September 2020 Volume 3 Issue 2

Page 1

Volume 3 Issue 2 • September 2020

published by ZX Media Corporation


DISCOVER ALBERTA’S INNOVATION ENGINE Extending the horizon of possibilities to solve today’s challenges, reaching new potential, and creating a healthier and more prosperous future for Alberta, and the world.

albertainnovates.ca


Engage. Inspire. Educate. Together. Krista Malden & Kenzie Webber

AGRICULTURE IN OUR COMMUNITY

PG.4

• What Happens Next • Innovating Agriculture in Alberta • Growing Hardier Corn • Pivoting During Uncertain Times • Meet Mo Aladin • Is a Franchise a local, Community Run Business • Bessie Box

publisher@communitynowmagazine.com

CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2 Jade Alberts

James Lochrie

Alberta Innovates

Rhonda Goldberg

SheInnovates

Phoebe Fung

Steven Archambault

Jill Quirk

Mo Aladin

• From Oil and Gas to Wine, Dining and Dogs

BUSINESS

PG. 17

• Telling It Like It Is • Investing to Create a better world part 2 • Behind the brand

COMMUNITY

PG 28

• A volunteer job like no other • Simon House Recovery • SheInnovates

Subscribe for your free issue of Community Now! at www.communitynowmagazine.com Copyright 2019 ZX Media Corporation, Calgary Alberta Canada Community Now! Magazine Copyright 2018, published by ZX Media Corporation. Volume 3 Issue 2 | September 2020 All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher and writer.


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AGRICULTURE IN OUR COMMUNITY

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What happens NEXT? Reflecting with educator Jill Quirk

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ane Goodall, a famous Environmentalist known for helping to save the chimpanzee population in Tanzania Africa, since the 1960s, is a world renowned advocate for protecting and coexisting with animals in the wild. Jane is looking at the current pandemic as “nature striking back”. It feels like humans are destroying the natural environment at a rapid rate and the current 2020 pandemic has helped us to pause and relook at our current situation. “What Happened When We All Stopped” a children’s book by Tom and Bee Rivett-Canac is a book that can help us refocus on what is important in our lives and help us reflect about the current pandemic. The message from the book is clear, change…“starts with a whisper” (quote from the book). It’s interesting that during the lockdown, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions fell drastically

across countries and continents, thus, allowing nature to be undisturbed. “The future is unwritten... we, who are here now, get to choose where we take the human story next” (from What Happened When We All Stopped). So, here I am trying to make sense of my role as an educator in all of this. I am reflecting about the world and its current condition. What can we do as educators to help make the world a better place? How can we create our own whispers with students and our communities and turn these whispers into something more? Something better? The current situation in education is like no other. We have to conduct ourselves with so much caution and think about how to conduct

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(continued from page 5...) ourselves safely in the classroom for fear of spreading The Covid-19. And now, because of the fear and potential harm from The Covid-19, many students are going to continue with a virtual learning environment. I am faced with the challenge of teaching virtually once again. How do I teach online and yet find ways to connect to the natural world with these students to help improve their mental wellness? How do we create an online learning environment to encourage creativity and foster ideas of connecting who they are with the natural world? Connecting students with the natural world requires a whole community to come together. One example of bringing a community to6 // Community Now!

gether is The Garden of Hope, located north of Crossfield, and it is a place where a community comes together to learn how to “grow together”. The Garden of Hope is a 200 by 100 foot portion of land that has been allocated for gardening and is sponsored by the Crossfield Baptist Church. In 2016, the land was prepared to accommodate a garden that grows fresh produce for the Airdrie Food Bank and produce also used for the Airdrie Community Kitchen. This summer at least 30 youth volunteers from the Airdrie Youth Volunteer Corps have been attending the garden bi-weekly to water and weed. The garden is a great opportunity for kids to “get their hands dirty” and experience what a rural setting is like. They also learn


about real life hardships, as some of the crops were destroyed by hail in July and the youth learned about perseverance and finding ways to work around these hardships. I think that giving youth an opportunity to give back and be a part of their community can help build their self esteem and confidence. Head Farmer Luke (member of The Baptist Church) is always at The Garden of Hope to lend a helping hand. This charismatic farmer helps to train and teach the youth what it takes to maintain a successful farm. He also let’s the youth try out the tractor, which is a fan favourite! On August 19th the potato harvest started. I got to be a part of harvesting potatoes and I felt a connection to the land and the people. It made us all feel so alive! The youth collected so many potatoes and were so excited! How meaningful it was to spend a day helping to harvest for the Airdrie Food Bank! Dorthy May and Ang Lutz, YVC leaders are excited as they are going to host a big Harvest Fest in September, celebrating their one year anniversary of YVC-Airdrie along with harvesting the rest of the crops for the Airdrie Food Bank. The youth will collect the remaining beans, carrots, beets and zucchini. The fresh produce will go to help families who need a little help from the Airdrie food bank this September. As I’m watching Global News this week, the news stated that in the Spring 14.6 % of Calgarians labeled their households as food insecure. Sadly, experts are predicting the need for food from food banks in September will be even greater. Food insecurity is just one of the ways this pandemic is hurting the youngest Calgarians.

Maybe there should be a shift in what we teach? Maybe we need to focus more on teaching how to improve our communities? Maybe we need to look at how we can improve food security in case more issues with food scarcity occur in the future? Farmers are guardians of our land. Let’s support them! I am hoping to encourage the youth to help our community by buying local produce or even growing a few plants ourselves to reduce our ecological footprints and improve the nutrients in our diet. As I enter the 2020 school year, one thing is for certain, I will be thinking daily of how I can connect with these students (who are at their computers all day) and help them to not forget about the magical world at their doorstep. I will try to help them embrace the beauty of nature and help them find ways to connect with the world. I will try to find new and innovative ways to work together (all stakeholders) to learn how to grow our own food and celebrate and protect our natural environments. I will try - that is the least I can do. “In order to bloom, you must grow” Aly Aubrey. As I look back from the last online learning adventure, I feel a sense of gratitude to all the students who I worked with in the Spring. The connections we made together are something I will treasure forever. I thanked them all by giving them sunflowers to look after. I was so pleased when they sent photos in September to show me how they did! “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves. The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” Jane Goodall

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INNOVATING AGRICULTURE IN ALBERTA

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lberta Innovates is constantly looking for ways to help Alberta innovate better to enhance our ecosystems. Take a-peak into how they support and enhance the Alberta Agriculture Industry!

Smart Technology for Optimized Greenhouse Crop Production Alberta has the fourth largest greenhouse industry in Canada and has experienced rapid growth in recent years. This has led to a highly competitive environment where greenhouse growers are forced to look to innovative 8 // Community Now!


technologies such as LED, advanced growing media, computer‐controlled climate, integrated production (such as aquaponics), sensing technology, and more efficient water and nutrient management systems. Furthermore, the industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, including wastewater discharge and light contamination. This project aims to build and test a new recirculating irrigation system based on sensing technology and artificial intelligence

management, increase yield and ultimately, improve the competitiveness of greenhouse production in Alberta. • The technology will recycle nutrients, increase water and nutrient use efficiency and promote sustainable practices in agriculture, while decreasing the environmental impact of the food industry.

to improve water and nutrient efficiency for the greenhouse industry. This smart energy optimization model will conserve energy and improve the competitiveness of greenhouse operations in Alberta and Canada.

ing Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase (DGAT1) Activity

RECIPIENT: Lethbridge College PARTNERS: Gold Leaf Technologies Inc. & Tamura Imports Project Goals Develop a smart greenhouse crop management system based on the data received from sensors collecting real‐ time data on crop changes and multiple, wide ranging environmental parameters including climate and substrate, which directly affect plant growth. • Develop and validate unique mathematical models describing interactions between environmental factors and crop yield. • Use the developed irrigation systems for demonstration as a prototype for commercial greenhouse growers. Benefits to Alberta The developed artificial intelligence will enable greenhouse growers to predict crop behavior and make decisions on crop management to maximize output with minimal water, nutrient and energy use. • This smart system will significantly decrease production costs related to water and nutrient supply

Improving Heat and Drought resistance in Canola (Brassica napus) Through Regulat-

Canola’s value to the Canadian economy is approximately $27 billion, with $9 billion of canola grown in Alberta. High summer temperatures and drought are threats to canola production in the Canadian Prairies, as they can severely decrease yield and seed quality. It is important to develop new canola cultivars that are better adapted to Alberta’s changing climate conditions. An enzyme called “DGAT1” could increase canola’s tolerance to drought and heat. This project aims to generate and evaluate canola lines with distinct modifications of DGAT1 under heat and drought stress and to identify genes related to stress tolerance. The outcomes will advance the creation of canola cultivars with higher resistance to drought and heat and with high yield and oil quality. RECIPIENT: University of Alberta PARTNERS: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada & Alberta Canola Producers Commission

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(continued from page 9...) Project Goals Evaluate canola lines with distinct modifications of DGAT1 under heat and drought stress. • Identify genes involved in the control of heat and drought resistance. • Collaborate with canola breeders to develop molecular markers for these stress resistance genes through application of traditional breeding and modern genomics tools. BENEFITS TO ALBERTA Knowledge regarding the function of DGAT1 in canola with respect to plant development and seed quality under heat and drought conditions. • The canola lines, genes and knowledge generated in this proposed project could lead to the development of valuable stress-tolerant canola cultivars through molecular-assisted canola breeding approaches. • The results will benefit public and private canola breeders for use of these genes and canola lines, and canola producers in Alberta through the provision of resistant cultivars. • In the long term, the successful completion of this project will also help improve canola production efficiency and improve the national and global competitiveness of Alberta’s canola industry. To learn more about how Alberta Innovates and the impact they make visit https://albertainnovates.ca/

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n Alberta, the requirement for hot and long growing seasons has limited grain corn production for livestock consumption to the southern irrigation districts. This is the only region that typically receives enough heat to support corn hybrids. To address this challenge, Alberta Innovates partnered with the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund, a producer-driven research and development investment organization, to fund a corn research program in Lethbridge operated by Corteva Agriscience. Crop diversification and economic opportunity The establishment of an intensive corn breeding program to overcome environmental limitations has provided Alberta producers with the ability for further crop diversification and economic opportunity. Alberta Innovates invested $1 million while Corteva contributed $6.5 million. The five-

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Growing hardier corn crops and economic opportunities in rural Alberta year project resulted in the commercialization of 19 new hybrids through local breeding and characterization efforts, and is expected to continue generating two new hybrids each year beyond the project close. The commercial offerings resulting from this effort now serve a diverse market and fit a broad range of adaptation within Alberta. The project also resulted in the establishment of this research facility with a high-performance team of plant scientists, research equipment and multiple plot testing sites. Increase in corn acres This project is significantly responsible for the increase in corn acres in Alberta. By the end of the project, the number of corn acres planted in the province had gone from 175,000 to 290,000. Continuing to expand the growing adaptation area makes grain corn a viable crop option across a broader geography in Alberta. This

adds a new, high-margin crop to rotations, enhancing both grower financials and agronomics. For the Alberta livestock industry, this provides more locally produced grain corn with premium feed value, reduces imports and improves the economics of Alberta hog and beef cattle farming. Other end-users are expected to benefit from more local corn, such as the ethanol industry, dry and wet milling, farm equipment suppliers and fertilizer suppliers. The Lethbridge Research Centre provides knowledge intensive employment for university graduates as well as seasonal employment for students and others. Well over 100 university and casual staff were hired over the course of five summers to help execute the research program.

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PIVOTING DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES

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e all faced moments of uncertainty this year as we watched the globe shut down but our community was fast to pivot, fast to support each other and worked fast to keep people employed, businesses running and resources available. “Keeping people employed was one of our biggest priorities” said Mo Aladin when discussing the pandemic. “We have all had to make adjustments. I have always had amazing local staff, who can adjust with us, provide feedback and have worked closely as a team to adjust to these uncertain times.” Through the pandemic Montana’s had to make adjustments and find new ways to innovate to keep staff, meet customer demands, and provide a safe work environment for their staff and clients. Montana’s created catering 12 // Community Now!

programs, provided food for seniors homes, could do curb side pickups, online ordering... and then as the globe started re-opening they had to pivot again to be able to open to the public safely and keep their staff safe. “Restaurants had a very challenging situation to work around to keep their businesses open, from dealing with vendors, uncertainty around when they could open their space, to keeping staff safe and employed, to not knowing what rules would be in place around reopening. People in the community continued to support local restaurants by ordering through online platforms, doing curb side pickups, and adjusted to the new rules around eating out. Montana’s is a great example of community supporting community in Alberta. Locally run and operated!


Mo Aladin BSc. President and CMO of Big Sky Hospitality Inc.; He is the largest franchisee of Recipe Unlimited. Mo was born in Africa and now lives in the greatest country in the world-Canada. He employs over 400 people in his restaurants in Alberta. After earning a degree at University of Waterloo, he spent time in the pharmacy industry and technology until the hospitality industry came a calling. He has been the head of training teams, HR Departments, and Senior Operations. Mo states ‘In this competitive market, place and time, fighting for every customer and every nickel becomes paramount and can only be achieved by having the right people, and the right culture aligned with organizational goals.” Mo is committed to assisting and teaching organizations that seek another perspective during times of change. He has enjoyed working restaurateurs, new ventures and businesses who have a strong sense of purpose and want to turn their enterprise into a franchisee model. He helps connect their system and their vision to make them profitable. Mo says “No one knows your organization like you do. But running an organization is different than changing one”. His passion is to collaborate with other leaders and help move their organizations from "A to B" - whatever they define as "B". “I'd rather trace than draw”, is what Mo believes, Mo can bring the best ideas forward and show you how you can change yourself first, then others in an ever 2for1lunchentreecpn.pdf 1 2017-04-12 11:00 AM uncertain environment.

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Calgary locations all Edmonton locations not including South Common, Only Valid At: All St Albert and Sherwood park. No Airport locations Offer Expires: December 31, 2020

Buy one Entrée and receive the second of equal or lesser value for free. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No cash value. Dine-on only. 2 For 1 Entrée valid prior to 4pm only. ® Registered trademark of Cara Operations Limited.


IS A FRANCHISE A LOCAL, COMMUNITY RUN BUSINESS?

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ost people consider a “local” business a small family size business that was created by someone who is local… BUT when we see a franchise we tend to view the franchise as corporate… Now, remember a franchise is owned and operated by someone local and filled with local employees! So why do we view a franchise as corporate instead of local!? Because of the brand? Because it’s big? Let’s take Montana’s Restaurant as an example of a locally run business… Mo Aladin owner and operator of eight Montana’s in Alberta…pointed out the corporation only owns the name and the brand of the franchise” “When you purchase a franchise you are buying their brand but it’s still a locally run business!” Said Mo, “we support Canadian Vendors, employee local residents, and have a huge community focus.” Franchises are a part of our growing economy, and run by local people who believe in community and building a stronger economy. SUPPORT LOCAL… also means supporting all the locally run Franchises in our community!

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CONNECTING COMMUNITY! ALBERTA MEAT. HEALTHY SEAFOOD. DELIVERED. COFOUNDERS ALEX LEAKOS, SHANIKA ABEYSINGHE AND SPENCER KERBER, FRIENDS FROM UNIVERSITY, RECONNECTED OVER THEIR LOVE OF FOOD.

One conversation about where food comes from, turned into 20 and they realized it was way too hard for natural farmers to compete with grocers and natural meat was way too expensive for the everyday person. To try and solve these problems, they knew they had to find a way to build strong farms, healthy families and connected communities. It began in 2019, with Bessie working with one farmer and a handful of committed customers through farm visits, emails and phone calls. Today, Bessie works with several local farmers and fishermen and has been a part of dinner time for hundreds of families. BESSIE EMPOWERS HONEST AND RESPONSIBLE FARMERS TO GET THEIR FOOD (AND STORY!) TO PEOPLE. https://bessiebox.com/pages/farmers Support Local, Eat local, and learn the story behind the farmers! Great Recipes: https://bessiebox.com/blogs/recipes

Natural Tastes Better. From Farm to you.


V

From Oil & Gas to Wine, Dining & Dogs Meet Phoebe Fung, Proprietor of the Vin Room and VR Wine

in Room, is an upscale wine bar that offers 85 wines by the taste and is Canada’s largest wine by the glass offering in Canada. VR Wine is a casual boutique wine store with artisan spirits, beer and wine. Phoebe has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a M.B.A. from Queens University. She spent 15 years in the oil and gas industry working in various roles such as resource management, strategic planning, acquisitions and divestments, and project management before starting Vin Room in 2008, out of a love for food and wine. Vin Room now has three locations in Calgary as well as boutique wine store, VR Wine. Phoebe’s first passion is her four legged pooch, Dom, who is the driving force behind Vin Room being the first restaurant in Calgary to have dog friendly patios. When the globe shut down due to Covid19, Phoebe quickly pivoted to online orders, curbside pickup, BBQ dinners, & Specialty Dog Dinners. “Our Goal was to keep people employed, support local distributors and provide dinner and wine to the community” Said Phoebe. 16 // Community Now!

Keys to a successful business 1. Capital, it is important to have capital when starting a business 2. Have mentors and advisers 3. Surround yourself with a strong Community “I wanted to create something that was mine, so I took everything I loved, dining with family and friends, wine and dogs and made something great” Dine in, pick up or order for delivery! www.vinroom.com


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BUS USINESS INESS

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Telling It Like It Is With Jade Alberts This issue of Telling It Like It Is

features Rob Bartko founder of FixIt Service Pros You started your career at Deloitte, and you have launched FixIt Service Pros during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share how you came up with the idea, and some of the issues you had to overcome when COVID-19 hit? FixIt Service Pros started in the summer of 2019. The idea was generated while I was in the middle of renovating my residential property. I was having a difficult time finding the right contractor for a variety of work required to meet building code and permit requirements. This experience made me want to find a better way to connect property owners with vetted contractors. Sam Beaudoin, the other Co-Founder of FixIt, was leaving a role in commercial construction and he was chasing an idea on how to better optimize independent contractors’ administrative needs. Naturally, the two ideas merged to create a marketplace, enabling property owners to source vetted contractors on-demand, while also providing contractors the administrative support to grow and manage their business more efficiently. It’s about improvements for everyone! The impact from COVID-19 hit FixIt Service Pros right when we were getting ready to launch our first version in the Calgary area. We were delayed by a few weeks while we were all trying to determine the implications of COVID. As everyone started to normalize to our new situation, property owners were spending more time in and around their homes. This brought focus to much-needed (and often overdue) home maintenance repairs. and motivated folks to invest in upgrades to be able to better enjoy their property while physical distancing. This gave FixIt Service Pros the opportunity to showcase our value to homeowners,

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landlords, and property managers - that is, allowing them to easily and successfully delegate all of their repair and maintenance needs at their properties. Please explain how FixIt Service Pros Works? The new way to complete your home service repairs starts with simply describing your problem on our FixIt Service Pros website (fixitservicepros.com), selecting a date and time that works best with your schedule, and being able to kick back and relax knowing that your work is getting handled by prescreened pros! Behind the scenes, once your work order has been submitted, our network of pre-screened home maintenance experts will claim your work order within a matter of minutes. Screening of our contractors includes: insurance verification (at least $2 Million in coverage), Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) verification, certification or license verification for plumbers, electricians, and HVAC, reference checks, as well as background checks. Once on site, your “FixIt Pro” (a “FixIt Pro” is a vetted contractor on the FixIt platform) will diagnose the problem and indicate to you if the repair will take longer than the hour you included with your booking. If your repair will take longer than 1 hour, your Pro will submit an “Adjustment Request” for your approval - this ensures you are involved and updated as the work proceeds, and avoids any unpleasant surprises. After your repair is complete, our 2-way review system allows both the property owner and the “FixIt Pro” to review one another, similar to other review systems like Uber’s ride-sharing. This is to ensure accountability of both parties, and provides FixIt Service Pros with more information on how to better improve your next FixIt experience.


Let’s talk about marketing. What have you been doing to spread the word? What has worked and what has failed? Our Team has tried a lot of different marketing channels. We have found the most success in direct-mail flyers, online ads (i.e., through Google), and we are working hard to optimize our SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings. Our biggest success in marketing has been spreading the business through word-of-mouth from our existing satisfied FixIt customers. It sounds cliché, but customers are excited and relieved to be able to just describe their home repair problem and forget about it, feeling reassured and knowing that FixIt Service Pros will take care of everything else. Property owners are able to knock-off items on their To-Do List quickly and efficiently, and we are very excited about the feedback from our Calgary customers as our first launch service area. I will talk about my experience My dryer broke and my first instinct was to use fixit Service Pros. My dryer wasn’t heating, so I went to their website and filled out the form and sent in a photo of the dryer and serial number. I picked the date and time I wanted them to come which was two days later. I was then contacted and the company showed up. They had the parts and fixed my dryer. I was absolutely pleased with the service and they even vacuumed out my dryer. I Absolutely loved my experience and will be using them again What is next for FixIt Service Pros? Our team is looking forward to many new and exciting things over the next few months. We will be joining the Startup Edmonton - Propel Accelerator this Fall. Our company is also currently raising its first investment round. FixIt Service Pros will soon be expanding into Edmonton. Last, but perhaps the most exciting, our new Web App will soon be “live” near the end of September! A shout out to all Calgary and Edmonton property owners: Be sure to sign-up for our new Web App as we have a lot of new and exciting features for homeowners, property managers and contractors alike. Property owners will have instant access to their

previous FixIt repairs, communicate directly with their FixIt Pro before, during, and after each repair, track the ETA of their Pros and the status of each job, and much more! If you had one piece of advice for small businesses or start-ups, what would it be? My advice for small business or Start-Ups is threefold: 1. Mentally prepare yourself as a Founder for a lot of mental “ups-and-downs”. The ownership and operation of the business falls on your shoulders, and some days the weight of it all can feel like more than you can handle. What has helped me is knowing that even experienced Founders still battle through downtimes. When you are mentally prepared to face these downtimes with some strategies, it is much easier to get through them. Always keep the big picture on the horizon ahead of you in focus, and keep plugging away with persistence! 2. Your Team is the most important part of your business! Surround yourself with the best Team Members available, and fill in the gaps where you and your Team are the weakest. A great exercise for this assessment is to write down a skills matrix for each individual, to indicate where your Team lacks expertise and experience. 3. Keep it simple. It’s very easy to get caught up in new business trends that do not always help your business. When the business is struggling, go back to the basics, remember who your clients/customers are, and how to cater to their needs. A great exercise for this is developing a “Customer Journey Map” for all your customer types. This is a mapping exercise to lay out the entire process a customer will take to get to your business. For example, once the customer determines they have a home repair task (i.e., a leak), they might search “plumber” and weigh options on who to hire. As a business, you want to be able to situate yourself across as many different avenues as possible, so they can be directed to your company. FixIt Service Pros wants to be the service provider who you think of first to fix your property! https://www.fixitservicepros.com/

Jade Alberts - Peer Guidance - Jade Alberts Consulting 403-771-1301 www.PeerGuidance.ca www.JadeAlbertsConsulting.com www.LinkedIn.com/in/JadeAlberts Business \\ 19


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Investing To create a better world. PART 2

Q & A with James Lochrie What defines an investment? First and foremost it’s something that will generate a return. For the type of investing I do, I’m looking at 100X returns which means I normally invest very early and invest in opportunities that have very large markets. When choosing how to invest - what are the top 3 things you look for when your making an investment... Every investor will tell you it’s all about the team and I’m no different. Because I invest early and into small teams it is primarily about the founder(s), I’m looking for special people that I believe can accomplish special things over a significant period of time.

Market size is another one of the most critical things I look for. In most cases, it takes as much effort to create a global business as it does to create a regional one so I try to position myself with opportunities that have the chance to break out of the founder’s backyard and stretch into other markets. This is easier today than ever before but it takes a certain attitude and opportunity to make it happen. Finally, I look for the product to have a significant impact on humans. I believe that if a product makes meaningful & positive changes to people’s lives then the investment is less risky because the ability to charge for that value will be easier and the ability to have customers continue to pay will also be (continued on next page) Business \\ 21


(continued from page 21...)

Where do you find companies to invest in?

enhanced. It’s also important to all of us at Thin Air Labs to work on projects that excite us and get us out of bed with a smile because we know what our day’s work will result in.

There are two ways to find a company - they come to you or you find them in your travels. By building a truly founder friendly brand, more and more companies are coming to us looking for investment, this gives us the ability to choose the best fit for our investment thesis. However, we have also been building deep connections into the areas where entrepreneurs are and we look for great opportunities in those parts of our local ecosystem.

What do you look for? How do you decide on risk over reward? This is always a hard balance to strike but since I put myself in positions to invest in companies that can 100X the investments that are made I tend to focus on risk mitigation as the primary operational task in managing an investment. Like most venture investors we syndicate our deals and include a network of investors who can help make the company successful but I also have a team behind me that is able to jump in and help our investments, especially at the early stages of company formation, product development and market validation. This team is in place essentially to protect our investment by partnering with the entrepreneur and giving the enterprise as much of an opportunity to be successful as we can.

We do the hard work of giving our time to the community, participating in the ecosystem with feet on the ground and that generosity pays off by having a constant stream of new ventures for us to assess. Why is it important to invest in the ecosystem? I think you can create a flywheel effect if you think about investing holistically. First you have to have great companies with great founders to invest in, then you have to have great people to join them and effective capital to help them grow, finally you need customers to buy the products and someone willing

RE/MAX IREALTY INNOVATIONS// Deloris Walker

Helping you find the perfect community. 518 9 Ave SE Calgary T2G 0S1 phone: 403.815.0429 email: dwalker1@remax.net Call today and let us find your dream home in the perfect community.


to buy the company when it is ready to exit. All of these pieces are part of the ecosystem we work within so we take the time to make sure we are continuing to contribute to its growth and sustainability. This is all part of managing risk and driving returns, we’re a bit unusual in that we are active in thinking about these parts of the success of a venture. How much has innovation impacted and or changed the investment industry? And what role does innovation play in investing? A lot can be said about robo-investing or AI decision making against large investment datasets but I honestly don’t think those things matter other than as time savers to discard investments that don’t fit the thesis. I think investing, especially at the seed stage is an incredibly human process and even doing it over Zoom can leave things unanswered. For Thin Air the innovation has been the ecosystem approach, it’s about process though, not technology. Why is it important for people to invest in startups? / the community? A long-term, successful economy is one that is constantly growing but also evolving. More than ever, economies need to be responsive to the rapid changes happening across society and startups are the most agile tools for economies to do that. They can create rapid job growth and new industries in short order and can create significant wealth for citizens who participate in them. Investing in the community is basically just investing in the foundation that these startups spring out of and use to hit escape velocity. The community is the fertile soil that makes a startup more successful so it simply makes sense to have your house in order if you want to play this game for 20 years or more.

What advice can you give to people who want to start investing? It takes a hell of a lot of experience to understand what makes an innovation venture a good investment. If you haven’t been able to put in the time or if you can’t continue to keep yourself on top of what is happening you should probably invest through a professional investor and utilize a portfolio approach to protect your capital. This is not for the faint of heart and understanding why you would invest and what your expected outcome can be is something that has taken a long time for me to know. What advice can you give to people/companies who are looking for an investor? Never stop. Asking for money is really difficult, getting it is even harder and it really should be a difficult thing. I don’t invest in everything so there are great companies, run by great people which could become massively successful that I will not invest in simply because it doesn’t fit. Founders need to be resilient in the face of that and continue looking for the investor who believes in them, believes in their product and opportunity and is focused on making returns on their type of venture. It truly is a numbers game and the world is full of different types of investors so hop on a plane and keep pitching until you find the right ones for you. “Becoming an entrepreneur was about carving out something for myself and controlling my own destiny largely because I wanted autonomy over my future and what I did day to day.”

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Saturday, October 10 New Horizon Mall in Balzac The Devil’s Drive-In will be the first such attraction in Calgary, Alberta, and the organizers believe even in Canada. Haunted Calgary’s unique approach will be a choice of four 7-minute theatrical productions which will be performed around the guest’s vehicle, immersing them in something that is half live haunt and half immersive horror movie. “The spirit of Halloween can’t be killed,” says Christine Campbell, Creative Director of Haunted Calgary. “It’s just going to look a little different this year and I’m so excited to try a drive-in format for Haunted Calgary this year. Our actors have always been the stars of Haunted Calgary and these shows are going to put them in the spotlight.” Guests will enjoy the experience from the safety of their own vehicles with windows rolled up, buy their tickets online without contact, wait in a virtual queue for their assigned ticket time to limit numbers, and they’ll be treated to an exclusive private show.

www.hauntedcalgary.org 24 // Community Now!


WE'RE STILL OPEN! These are not easy times and Calgary families need your help more than ever to get through this crisis. Made by Momma is a grassroots registered charity working hard to make sure everyone has the essentials they need.

Introducing the NEW...

HOW CAN YOU HELP? COMMUNITY FOOD BANK Made by Momma is a food bank with a difference. Donations of non-perishable food items and grocery gift cards will help feed over 7000 people each year!

BABY ESSENTIALS Donate baby essentials including diapers, wipes, and formula to ensure that every young family facing crisis or adversity will have the basic items they need.

Host Joanne Neweduk

DONATE TODAY Thank you to all of the donors, volunteers, & supporters who continue helping Calgary families in crisis during this challenging time! Check out our website to find out how you can make a difference! Celebrating 10 Years of Volunteer-Run & Donation-Driven Community Impact!

MadebyMomma.org

CELEBRATING A VIBRANT, GLOBAL COMMUNITY OF WOMEN OVER 50. LISTEN ON YOUR FAVOURITE PODCAST PLATFORM AND YOUTUBE!

www.thedoorway.ca CRA 13140 1226 RR0001

www.thelisteningproject.ca listening to everyone

Innovation \\ 25


Meet Rhonda owner and founder of Oh-Naturals Foods! When did you launch Oh-Naturals?

Why did you get involved in food?

2013 in Stores. Safeway was my first customer. Had one buyer believe in my vision and impacted my life. Oh! Naturals was then born. We are now sold in Sobeys Nationally, Farmboys, 7-Eleven nationally, Whole foods, Saveon and various other stores, IGA, Nesters, Buy-low , Costco online, well.ca online

To make a difference in people’s lives.

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Oh! Naturals was created to make a difference in people’s lives as a fun and functional snack food, based on a childhood experience of food allergies, sensitivities and life-supporting dietary needs.


Tell Us about Oh Naturals! The Oh! Naturals name was chosen to reflect the goodness of plant-based snacks and transparency in quality and commitment to consumers, from the package to the finished product, as an essential part of our core values. Oh! Naturals, features wholesome fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of potassium, which is a vital mineral for good health. The plant-based product line fills a gap in the healthy snack foods category and is ideal for everyone, at every age and every stage of life. Crunchy banana, scrumptious sweet potato and exotic jackfruit, Oh! Naturals snacks are a tasty, convenient way to get a dose of fruits and vegetables on-the-go – enjoyed on its own, as a snack mixture, or a topping in salads, yogurts and ice cream. Pack it to go in a pocket, purse, briefcase or backpack, Oh! Naturals offers a boost of natural nutrition anytime, anywhere. What challenges did you face starting a business? There are so many challenges and hurdles that I faced starting my business. Having the idea is just one part of the concept. Finding a buyer/ and people to believe and support you to buy our snacks is another challenge. There are so many snack choices the biggest challenge with limited resource was to get the brand to be known and found for people to purchase. Having stores showcase Oh! Naturals Snacks in the right place, at the right price and having repeat business is an ongoing challenge for both the manufacture and retailers. Shelving space is at premium and proving to a buyer or store that Oh! Naturals is worthy of the shelf space was a challenge, knowing I was a new company in 2013 with an idea

hoping customers would support and like our Flavoured Banana and Flavoured Sweet potato Fries What advice would you give to other people who want to start a business? There are so many challenges and hurdles that I faced starting my business. Having the idea is just one part of the concept. Finding a buyer/and people to believe and support you to buy our snacks is another challenge. There are so many snack choices the biggest challenge with limited resource was to get the brand to be known and found for people to purchase. Having stores showcase Oh! Naturals Snacks in the right place at the right price and having repeat business is an ongoing challenge for both manufactures and retailers. Shelving space is at premium and proving to a buyer or store that Oh! Naturals is worthy of the shelf space was a challenge knowing I was a new company back in 2013 with an idea hoping customers would support and like our Flavoured Banana and Flavoured Sweet potato Fries Why did you partner with Universal Women’s Network for Behind the Brand? Having visible certified logo packaging allows the consumer to be educated with choice of companies of who they want to support. I feel that even though woman, have come a long way in business, we still have a long way to go. I believe certified Woman -owned recognition will help Canadian woman owned businesses and woman lead businesses through education for both men and woman consumers. I believe the current generation and generations moving forward want to know the people and stories behind the business brands which can influence purchasing decisions. (continued on next page) Business \\ 27


BEHIND THE BRAND with Universal Women’s Network “We are excited to launch our certification program to elevate women-led companies.” Monica Kretschmer • Certification allows business women to increase visibility and connect to opportunities that otherwise may not be available to them — such as access to key supplier diversity and procurement executives. Approximately 97% of Fortune 500 companies have a supplier diversity program where they attribute a percentage of their annual spending to sourcing from under-represented diverse suppliers (including women-owned businesses). • With these contracts available to diverse suppliers, it provides an invaluable opportunity for women to grow and internationalize their business. Gain the advantage of submitting RFP as many municipalities have mandates to support women-owned businesses. While it is not a guarantee, it separates you from the rest! • We are excited to stake this one step further to get women visible and give consumers a choice to buy from women. The Behind the Brand Marketing Campaign enables female business owners to be front and centre! We profile certified women-owned/led business and share their stories to bring awareness to their products and services. Additionally, we provide a platform for female entrepreneurs to connect and build relationships with other like-minded women who understand their challenges and can offer support! We on a mission to raise the bar and support female entrepreneurs to ensure women in media to be seen, heard, valued and supported!

(continued from page 27...) The human connection to the brand is becoming more important in this digital world. Why is it important to showcase women owned businesses? Accordingly, to Stats Canada only 16% of small and medium businesses are woman owned in Canada. We need to recognize woman who have been courageous enough to build companies and support the Canadian woman in business to achieve growth for the future. UNIVERSAL WOMEN-OWNED™ CERTIFICATION Certifying your business opens opportunities for you to position your company. Certification allows businesswomen to increase visibility and connect to opportunities that otherwise may not be available. GET CERTIFIED! Step 1. Apply for Certification - REGISTER Universal Women-Owned™ and Universal Women-Led™ Link to Behind the Brand with Rhonda Goldberg - https://universalwomensnetwork.com/ oh-naturals-flavoured-snacks/


6th Annual Terminator Run for Youth Addiction Awareness

REGISTRATION

OPEN


A VOLUNTEER JOB LIKE NO OTHER 403.258.0819 bcandalbertaguidedogs.com

BECOME A BC & ALBERTA GUIDE DOGS VOLUNTEER PUPPY RAISER BC & Alberta Guide Dogs needs volunteers to help raise puppies that will become lifechanging dogs for someone who is blind or visually impaired, for a child with moderate to profound autism, or for a Veteran, RCMP or First Responder living with PTSD. Our puppies live with volunteer families from 8 weeks of age until they start advanced training. All food and vet costs are covered. Volunteers receive ongoing training throughout the program.

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REASONS YOU SHOULD VOLUNTEER TO RAISE A PUPPY If you’ve been considering taking on a rewarding new volunteer opportunity, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs wants you to be a Puppy Raiser, and here a few reasons why you should do it: 1. So. Much. Cute. There are few more enjoyable wake-up calls than puppy kisses in the morning. Sleep is overrated anyway. And who needs privacy when you can have those innocent eyes and panting breath on you as you’re sitting on the toilet or attempting to have a romantic moment with your spouse. This is a 24/7 volunteer job from the time puppies are 8 weeks to about 16 months old, and although we can’t guarantee your pup won’t be a handful at times, the snuggles, laughs and pure joy you’ll experience will be worth it! 2. Learn and love (lots of love). Teaching and learning is a two-way street when it comes to raising and caring for your furry pal. You will hone your patience and determination as you teach your pup obedience and socialization skills – and you will feel immense pride when you see them mastering their commands. Your pup’s success will be your success, and you won’t be shy about showing it off. Above all, the love you give will be returned tenfold and unconditionally. Your puppy’s love and devotion will inspire you to be the person your puppy thinks you are.

3. Make a visible difference. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will be raising the next generation of prospective Guide Dogs and Autism and PTSD Support Dogs, each with the potential to transform someone’s life through the gift of mobility and independence. This is a big commitment, but the reward is even bigger. The time, care and dedication you invest in preparing your furry little one for Puppy College (advanced training) will be repaid with heartfelt gratitude from someone who is blind or visually impaired, or from a family living with autism. It won’t be easy giving them up, but knowing your pup could go on to greatly improve someone’s quality of life makes this incredible experience totally worth it. VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS • Be available for training during the day at least 3 times per month • Live in the Calgary area • Be willing to take the puppy with you everywhere you go • Be strong enough to control a large dog BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is a registered charity that breeds, raises and trains Guide Dogs for blind/visually-impaired and Service Dogs for children with autism, and Veterans, RCMP and First Responders living with an Operational Stress Injury living in British Columbia and Alberta. Dogs are provided at no cost to the recipients. The organization relies on the generosity of volunteers and donors to provide its services and fund the $35,000 cost needed to produce each professionally trained dog. If you live in the Calgary area and would like to learn more about how to become a Puppy Raiser, visit bcandalbertaguidedog. com or call 403.258.0819 Community \\ 31



Simon House Recovery Needs the Communities Help! Our Story. Founded in 1982 by Doreen Baker and Franciscan Brother, Bernard Barry, Simon House began its work in a Bowness duplex that still serves men in need today, 37 years later. Simon House has been, and will always be a beacon of hope and refuge for men who have found themselves in the grip of addiction. Humble beginnings saw Brother Bernie and Doreen work tirelessly with integral volunteers and original employees, to grow and develop Simon House into the program and facility it is today. In 1983, the duplex immediately next door to its original location was generously donated to expand Simon House services and support. In 2006, through the generosity of donors, Simon House built a 30 bed building with a full commercial kitchen, board room, and office space. Today, Simon House operates 4 buildings and 64 beds, which provide 3 distinct phases of addiction treatment and recovery to assist men in moving from a residential program to transitional housing, and onto independent living with supports and counselling. Through committed staff, board members, donors, and community partners, Simon House has become a highly respected, valued, integral, and successful addiction recovery centre in the Calgary community, serving men and their families from all across North America. Understanding Addiction. ASAM – AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ADDICTION MEDICINE – DEFINITION OF ADDICTION: Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

To find out more go to: https://simonhouse.com/ To Donate go to: www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/12612


SHEInnovates PROFILE

Get to know SheInnovators through CN! Magazine over the next few issues!

SALIMA EBRAHIM INTERIM CHIEF OF STAFF FOR THE CITY OF EDMONTON Improving public policy through diversity The path to Salima Ebrahim’s current position as Interim Chief of Staff (home position-Head of External and Intergovernmental Relations) for the City of Edmonton has been far from linear. With a strong passion for public policy, diversity, human rights, and innovation, Ebrahim got to where she is today through a combination of public, private, and not for profit experience. A passion for diversity and human rights After working for the Federal Government, Ebrahim completed her Masters of Science degree in Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics. She then began a fellowship at the United Nations with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Supreme Court Justice of Canada, Louise Arbour. During the fellowship, Ebrahim conducted a study on the social and economic impacts on minority women in the years following 9/11. “One of the outcomes was that some of the recommendations that I came up with fed into

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the Cross Cultural Round Table on Security which, at the time, was really focused on how national security impacts Canada’s diverse and pluralistic society.” Ebrahim is the only Canadian to have held this fellowship. The experience provided her with invaluable learning opportunities and gave her an extraordinary sense of perspective. “It was one of the most impactful and enlightening moments of my life and even today, I think it grounds me,” says Ebrahim. “To get a glimpse of the human rights issues that other people in the world are facing, you just realize how unbelievably lucky we are to be Canadian.” Power and innovation in diversity Ebrahim frequently uses the power of diversity as a means to boost relevance and improve public policy. During her time as the executive director of the Banff forum, a national public policy institute, she strove to make sure young leaders had input into public policy and that the members were a reflection of the diversity in Canada.


“If you get really smart young people from different political backgrounds and different parts of the country it leads to better public policy,” Ebrahim explains. This concept of prioritizing diversity and innovation within public policy has carried forward into her current role. “Having an external relations branch in a municipality is actually quite novel in the way that we’ve developed it. It has been one of the most innovative moments in my career because with the help of other women, this branch was created from the ground up,” says Ebrahim.

Ebrahim and her team did extensive research and combined the best practices from both private and public sectors and how other governments handle stakeholder relations to create a truly unique form of external relations. There is a strong focus on accountability and mutually beneficial relationships. “It’s about being really purposeful, intentional, and deliberate in how we form relationships and ensuring that they are two-way,” she says.

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 35


SHEInnovates PROFILE (continued from page 35...) Embracing change Edmonton’s population is consistently growing and seeing significant changes in its demographics. Ebrahim believes that in order to best serve the city and its citizens, there needs to be a strong external focus on staying relevant and embracing change. “If we’re not relevant to what a citizen needs, why are we even in the business of being the City of Edmonton?” Ebrahim says. Diversity plays a large role in Ebrahim’s strategies to solving complex problems. “Gone are the days where an issue only lies within one department,” says Ebrahim. “I think public policy has become a lot more horizontal, which leads to better services that help governments be more relevant, efficient, and effective. Through this we actually become leaders of innovation.” Mentee and mentor Ebrahim attributes much of her success, from when she was a new university graduate and even to this day, to the support of her official and unofficial mentors. “I have had some really, really amazing women, some who were formal mentors, some who just kept an eye out for me, who make up a common thread in my career of amazing women pulling me forward,” says Ebrahim. Ebrahim loves to take the time to help young women seeking advice and direction, and encourages young women to reach out to people

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they admire or whose careers they are interested in. This can be an excellent networking/ relationship building opportunity and provide insight into how they can achieve their goals. “I feel like I’ve finally hit a point in my career where I can pay it forward. Whenever I have a young woman in university ask me, ‘hey do you want to go for coffee I need some advice,’ I always say yes, because I had people do that for me,” Ebrahim says. Ebrahim has always seen the incredible value of mentorship, but it became especially helpful to her when she became a mother. With three kids under the age of ten, Ebrahim has often sought the advice of other professional mothers. “As I’ve gotten more comfortable being a mom of three young kids while also having a senior leadership career, I’ve really leaned on women who have done this already and asked, ‘how do you do this?!’” Albertan attitude While Ebrahim and her husband have lived in many different places, Alberta has always felt like home. “I’m a very passionate Canadian but I’ve realized that being an Albertan is actually in my DNA,” Ebrahim says. Ebrahim finds that Albertans are very helpful and have a real sense of looking out for one another; she believes there is a decidedly Albertan no-nonsense attitude of rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done. “Albertans are humble. We want to do the work, do it well, and get on with it.”


KIM STURGESS FOUNDER AND CEO OF WATERSMART TECHNOLOGIES Kim Sturgess is a self-proclaimed “water person” – undoubtedly a useful quality for the founder and CEO of WaterSmart Solutions, a water advisory services company, and Executive Director the Alberta WaterPortal Society, an education-driven not-for-profit organization. Sturgess’ goal is to promote the concept of water as a value-adding resource: “Water is a passion, and water people have a feel for it. It’s a really great community – it’s a bit of a tribe. A water tribe.”

(continued on next page) NOW! \\ 37


SHEInnovates PROFILE (continued from page 37...) “Water people are born. I’ve always identified with water; I’ve been in and around water my whole life. This will be our 30th year camping in a tend beside the mighty Athabasca.” Sturgess moved to Alberta after completing her engineering degree at Queen’s University: “I decided very young that I wanted to be an engineer. Build things. Spaceships. Stuff like that. I was always quite fascinated. My father was a military test pilot, so we had that going from a pretty young age. I wanted to be an engineer even before I knew what an engineer was.” After graduating, Sturgess went to work for the National Energy Board in the gas and pipelines group, where she had her first career success with an idea to send a magnetic field through the pipes to identify any weak point – thereby saving companies millions of dollars in repairs. Though Sturgess got “absolutely nothing for it other than a pat on the head,” she caught the bug of invention, and moved to Alberta to cash in on the high-energy, entrepreneurial environment. Sturgess got a job at Imperial Oil, where she stayed for five years. “One of my mentors there, Doug Baldwin, had a conversation with me and said ‘Well Kim, you can either be a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond, and you are a big fish in a little pond type of person.’ That’s when I began to look for ways to set up my own company.” Sturgess launched into preparing for business ownership. She achieved her MBA and spent four years at McKinsey fine tuning her management skills. The opportunity finally arose 38 // Community Now!

when Sturgess was working at Nova Corp on the magnetic bearing file, eventually spinning that business into Revolve Technologies and Revolve Magnetic Bearings in 1992. Sturgess built Revolve over ten years, eventually engaging in a partnership with SKF, “the biggest magnetic bearings company in the world,” with SKF eventually buying the business. “That business is still operating as FKF Revolve Magnetic bearings in North East Calgary. The same people are there. When companies get bought, the CEO, CFO and marketing guys are usually paid out, but everybody else stayed and had great careers, right here in Alberta. I don’t think the story is told enough, about what amazing things these people have done supplying equipment to the world right here from Calgary.” Sturgess’ passion for water and her entrepreneurial spirit collided when she began to work at an energy-from-water company in 2003-2004. “That company is not going to save the world any time soon, but the team really learned a lot about water and the importance idea. It gave us the idea that maybe we could find a way to make water an issue. It was always an environmental issue, but now we can think of water in terms of a sustainable economy.” It was at that point when some of Sturgess’ mentors, Peter Lougheed and Fred Stewart, encouraged her to build a business plan. In 2005, Sturgess started WaterSmart, originally a not-for-profit enterprise “to look at how water is managed through better practices and technologies,” which is now a for-profit company that works on water issues for a variety of organizations. The not-forprofit part of the business is now the Alberta WaterPortal Society, dealing with water education and awareness.


Sturgess values Lougheed and Stewart’s mentorship highly – along with various other mentors that she has collected during her career. Members of WaterSmart’s original board, Brenda Kenney, Stella Thompson, and Nancy Blair, among others, helped steer Sturgess’ career trajectory. Along with her board, Sturgess has been part of the International Women’s Forum and the Young President’s Organization for years, gleaning valuable information from the varied perspectives and

“I was blessed to be in Peter’s [Lougheed] life and to be able to learn from him. He was chancellor of Queen’s when I was a trustee. When I was coming to the end of my time as a trustee, I asked him ‘How did you know it was time to not be premier anymore? How do you know when to move on?’ And he said “Kim, the time to go is when you hear the same issue you started your tenure with coming back again. Then it’s time.’”

backgrounds of her fellow members. Those mentors have encouraged her to grow but have also taught he when to step away.

The Canada Blockchain Consortium was founded to unite Canada’s diverse community of blockchain business owners, developers, adopters and those interested in exploring this technology’s transformative potential. Through our inclusive ecosystem, we can educate and bring prosperity back to our nation.

BRINGING VALUE TO THE BLOCKCHAIN COMMUNITY OF CANADA Canada Blockchain Consortium has come together to create a valuable and inclusive ecosystem for influential minds and businesses. Recognizing that technology can best succeed when equipped with the right network and educational materials. The CBC is here to bridge that gap, and provide Canadian a place to connect and share. www.canadablockchain.ca


“It Takes a Village“ - African Proverb

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Seize the Drive

Seize the Drive

Seize the


Our Mission: Promoting curiosity, communication and engagement in making Alberta a stronger and better place to live, to be educated, do business, promote innovation and community celebration. www.communitynowmagazine.com Facebook: @communitynowmagazine Twitter: @communitynowma1 Publisher@CommunityNowMagazine.com


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