Do you wanna go where somebody knows your name and they're always glad you came?
This is what our neighbourhood connector Jer Baum continues to strive for. Baum embodies what it means to unite people and build community. His remarkable recall for people’s names and their respective passions has allowed him to introduce so many people to like-minded and complimentary individuals. A lover of all things Kitsilano, Baum has been meeting and greeting neighbours for nearly a decade and continues to help his community as best he can.
Born and raised in North York, Ontario, Baum began to help others with compassion and support from an early age. After finishing high school, Baum went to Brock University to study Autism, graduating with honours, earning a degree in Disability Studies and a second in Psychology. Following his post secondary studies (and prior to moving to Vancouver), he spent 10 years in health care helping people get back on their feet, both figuratively and literally: working as a Rehabilitation Therapist in group homes and in the private sector. It was a great honour, for Baum, to treat children with disabilities and people suffering from brain and spinal injuries.
``Go West, young man, and grow up with the country`` Horace Greeley
It was in 2010, that Baum became attracted to the West Coast vibe after visiting for the Winter Olympics. Like many expats and “ex-provs,” Baum decided to pivot his entire life and move to Vancouver following this 3-day visit. Leaving behind his family, friends and career in health care, Baum packed what he could in his hatchback and drove across the country to start a new chapter. Upon arriving in Kitsilano, Baum began meeting and greeting people as a sales representative for a few select products he believed in. This would snowball into a life of entrepreneurial ventures where the common factor was always a genuine pursuit to help others in some way.
It wasn’t long after finding a place in Kits Point to call home, that Baum would start Kitsilano Connection (aka Kits Connect) in 2012. This online publication aimed to introduce the community to the people behind the business. Baum would collaborate with Vancity Buzz (now Daily Hive) to help events happening in Kitsilano get an even further reach. In that same year, Baum started his own web, marketing and event management business called JerBaum.com. This brand name would eventually become his nickname as many would call out “Hey! Jer-Baum-Dot-Com!” when spotting him around the neighbourhood.
One of the first events Baum would manage was a collaboration with a local legion to help draw a younger following to its often forgotten and mysterious location. Baum helped to create and manage Kitsilano Ping Pong, a social club, set in the upper hall of the Billy Bishop Legion. Kits Ping Pong have since been shelved, but its impact on the community continues to be appreciated to this day. Kits Connect transformed into an Instagram offering to help the local community find current news, events and updates about Kitsilano.
KitsFest became the next local event that Baum would get involved with in his beloved neighbourhood. After connecting with the co-founders and vice president it didn’t take long for Baum to become the head of Social Media Marketing for the annual event. Since 2013, Baum has been the voice of the brand and communication liaison between vendors, sponsors, media and spectators for Vancouver’s hottest beachside active living and healthy lifestyle event. Baum is also credited with co-designing the rebranded logo for KitsFest.
Travel, Tourism and Hospitality
In 2015, Baum teamed up with Mobimaps, a provincial tourist map company that assisted tourists in finding the best spots in town. In addition, Experience Magazine published for Victoria and Sidney, further the reach of the campaign. Baum would hustle and connect with business operators across the Vancouver Coastal region to help further the exposure of quality businesses and services.
Bread Magazine in Vancouver written for and by members of the hospitality industry launched that winter at the Golden Owl Award show ( FKA Vancouver Nightlife awards). Baum was thrilled to one of the consultants that helped to create this one-of-a-kind offering with friends Nicholas and Casey Simon.
In 2018, Baum teamed up with a few local hospitality workers to help create a hot new taco joint called Cantina Pana. With its unique personality and beachside location, the innovative Mexican-fusion menu became an immediate draw. Faced with a few hurdles and red tape, it struggled to obtain a liquor license before the Covid-19 pandemic added a final blow, forcing its closure in April of 2020. Baum has been a supporter of the hospitality industry for many years and continues to lend a hand any way he can.
Following the closure of Cantina Pana, Baum did the “2020 pivot” and found his way onto a film set, working in the Health and Safety division for Netflix, aka the “Covid Police team.” This interim role had Baum monitoring the safety protocols for keeping cast and crew protected from potential contact of the Covid-19 virus and their variants. This experience allowed Baum to discover how hard each cast and crew member worked in order to produce the “movie magic” for tv and film productions. It was an eye-opening experience that gave Baum a new found appreciation for this industry. Baum worked on several production sets across British Columbia and was able to bring his friendly persona to teams that faced difficult engagements on a daily basis. Baum worked this role from September 2020 to September 2021 and was able to make lasting connections with some incredibly talented people who undoubtedly love what they do. This life learning experience has him now watching the film credits at the end of each show as a sign of respect and love for their work.
In November 2021, Baum signed on to become the first Director of Operations for Peaked Pies, an Australian bakery cafe. This Aussie meat pie businesses opened its flagship Whistler location in July of 2013 and has since grown to have two additional locations: Vancouver and Burnaby. With a growing business, the owners needed an experienced and mature leader to help them reshape the next phase of their operation and Baum was hired as the best fit for the role. This new venture will have Baum mastering his crafted skills of managing people and business operation.
Countless businesses, musicians, comedians, photographers, artists, designers and event hosts have been assisted in some way shape or form by JerBaum.com. Baum’s genuine desire to help others is a quality that many continue to rely on as a resource throughout Kitsilano and beyond. Like a cornerman to a boxer or a piece that completes the puzzle, Baum is the added ingredient that so many have come to know and appreciate.
In 2017, Baum met his life partner, Erin Moon, and they’ve been a source of love, happiness, accountability and motivation for one another ever since. They are the unique puzzle pieces that complete one another.
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