financial Times and the database company, Statista. Companies from across the Americas were ranked by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue, between 2017 and 2020.

The female-led enterprise’s meteoric growth has positioned the company 308th, above household names like Tesla and Netflix in the rankings. Avana recorded an absolute growth rate of over 170% since 2017 to receive the nod from what is often recognized as the worldʼs leading global business publication.

“We are incredibly proud of the work we have accomplished,” says Jenn Denouden, Avana’s President and CEO. “We have approached our business by measuring success through not just profit, but our impact in the communities we serve. To see our name listed higher than some of these companies whose only function is to generate dividends serves as an example for other companies looking to generate good for everyday people rather than their stockholders.”

Avana has over $400 million in assets under management in Regina and Edmonton as part of their purpose-led real estate enterprise. Avana specializes in working with local governments and organizations to build quality housing to fulfill the immediate needs of local housing markets. 

“We have set incredibly arduous growth targets and are well on track to reaching one billion dollars in assets under management by 2030,” says Denouden. “This is a great reminder that we are on the right track, we hope these sorts of accolades help amplify our voice further as we continue to build our business in a socially responsible and sustainable manner.”

This most recent distinction from the Financial Times adds to previous honours earned for exceptional growth. Avana ranked No. 10 on the Canadian Business and Maclean’s 2020 Growth List of top 500 companies in Canada. It marked the first time in history that a female-led company from Saskatchewan broke the Growth List’s Top 10. 

For more information on Avana’s Regina and Edmonton portfolio visit avanabuilds.com.

For more information, contact:

Chris Harris, Manager of Communications and Media, Avana
Phone: (306)501-2245
Email: chris.h@avanabuilds.com

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