My Experience is my WHY
I am often asked at the doors, what’s your background? Or what’s your experience?
This isn’t the place for my life story, but let me tell you about some defining volunteer, professional, and personal experiences. The culmination of these have developed a skillset that is suited to be an excellent councillor: adept communication, team work, leadership, innovative thinking, and amazing at building relationships.
I was raised predominantly by a single mother who was a nurse. She was also an active volunteer. I am an active volunteer for multiple non-profit organizations.
Why this matters:
I believe community stewardship and volunteerism is a learnt behaviour. Freely giving of our time is a gesture of kindness that not everyone embraces. I saw early on that her involvement enriched our experience in our school and sports community, and this made me want to be involved in giving back to my children’s communities as they’ve grown as well. No matter her schedule, she made time, and still does to this day. I want to model this behaviour not only for my own daughters, but for other people as well.
There are many volunteer driven organizations across our city who partner with the City. I understand the important role volunteers and volunteer driven organizations play in the shaping of our city. These are voices and actions which need to be championed. I know, as a volunteer, that the support we receive from others is paramount to our success. I am committed to working with community groups to improve their relationships and reduce the barriers with the City and within their neighborhoods.
Through our playground rebuild, I knew the value of having a central hub, ie. placemaking, as a key component of a community. Bringing this knowledge to the role of councillor means I understand and value the role community association buildings, playgrounds, as well as parks and green spaces play in creating strong connected communities. This is important as neighbourhood spaces need resources and funding to continue to provide programming and events for the community, and I can be a strong advocate and resource for these improvements.
As board member and President of the Haysboro Community Association I was able to lead an organizational shift. I supported new initiatives for events and programs and while supporting existing programming. I stewarded through a rebranding of the organization, moved membership fees to a more financially inclusive structure, and supported the growth of our message to new audiences through the adoption of social media. This increased community participation at events, in programs, and supported a sense of well-being and safety in the neighbourhood. I was also the lead in the large exterior renovation of the building as well as other interior renovations.
I am uniquely positioned to support Community Associations through my intimate knowledge of their opportunities and challenges. Many are facing a need for extensive upgrades to their buildings and are exploring ways to partner with the city to upgrade parks and green spaces.
Why this matters:
Committees are composed of representatives from various stakeholder groups including city planners and staff, developers and builders (private industry), business improvement associations, other community representatives, students, and other civic groups. The shaping of policy and plans is a collaborative effort of a spectrum of interests and objectives that need conversation and context.
Being on committees for the past five years means I have a solid understanding of how policy is developed to come to council, how working with others needs time together which is thoughtful and nuanced, and how compromise is key to a successful outcome. Policy work and good outcomes are dependent on the process of cooperation, this is an environment I thrive in and do my best work in.
Organization leader in the tech sector and board member of the Calgary Regional Innovation Network.
Why this matters:
Multiple studies show that economies that operate in a high trust environment grow faster and have better deal flow. As Community Manager for Rainforest Alberta my role was to connect entrepreneurs, employees, and startups to talent, education, and funding. The community also held an expectation that you gave as much as you got, and you gave first. The result, a foundation of entrepreneurs, support organizations, and education institutions contributing to a rapidly growing tech sector in Calgary.
In the role I mentored entrepreneurs with knowledge from my own business experience, reviewed resumes of those seeking employment, designed course work for post-secondary students, and hosted multiple events to create connections between the various people and groups in the sector.
As an elected member to the Board of Fellows for the Calgary Innovation Coalition, we support the tech sector through funding allocation to member organizations who are supporting entrepreneurial growth in the tech sector. To sit on the board, fellows have to be nominated and elected by their peers from over 30 organizations. I have proven that I have the trust and support of leaders in Calgary to support the growth of the sector.
Small business owner selling goods across Alberta, BC, and Ontario.
Why this matters:
As a small business owner, based out of my house, I grew my novel business to pay employees a living wage, cultivated wholesale accounts across the country, and won awards for my work. The experience also led me to partnerships with other small businesses in Calgary where we raised the exposure of local companies.
Shopping local is important to me and cultivating the growth of neighbourhood businesses is an important part of a successful city. I also know the challenges small businesses face in permitting and accessing commercial space for production and sales. With a strong network of small businesses I believe we can modernize permit applications, sales opportunities, and local procurement of goods to improve the local economy and support small businesses in our City.
Community development is integral to who I am. I want to encourage volunteers, non-profit groups, businesses, administrators, city staff, to be bold in their thoughts and actions. I want to champion ingenuity. The most impactful action I can take as a councillor will be empowering others to build a city that serves others and builds our collective capacity to be resilient and thriving against economic ups and downs, climate change, and health and social crises. Connecting with others is my passion and the greatest strength I can bring to this role.