Stittsville resident Jesse Card, Director of Youth Ottawa, wins Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 Award

(Jesse Card, Director of Youth Ottawa, has been chosen by the Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa Business Journal to receive an Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 Award. The awards ceremony will be held on June 23, 2023 at Hotel Lac-Leamy. Photos: Jesse Card)

When Stittsville Central last caught up with Jesse Card in April of 2021, he had just taken over as Director of Youth Ottawa. A couple of years later, he has won Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 Award for his work in that position. 

In the few short years that Jesse has been Youth Ottawa’s director, he has faced quite an adversity. With the immediate challenge of trying to help the program bounce back after Covid-19, Card got to work right away. He shares that his first goal was to build a team of like-minded people who wanted to “contribute to the community and spark change.” 

It is safe to say Jesse accomplished his goal as he explains that when he started in August of 2021 there was only one full-time employee working with Youth Ottawa and now they have a team of six full-time and 14 part-time employees. But what Jesse is most proud of is the fact that 18 of those employees are under the age of 25. Their organization is truly by youth, for youth. 

With the challenges of Covid-19, Youth Ottawa saw a dramatic decrease in revenue and because of virtual transitions, had to sideline many programs such as the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC), their Artistic Mentorship program, and their Social Enterprise. However, Jesse proudly shares that Youth Ottawa was able to bring back all three of those programs as well as begin to take on more initiatives, such as the RUN centre in Overbrook.  – Youth Ottawa has also been able to increase its revenue by 130% since that original cut.

(National Youth Week began on May 1, 2023 with a kick-off at Ottawa City Hall. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe presented Jesse, Alyssa and Rashid of Youth Ottawa with an Official Proclamation for the second National Youth Week being held in Ottawa.)

Having seen all he has accomplished since becoming director of Youth Ottawa, it is no surprise that Jesse Card was recognized for his achievements with the Ottawa Forty Under 40 award. The award is presented to 40 individuals who spend the majority of their work time in Ottawa-Gatineau, are an owner, executive, manager, professional or person with significant business decision-making authority. The award has become one of the region’s most sought-after business awards for people under the age of 40.

To win the award, individuals must be nominated and fill out an application that explains their business experience and community involvement. The Ottawa Business Journal explains that “This year, [they] whittled down 160 nominations to 91 finalists and from there chose [their] top 40 based on their business accomplishments, professional experience and community involvement.”

After being nominated by Steve Georgopoulos, Jesse’s name along with 160 others was considered for this award. Needless to say, it is quite an accomplishment to be among 40 recipients of this award. While there is no doubt that Jesse was pleased upon hearing the news he’d won, Card shares that he “felt proud of his team” and that the award “confirmed all the work they had done and how they all rallied around one mission.” Jesse also stated how although it is nice to be recognized, he also sees this award as motivation for him and his team to continue to do great things in the future.

Jesse explains that his day-to-day life can look very different depending on the day. As a director, he is constantly overseeing everything, working to empower others in their position, and often jumping around from task to task and shifting gears all the time. Right now, Jesse says he is spending time working on the RBC Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards event, an “annual event that celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of youth who are making our community, and the world a better place.”

(Jesse at home celebrating his 40 Under Forty Award with his wife and two children.)

Although his work life may vary day-to-day, a constant in Jesse’s daily routine is his family. He moved to Stittsville in 2018 and since then has added two kids to his family, a 3-year-old boy (River) and a 10-month-old girl (Ember). Jesse shares that he has enjoyed his time in Stittsville and finds it’s a great place to build his family. Jesse was born in Charleswood, Manitoba, a southwestern suburb of Winnipeg. Jesse says that Stittsville reminds him a lot of the neighbourhood that he loved growing up in. 

Between family and business, Jesse Card has accomplished a lot over the past few years. He has made an impressionable impact since becoming Director of Youth Ottawa, and this is surely just the beginning! Congratulations to Jesse on his Forty Under 40 win! 



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