What does it take to build a community? We couldn’t tell you, but Jaya Thomlison certainly can. She’s a Canadian born business leader and community developer living in Trondheim, Norway. She’s the CEO of Heyloft, a digital platform for businesses in the tourism and experience industry. Alongside Heyloft, Jaya also works as the Program Leader at Sintef Digital on their Open Data Trondheim project, developing arenas for utilising open data in business development and prototype new business models. Sounds like a lot on one plate? For Jaya, it’s a piece of cake.
Culture and community development are passions of Jaya’s. She’s an entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a desire to build collaborative environments. She’s been instrumental in the founding of several innovative companies including DIGS – a Trondheim leading coworking community housing over 450 members under 5,1000 sqm of creative space. In addition, Jaya co-founded The List Media, Norway’s first English language innovation and business magazine, and Trondheim’s only English language culture magazine. For five years, she led the editorial team as Editor-In-Chief contributing to the growth of the magazine.
Jaya has always known exactly what she wanted to do in life. Her education is a reflection of her steadfast dedication to business development. She obtained a Bachelor in Social and Business Development in 2004,and holds a further two Masters’ respectively from the University of Waterloo in Canada and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Both her postgraduate studies have focused around on Business Administration and Business Development,
Prior to her studies, she launched her career by co-creating Who’s Emma, a cultural hub and a community space for the creative and music industry in Toronto in 1995. In addition to getting the hub off the ground, she held the role of Volunteer Coordinator, providing HR support.
Much of Jaya’s professional experience has centered around developing co-operative methods and business models as well as acting as an advisor to startups and growth companies looking to scale internationally. With an analytical mind and attention to detail, Jaya has proven to excel in this area. Alongside her community development work, Jaya is also a passionate advocate for female empowerment. and has devised programmes for both female leadership and for fostering thriving environments for start-ups.
Her work certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed either. Her achievements have earned her a nomination by the Norwegian Press for “Cultural Personality of the Year” in 2015, and received the “Community-Builder of the Year” award in 2016 by Technoport. She has been featured on i24 News and a range of Norwegian publications.
With twenty years of entrepreneurship and innovation experience gained with the culture and communications sector, Jaya is what we call a trifecta: a leader, an advisor and an innovator. Enough said.
Are you ready to show up?
Photographer: Laura-Ann Morrison