Our Story

The idea for Rustic Mama Retreats was conceived from a fairly simple desire… The desire to getaway, to relax, to refresh and to reconnect with what’s important in life. That idea grew to include opportunities — opportunities for adventure, excitement, passion, reflection, self-discovery, education and creativity; a chance to embrace life in all its wonderful facets, and do so in the company of other like-minded adventure seekers.

  Team Members

Jennifer James

Founder/Executive Director

As a busy mom to 5 kids, an entrepreneur and an outdoor adventurist, Jennifer is known for embracing the chaos and for running with a new idea. Although focusing specifically on Retreats is a fairly new venture, she has been involved in large number event planning for over 20 years.

Growing up in a small town, she spent her teenage years volunteering at summer camps, and then began running her own day-camp programs for youth in her late teens. Later, trained as a social worker, she spent many years facilitating events for special needs children and adults before launching her own small business that focused more on her creative side. 

Jennifer also has a passion for volunteering and works with many organizations. As a leader in Girl Guides, the Chair of the local School Council and a very involved mother to her 5 children,  she has planned many large events for over 200+ people including outings, camps, sleepovers, fundraisers, reunions and parties.

Susan Abraham

Assistant Director

Susan knows first-hand the importance of taking time for herself. When it comes to juggling work, 2 children – one with higher needs, homework, family time and managing the household, she understands that the struggle to find the precious time for herself, for a cup of tea and even for reading a single chapter is challenging.

She enjoys learning and self-discovery. Her favourite self-care manta is “you can’t pour from an empty cup!” The outlet of journaling has recently become a passion of hers and taking a few minutes every day to reflect on her family, her successes or her challenges has allowed for greater stress relief and deeper reflection. Susan uses her skills to teach Bullet Journalling and Vision Boards at each weekend retreat to encourage other women to carve out time for themselves and follow their own dreams.

Dawn Thompson

Event Coordinator

Growing up in a small town and spending her teen years working at various summer camps in rural Ontario helped foster a love of the great outdoors for Dawn. After relocating from her small town to the big city, she realized the importance of needing to keep those connections to the outdoors and to her friendships near and far.

Now, being a mom to a rowdy toddler and also expecting a baby girl in September, Dawn has some first-hand understanding of how difficult this becomes as life progresses. She came onboard at Rustic Mama Retreats to help create events that make it easier for women to get away and take the time to focus on themselves and on friendship!

Richard Briant

Photographer/Videogapher/Media Guru

Richard, otherwise known as The GoPro God and founder of Atom the Pug Media, has been shooting up a storm since childhood! He grew up in the suburbs of Mississauga and due to the limitation of beautiful scenery, it forced Rich to get super creative with his work. He has shot everything from the grass growing to having his dog, Atom, drive an Army Tank. Rich is always finding a way to capture the moment in a way we don’t normally see it. 

Armed with a pile of GoPro cameras, Drones and just about everything in between..his unique style continues to captivate audiences across the globe. Whether it be still photography or video, this guy has you covered! Rich and his incredible sense of humour will be on hand at every Rustic Mama Retreat to capture all the moments you won’t want to forget!