#STEMSpark: Meet Jenise Lee, the mind behind CertClean certification revolutionizing the beauty industry

By Wendy Jacob on October 25, 2016 under Engineering Science STEM Spark Success

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“Confidence can move mountains. Doubt and fear can create them. Do everything you can do believe in yourself.” – Jenise Lee

CEO and engineer Jenise Lee is making the world a more beautiful — and safer place — by spearheading the world’s first review site for non-toxic beauty products, CertClean. As a child she suffered from severe nut allergies and skin sensitivities, and now uses her experience as a chemical engineer to help decode potentially harmful ingredients for other Canadians. But her business acumen (she has an MBC from Schulich) has also come into play. Lee notes that CertClean has the opportunity to revolutionize the beauty industry by certifying clean brands, positioning those brands for growth, and creating markets for healthier products.

  1. Who you are and what you do?

I have a chemical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo. I worked for an environmental engineering consulting firm for several years before I enrolled in the MBA program at the Schulich School of Business. As the CEO & Founder of CertClean, North America’s certification for safer skincare, I set the vision for the company and develop strategies to achieve a simple yet grand vision: CertClean certified products in every home. Having certified over 1,000 products so far, I recently launched an exciting campaign to build world’s first review site dedicated to nontoxic beauty products. See the campaign here.

  1. What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career? 

We can really be the change we want to see in the world. You just need to believe that you can.

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up and why? 

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve always believed that I was going to make the world a better place. But I didn’t know the what or how yet. I was a member of Greenpeace when I was 7, so it’s no surprise that I’m in the environmental sector now.

  1. If you could give your 12-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Confidence is key. Confidence can move mountains. Doubt and fear can create them. Do everything you can do believe in yourself.

  1. Any advice for young girls who dream of running a company in STEM?

Follow your passions… but make sure you also equip yourself with a broad range of knowledge and skills. Broaden your horizons so you can come up with solutions that actual solve problems!

  1. What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?

Life can be hard; we all have hurdles we have to overcome. In my case, I was creating a company as my brother was battling brain cancer. I’ve learned that time is precious so spend it well and prioritize appropriately. Every day, I am grateful that I made the choice to work on something that is meaningful and impactful.

  1. What is your advice to the industry as a whole to help close the gap for women in technology?

To close the gap for women in technology, we need to close the data gap. With transparent data on gender ratios, differences in wages, etc, we can identify better approaches to bring true diversity in to work places.

Find out more about Cert Clean here. To follow Jenise or Cert Clean on Twitter, or Facebook. Help build a review site for nontoxic beauty by owning a clean beauty box, and visit this campaign

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