Edmontonians Fall2013

Page 1

Then & Now

STEPHEN MANDEL Mayor: 2004 - 2013


Owning your own home is an exciting proposition.

But before you can know whether homeownership is right for you, it’s important to understand what’s involved.


he worst mistake you

can make as a new homeowner is to buy a house that ends up over-extending you financially. The key is to make sure that you can comfortably afford the mortgage payment and other monthly expenses that come with homeownership. The first thing you need to do is figure out your net worth. Your net worth is the amount left over once you’ve subtracted your total debts from your total assets. This can work as a guide to show you how much you can afford as a down payment. Next, prepare a budget. Detail all of your current monthly expenses and debt payments. Be as accurate as possible. Add everything up and then subtract this amount from your monthly take-home amount. This will then give you a clear idea of how much you can truly afford for a mortgage payment each month. Just like when you rent, as a new homeowner you will have a monthly payment to make on your mortgage. The size of your mortgage payments will depend on your down payment, the amortization period (25, 30 or 35 years), the term (fixed rate, variable rate) and your payment schedule (bi-weekly, biweekly accelerated or monthly). In order to buy a home, the first thing you will need is a down payment. The more money you put down, the less interest you will pay over the life of your mortgage. The minimum mortgage down payment amount that is typically required in Canada is 5%. In order to put less than 20% down, mortgage default insurance is required.

Mortgage insurance premiums are paid once, but can be added to the principle of the mortgage.

How much can you borrow?

Before you start looking at homes, visit your lender for a pre-approved mortgage. The lender will look at your finances and determine the amount of mortgage they are willing to give you. The maximum amount you can qualify for depends on a number of factors but the most important are your household income, your down payment and the mortgage interest rate.

Remember your budget

Quite often you will qualify for more than you expected. This is where preparing your budget beforehand is so important. Remember, your goal is to not over-extend yourself financially. Let your budget be your guide in determining how much mortgage to take on. You now know how much you have to spend, but not all of it can go toward the purchase price of your new home. Some of it will have to be used to cover costs associated with buying a home.

Upfront costs

• Deposit: up to 5% of the purchase price, made when you make an offer to purchase. • Down Payment: 20% of the purchase price is required for a conventional mortgage. • Home Inspection Fee: generally $500. • Prepaid Property Taxes and or Utility Bills: to reimburse the vendor for prepaid costs such as property taxes, etc. • Property Insurance: covers the cost of

Jason Storey Edmonton Chapter Executive Member

• • •

replacing your home and its contents. Property insurance must be in place on closing day. Survey or Certificate of Location Cost: $1,000 to $2,000 range. Legal Fees and Disbursements: must be paid upon closing. Minimum of $500. Land Registration Fees: a percentage of the property’s purchase price. Check with your lawyer/notary to find out the current rates. Property Appraisal Fee: between $250 and $350. Moving Expenses.

Other costs

• Appliances • Service connection fees: Charges for utilities, telephone, gas, electricity, cable or satellite TV, Internet, etc. • Renovations or Repairs • Window treatments • Decorating materials • Snow-clearing equipment • Gardening equipment

Condo Costs

If purchasing a condominium, there will be some fees in addition to the ones mentioned above. They are: • Estoppels Certificate Fee: up to $100 • Initial payment of the monthly condominium fees

Sources for your down payment

First-time homebuyers have a variety of options for funding their down payment: • Accumulated savings • Money gifted from immediate family • Money from your RRSP

780-999-7472 Jstorey@atb.com



12851 - 56 Street, Edmonton, AB T5A 0C9

Tel: 780.454.3444 Fax: 780.454.3222

www.edmontonians.com Published by: Cedar Publishing Corporation President Moe Najmeddine moe@edmontonians.com Editor Barb Deters bdeters@edmontonians.com Sales Manager info@edmontonians.com Columnists Jey Arul • Ben Block • Linda Bodo John Chwyl • Cheryl Croucher • Marty Forbes Lynn Fraser • Nejolla Korris • Norman Leach Barbara Ashley Phillips • Erin Rayner • Elissa Scott Charles Strachey • Ian Wachowicz • Mark Wardell FEATURE WRITERS Barb Deters • Palua E. Kirkman • Rena J Traxel PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Clark • Cheryl Croucher Quincey Deters • Tracy Kolenchuk GRAPHIC PRODUCTION Rage Studios Inc. All rights reserved by Cedar Publishing Corporation. Reproduction or transmission of all or any part of this publication by any means whatsoever is strictly forbidden without prior written permission from the publisher. Although great care is taken to avoid errors in the preparation of advertising material and editorial content, any errors or omissions on the part of Cedar Publishing Corporation are limited and dealt with solely by printing a retraction statement and or correction in the following issue. Edmontonians Newsmagazine is a product of Cedar Publishing Corporation.

in this issue...

Volume XXIV Number 3 Fall 2013


Marty Forbes features dave Ranson’s 30,000km fundraiser................................................................... 4

Sizzling in the City

Erin Rayner cooks Morrocan, promotes causes here and abroad........................................................... 6

Social Scene

Leduc #1 Rib Cook-Off honours Chef John Berry.......................................................................... 36-37


Mergers & Acquisitions

Jey Arul has tips on preparing your business for sale............................................................................. 5

Professional Development

Mark Wardell practices 3x3 hiring........................................................................................................ 45

You & The Law

Ben Block provides advice on small claims court................................................................................. 42


12th Annual Sizzling Twenty under 30

20 young women and men are profiled by Rena J. Traxel.............................................................. 14-35

Then & Now

Edmontonians tribute to Mayor Stephen Mandel........................................................................... 10-13


Linda Bodo upcycles herbs..................................................................................................................... 8

Home Envision

Elissa Scott finds comfort in the familiar.............................................................................................. 38

Life Balance

Lynn Fraser advocated body maintenance............................................................................................ 40

Walking the Talk

Barbara Ashley Phillips comments on “The Millennials” ...................................................................... 43


Nejolla Korris wants “infractors” flagged.............................................................................................. 39 Canadian Publication Mail Agreement # 40041145 If undeliverable, please return to:

Cedar Publishing Corporation 12851 - 56 Street Edmonton, AB T5A 0C9

www.cedarpublishing.com EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


ATB Financial........................................................................................................................................... 2 Design 21.............................................................................................................................................. 44 Homeward Trust..................................................................................................................................... 9 John Cameron Entertainment................................................................................................................ 13 Pique Dance.......................................................................................................................................... 41


Cheryl Croucher focuses on innovators......................................................................................... 46-47 3

With Marty Forbes

Marty Forbes


ne of the best parts about

The Rewalk 1 unit—

writing my Edmontonians a Bionic Exoskeleton column is that I get to continuously meet interesting people. Dave Ranson is one of those people. As you read this, Dave is likely about half way to his goal of riding a motorcycle son from St. Albert to Argentina as a fund Dave Ran raising ‘bucket list’ project supporting Spinal Cord Injury Research. A few years back, Dave’s brotherin-law, Barry Gabelhouse, was badly would ever walk again. injured while riding his mountain Fortunately, a miracle bike with friends near Nelson, BC. He happened and slowly but fell over the handle bars and landed surely life almost returned to on his head. Friends quickly jumped normal for him; today he is up and around to his assistance but he was totally and greatly appreciative of life and all the joy unresponsive. With no cell service, and lying that it provides. in the middle of nowhere, this quite easily This was a major eye-opener for Dave. He could have been his swan song. The friends decided to help others by doing this extended climbed up to the top of the highest nearby hill, ride, raising money for a special piece of searching for a cell signal, and luckily they equipment… but more so by providing more connected with 911 and the emergency rescue awareness for spinal cord injuries. was on. Dave departed solo on August 24th, and For 10 weeks, Barry was in recovery in a will ride between six and eight hours a day, for Kelowna hospital not knowing if, at age 40, he

nearly 30,000 kilometres south along the coast of the United States, through Mexico and South America for nearly six months. He will carry only what he needs. There’s no support truck—nobody helping him along— going through countries where he has literally no clue what to expect. That’s not to say he doesn’t know what he is doing. Dave spent nearly three years putting this together: researching stop points… areas of interest that he wants to see… chronicling as much as he can through video for a possible book in the future. He also knows that the motorcycle brotherhood is special, and is hoping to hook up with other riders who want to come along for portions of the ride, and/or to provide him with local knowledge and assistance if required. What’s your biggest worry, Dave? “Simple. Forgetting something. Plus breaking down. I know there will be problems along the way, and a flat tire in the middle of nowhere is likely one of them. Plus loneliness—that’s an awful lot of time on a motorcycle, by myself, in countries I’m not familiar with. It’s an adventure and I’m excited as all get out but, obviously, concerned that it all goes safely.”

“I hate th so hard to alleviated of having Said nobo

“I hate that my realtor worked so hard to sell my house and “I hate “I hate that “I hate that mytha my re alleviated the stress and hassle HOT IS THE MARKET? OR BAD TIME TO SELL? of having to sell it myself!“ so hard so hard so to hard sell to sell my to “I hate that my realtor worked MBER 15-30 BADSaid nobody......ever. alleviated alleviated alleviated thethe stres RY 1-12 so hard OK to sell my house and RY 13-31 alleviated GOOD the stress and hassle of having of having of to having sell to se itt ARY GREAT to sell it myself!“ of having SaidSaid nobody......e Said nobody... nobo GREAT ?H Said nobody......ever. Michelle Roth, Realtor ®

780-717-8283 GREAT



today for a free market uation on your home.

Michelle Roth, Realtor ® 780-717-8283 www.buysellcallmichelle.com


Not intended to solicit properties already under contract to another brokerage


® Michelle Michelle Roth, Realtor Michelle Roth, Realtor Roth,®Realtor Michelle Roth, Realt 780-717-8283 780-717-8283 780-717-8283 780-717-8283 www.buysellcallmichelle.com www.buysellcallmichelle.com www.buysellcallmichel




He leaves a very supportive wife and grown children at home, but will stay connected via Facebook, Twitter (@PrairiePenguin and satellite phone. Wife Wanitta is going to fly down to Belize in October to spend 10 days with him when he takes a little break from the road. Dave is riding in support of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center Society, formed in April 1987 by a group of spinal cord injured persons and their families. He’s raising funds for a Bionic Exoskeleton that enables people with lower body injuries to walk! “We want to get one of these to a local rehabilitation centre for further research.” The Society’s goal was and is to enhance the quality of life of people with “an injury that is caused to the spinal column by a sudden trauma resulting in immediate paraplegia.” SCITCS is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board of directors located in Edmonton and covers the area from the City of Red Deer north. “I’m focusing on raising money for purchase of a ReWalk unit, which is a bionic exoskeleten that paraplegics use to stand and walk.” This would be donated to the U of A Hospital here. “The price is $75,000 and my goal is to exceed $10,000 with this trip.” He would welcome donations through his website, www. prairiestopenguins.com, where he is uploading pictures, and updating his blog every couple of days. The bike he’s riding is a dual sport- Suzuki DR 650, equipped for riding on highways and off road. It’s not a long distance bike with lots of creature comforts, but is equipped with three pieces of hard luggage. He will also carry a backpack. Room for tools is the biggest concern. “There’s only so much you can take or you’d weigh the bike down too much. I’m also taking some small camping equipment but, hopefully, I’ll spend as much down time in hotels, motels, hostels as possible.” The longest trip Dave has taken, so far, is just three weeks long riding around 14,000km—so this will be a huge undertaking over an extended time period. Finally, when you do arrive and complete the journey Dave, how do you get the bike back to Canada? “The tentative plan is to fly it back to Miami… then ride back as far as I can through the States… then either sell the bike or pick it up later.” Money raised will go directly to the SCITCS. He is funding the cost of this ride entirely personally, and taking time off work to complete the project. Having just turned 50 years old, Dave is totally motivated to making something special happen for others at this point of his life. As bikers say, “Ride safe and keep the shiny side up.” Best of luck, Dave, and we look forward to your updates throughout this amazing twowheel adventure. √ Marty Forbes is president of Radiowise Inc. Contact: marty@edmontonians.com – and on Twitter: mjforbes EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


5 Strong Points

with Jey Arul


to help sell your business

ne of the key things

heavily on one specific client. This can make a prospective buyer nervous about the to remember when selling a company’s income situation—especially if business is that “the market” they think your big client stays with your is the barometer of value. business because of their relationship with Regardless of the amount of you. One is reminded of the old adage blood, sweat, tears and money you invested involving eggs and baskets... A diversified into the business… regardless of how much income stream reduces perceived risk for the you feel you deserve for your life’s work, buyer. buyers look at your business with very Create incentive plans to keep your critical eyes. They want to have a better key employees around during and after the understanding of the risks and opportunities transition period. This point dovetails with associated with your business before they #2. By definition, if your business isn’t part with their cash. It therefore becomes the dependent on you to operate smoothly, you seller’s job, to highlight the greatest possible rely on competent management to, well, value to prospective buyers. manage operations in your absence. An Keep these five points in mind as you plan effective management team is something you to sell your business: can advertise to your potential buyers, and is Understand what it means to build a a big feather in your cap if you can guarantee desirable business. Building a business with they’ll stick around when the new owner the intent of later selling it is an intensive takes possession. process. Every policy, work process, and Find a good business broker. For me, this employee position needs to be created definitely goes without saying. As business with consideration for the buyer who will brokers, we are capable of leveraging eventually replace you at the head of the numerous assets to better promote your company. You might consider reading Built business. Brokerages maintain inventories of to Sell, a book by author and entrepreneur businesses for sale and are thus destinations John Warrillow highlighting the issues faced for prospective buyers. We can shop your by a business owner attempting to reshape business around to a far wider audience than his business in order to boost its market value you could probably hope to manage. Because in the eyes of buyers. If you’ve never sold a we are capable of generating more chances business before, the book will point out just to attract the right kind of buyers, brokers how pervasive the necessary changes often are more likely to find the “right fit” for your are. business within a specific timeframe. Not Make your business less dependent on only that, by doing what we do best—selling you. This should go without saying; you plan your business—we can take a load off your to leave the business after all. What kind of shoulders and let you keep doing what it is value can you hope to get for your business if that you do best: running your business. √ the buyer expects the whole thing to fall apart once you’re gone? Establishing effective, Jey Arul is president of VR Business Sales in easy to follow work and management processes will go a long way to improving the Edmonton, AB. He started the mergers and acquisitions company in 2007 after leaving his perceived value of your business. You should position as a senior commercial banker for a be anticipating how you can reduce future Canadian Bank. Jey holds a BA in Psychology headaches for the incoming manager. Also be and an Executive MBA. Visit www.vralta.com prepared to stick around for a while after the sale to assist the buyer in transitioning into Kids Up Front Foundation your business. Edmontion Have a diversified client base. Opinions vary but 15 percent is a decent benchmark to try and adhere to. You don’t want your 780-409-2632 business’ revenue picture to rely too 11810 Kingsway Ave, Edmonton, AB www.kidsupfrontedmonton.com


with Erin Rayner

Good things happening


hen I told my

an open fire? A road trip to the mountains? parents I had booked The opportunities a trip to Morocco, felt endless. My exthey pursed their Australian hostess lips in the way you did point out that a expect parents do when a teenager has made a questionable choice. I, however, am in my mid-thirties tagine with and an experienced r amazing lamb d, honeyed Ou traveler. I’ve traveled tiful frie pumpkin, beau cauliflower, and solo through most of d te eggplant, roas ing tomato jam. Western Europe, North er at -w the mouth America, South Africa and Costa Rica. The news of my impending visit to Marrakech still received the well-practiced parental pursed lip treatment. Erin and Hostess Edwina Golombek enroute to the Valley of the Roses

Taking a Moroccan cooking class was on my bucket list, and since as I was going to the Rotary International Conference in Portugal (a mere hop and skip from Morocco!), I started seeking the right cooking school for my trip. I discovered the House of Fusion culinary school in Marrakech. The eccentric and experienced hostess Edwina Golombek and I exchanged countless e-mails as I tried to narrow down my options. Two days of cooking classes? A class in a traditional Berber village over 6

House of Fusio School an n Culinary Marrakec d Riad in h, Morocc o

trip to the Sahara in July might be hotter than I and my proposed camel mount would enjoy. At an average temperature of 40-50o C in the city, she was right—I’d have melted on that camel! I chose to take two days of cooking classes: a guided day through the souqs of Marrakech, a personally guided road trip to the Valley of the Roses in the Atlas Mountains, and a short jaunt to the coastal town of Essaioura. While at the House of Fusion, I learned to make my shopping list in Arabic and even how to ask for the items myself at the market. Nearly every dish we made had spices I’d never heard of and was cooked in a traditional clay pot: the Tagine. Edwina, her local assistant Hessna, and I made lemon chicken, lamb tagine, sardine kafkas,


three different types of local breads, and a tomato jam that has since won over most of my friends and family who have tried it. The spices are literally out of this world; the depth of flavour used in Moroccan cuisine is a challenge for a tongue, brought up on Canadian/German/ Ukrainian dishes, to wrap itself around. But my taste buds and I prevailed. I even managed to bring back two huge tagines in my carry-on luggage! √

ocelyn Steingard, a 22-

year old business student at the University of Alberta, has learned things about herself that she never thought she would. Following in her older sister Jessica’s footsteps led her to the Edmonton Chapter of AIESEC, the world’s largest studentrun non-profit organization. AIESEC (pronounced I-seck) offers students in universities across Canada and abroad leadership and international internship opportunities. Jocelyn started as a general member on the leadership side of AIESEC in September 2011. Within two months she became VP of Events for the local committee. Shortly after, she became President of the Organizing Committee for AIESEC Canada’s 2013 National Congress, a five-day national conference with 270 delegates. “It was a really interesting experience planning an event of that scale. You don’t think about everything that goes on behind an event until you’re EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

have created in order to shine a spotlight on people who are working passionately in the field, and doing great and creative work, as well as people who are living with mental illness or addiction and doing great things for their own well-being as well as that of others” says Executive Director Glynnis Lieb.

Jocelyn with students in Guacheta, Columbia

trying to plan one so everything runs smoothly,” says Jocelyn of that experience. Once the congress planning and excitement came to an end, Jocelyn thought she should give the AIESEC International internship project a shot and see what all the hype was about. Even though she didn’t speak a word of Spanish, Jocelyn left in May for seven weeks in Columbia. Thankfully, she was partnered with a fellow AIESEC intern from Argentina who spoke fluent Spanish and English. Her weekends were spent in the capital city of Bogota, but each week she made the three-hour, 98-km commute to the town of Guacheta to teach English to villagers. “It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I’ve never travelled to a different country on my own like that before… just being part of a small town where the culture is so different. I’ve never met more hospitable people than the people I met in Columbia.” I was surprised though by the biggest lesson Jocelyn learned from the program. “I think the biggest thing I took out of it was they have such a joy for life. They are proud of what they have, they enjoy what they have, and they are thankful for what they have. They just spend time with people and enjoy the people around them… we were treated like their family.” For more information on the AIESEC programs or to find out how you can

participate contact Nancy Te, VP Communications at nte@ualberta.ca or check out the AIESEC Edmonton website www.aiesec.ca/Edmonton. √


ave you ever heard

of the LG’s Circle? Me neither—until about a year ago when I was picking up a book at Audrey’s bookstore. There was a poster promoting author Dr. Gabor Mate’s visit to Edmonton and his recent book In the Realm of Hungary Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Dr. Mate’s visit was sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor’s Circle for Mental Health and Addictions. Looking into the organization further, I learned that His Honour The Lieutenant Governor, Col. (ret.) Donald S Ethell has chosen alleviating the shame and stigma associated with mental health and addictions as his focus for his term. The Circle is the organization that is putting momentum behind that goal. It is drawing attention to those speaking openly and honestly about their struggles with mental health and addictions is by hosting the True Awards. “All of the Circle’s activities are aimed at providing education and information, but always with a message of hope or positivity. The True Awards are an annual event that we

Jamie Courtorielle, winner of the 2012 True Grit Award, flanked by Circle board member Micheal Pietrus and His Honour The Lieutenant Governor, Col. (ret.) Donald S Ethell. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 percent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness diagnosis during their lifetime. That number does not do justice to the impact a diagnosis has on family, friends, employers and other community members. Glynnis agrees, “The Awards give us an excellent opportunity to accept the fact that mental illness impacts everyone, embrace that fact that we all have to work to maintain good mental health, and to celebrate the amazingly strong and wonderful people have made sharing these messages their life’s work.” This year’s awards ceremony will take place September 27th. For more information about the True Awards or the Circle itself, visit www.lgcirclealberta.ca. √ Erin Rayner is president of ED Marketing and Communications Inc. Contact erayner@edmontonians.com

1.866.535.5376 We Build Relationships KelleRdenali Construction is a full-service general contractor, construction manager, and design-builder with offices in edmonton and Calgary, alberta. We specialize in commercial, light industrial, metal building, special project, and petroleum construction. Corporate offiCe - 11430 - 160 Street, edmonton, aB - teL: 780.484.1010 • CaLgary offiCe - #7, 5918 - 5th Street Se, CaLgary, aLBerta, teL: 403.253.7288 EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013



BODO with Linda Bodo




erbs and spices can make

a mean pesto, punt bothersome vampires, or send you on a psychedelic journey with the twist of a leaf. Generally, we regard these aromatic greens, seeds, berries, roots and fruits as gastronomic enhancers, alternative medicine, or the proverbial garnish that accompanies an orange slice with your French toast. But, these multi-taskers are so much more than that.


H and I were enjoying a late lunch at an Okanagan winery recently when our server delivered our Pinot Grigio with a small Cloves ramekin of crushed cloves. As we enjoyed the breathtaking scenery and delectable tapas, the modest dish of dried flower buds aromatically repelled the crowd of yellow-jackets that threatened to destroy our al fresco experience. Still recovering from a nasty

The Rx Spice of Life wasp sting only days earlier, I was thrilled. The idea of repurposing an organic material into an herbalicious solution for everyday living intrigued the upcycler in me and I went about compiling a referral for those who still think that Garlic herbs are just a garnish. If there’s anything garlic doesn’t like, it’s fungus, so treating your athlete’s foot with the stuff works wonders. Crush a couple of cloves and toss them in a foot bath filled Mint with warm water. Soak for about half an hour and walk away itch-free. Use garlic as a quick fix for scratched glass — rub the sticky sap of a crushed garlic clove onto hairline cracks, then

wipe away any excess liquid. Garlic is a natural adhesive, so it’ll fill and stabilize cracks. There’s bad breath and then there’s garlic breath. The Fettuccini Alfredo you had for dinner has left you with the wrath of the stinking rose. Chomp on chopped parsley to freshen your breath and have colleagues addressing you face to face again. Crushed parsley is also a great remedy for eliminating dark circles under the eyes. It contains vitamin C, chlorophyll, and vitamin K that reduces inflammation and tightens and lightens skin. Despite our predilection for the fresh aroma of mint, mice beg to differ. They despise the smell of it so much that they will avoid all areas (even a block of cheese) where mint is scattered. Keep Fido’s kennel clean and deodorized with peppermint. Make a strong tea with

780.940.1288 www.momentsindigital.com 8


peppermint tea bags and add 4 drops each of clove and eucalyptus essential oils. Place in a spray bottle and mist surfaces. Look younger and think younger with sage. Use it as a natural dye to lighten greying hair while leaving your tresses soft and shiny. Sage can also help prevent ‘brain farts’ as well. Clinical studies show that the herb has positive effects on memory and concentration in both older people with cognitive problems and younger people with ADD. Coriander is regarded as a natural way to help get rid of a headache. Grind coriander leaves to release their juices and rub the paste on your forehead to relieve an aching head. You can also sleep with a coriander leaf on your pillow. Basil Because of its antiinflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, basil is great for combating acne. Steep fresh basil leaves in hot water for 2030 minutes. Let the water cool and use a cotton ball to apply the infused liquid to problem areas on your skin. In no time, your skin will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Oregano is effective in the treatment of colds and to relieve sinus pressure. Oil of oregano, which is available at most health stores, is especially effective. Place a few drops under the tongue or two to three drops in a glass of water or juice before drinking. The oil drains sinuses and reduces inflammation. Rosemary is a great way to thwart annoying mosquitoes on a warm summer’s eve. Grow the plant in an area close to the deck or patio where you do most of your entertaining. Rosemary has also been credited with eliminating dandruff. Boil a handful of sprigs in two cups of water, cool and rinse with the infused liquid. According to mythology, the goddess of love Aphrodite grew marjoram for her love potions. Take fresh marjoram leaves and rub them on your wrists and behind your ears. The sweet aroma with its spicy edge could make Viagra a thing of the past. Eucalyptus oil is one of the most powerful natural antiseptic oils, but is also invaluable when it comes to removing stains, particularly grease and perspiration from clothing and fabrics. Moisten a clean rag with a little oil and dab the stain from the edge to the middle, then launder as usual. Laven der Add a few drops of lavender oil to your washer’s rinse cycle or fill a muslin bag with lavender flowers to toss into your


o Tarrag

dryer for a fresh scent without heavy chemicals. You can also hide the sachets in your undies drawer for a crisp fresh scent . Clean yourself from the inside out with tarragon, which has been linked to increased bile production that contributes to the elimination of toxins from the body. Tarragon is packed with tannins, bitters terpenes, flavonoids and coumarin, which attributes to its cleansing properties. √ In an era of social consciousness, sustainable living has become the latest designer trend. The concept has caught on with eco-logical artisans, or upcyclers, who create iconic pieces from waste stream materials. These objects articulate a poignant message of today’s consumerism while inspiring creative methods to reduce our carbon footprint. Blur the line between art and craft with recycle-based designs through The Art of Upcycling with Linda Bodo. www.absolutebodo.com EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


Commitment to end homelessness by 2019


omelessness is a social issue that impacts

all of us. In 2008, the biennial Edmonton Homeless Count revealed there were 3,079 people without a permanent residence. Even before these record-breaking results were released, Mayor Stephen Mandel had been talking about his commitment to ending homelessness and was implementing the creation of a plan for the city. In 2009, A Place to Call Home, the City of Edmonton’s 10-year plan to end homelessness was launched. Rather than just managing homelessness with basic emergency services, the City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta, which initiated its own 10 year plan, have committed to ending homeless by 2019 by providing permanent housing and supports. Within three years of the adoption of the 10-year plan and its implementation through Homeward Trust—along with the Homeless Commission, agencies and services providers—Edmonton had a 30-percent decrease in homelessness. Mayor Mandel has been a vocal supporter, not just of the 10year plan but also for the specific work we do at Homeward Trust Edmonton. He comes to many of our events, lending his voice and support behind campaign initiatives, championing the implementation of the Housing First Support Program and many other housing and homeless projects. He has been fiercely passionate about all Edmontonians and standing up for those who society often ignores. On behalf of everyone at Homeward Trust Edmonton, thank you Mayor Mandel.

your furniture. Great prices. Professionally cleaned. Donated by your neighbours. Quality furnishings. Proceeds from sales go directly back into ending homelessness in Edmonton.

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Shop local. Find your furniture.


that was then: By Barb Deters



s the 2004 municipal election loomed large,

Edmontonians’ feature writer Peter Drake McHugh focused “on the frontrunners”. His insightful interviews for the October issue began with Jim Lightbody, a social scientist at the University of Alberta. The political analyst and critic provided his take on three of the eight mayoral candidates. Incumbent Mayor Bill Smith, elected in 1995, 1998 and 2001: “Bill Smith is the administration’s man and that’s not good for the city. He’s the only person on Council who never knows how the vote will turn out. He has never learned to share the credit with others.” Lawyer and two-term Councillor Robert Noce, elected in 1995 and 1998: “His shortcoming is that he wants to be mayor of Edmonton as a stepping stone to provincial or federal politics… but, as long as he is making decisions on the basis of what’s good for the city, that’s probably okay.” Developer and one-term Councillor Stephen Mandel, elected in 2001: “This is just the beginning for him. He is the most thoughtful of the candidates with the long-range view and least patience for what’s pretty well thought of as a lackadaisical management of the city… because he’s been involved in development… He knows what effect spot development can have on a neighbourhood. He has some problems. There is a lack of recognition on the part of the public…” McHugh wrote in-depth about all three top candidates, but I’ll focus on comments in the article titled The Mandel Mantra: “Somewhat late and profusely apologetic, in comes Stephen Mandel—sublimely confident and loaded for bear. At age 59, he is the cock of

his own walk. Successful businessman, developer and city councillor, he is a mildly profane man with an easygoing charm and political savvy beyond most one-term councillors. “Mandel is as direct as his reputation. He likes people and hates bureaucracy. Reputably, he’s a man women like. This is a man with an ego and message to Edmonton voters. They are being short-changed. He is a frustrated man. “‘There is no leadership at city hall,’ he says… ‘Councillors are frustrated because we are not involved in decisionmaking. …and the Mayor has no idea that, in order to run a successful city, you must create a win-win situation for councillors. ‘…we must do more with the resources we have and make city services more effective and City Hall more responsive. We’ve got to get our city back to being a clear leader in the region and in the province. ‘A mayor must be able to assure council that all voices will be considered, and to share credit with the many people who make this city work.’” It was evident to McHugh that “Mandel does not want to be perceived as a loner. He clearly is not. He believes in utilizing the minds and energies of members of council, community and business leaders, other orders of government.” Mandel proceeded to outline some of his “lofty” ideas which, in fact, became his agenda for growth and recognition in the ensuing years. Lightbody had expressed optimism, “I trust the electorate to make the right choice, finally…” They did. √

Promoting Edmonton in Toronto


Lynn Mandel, a former professional dancer, told Edmontonians “We’ve always been very busy, very active in the community… we go to a wide range of functions.” Over the years, she served as chair and honorary chair of numerous charity events… she contributed not only her name but her expertise to their fundraising efforts.

2006 Courting international business: Mayor Mandel led 55 representatives of the Consular Corps on a two-day tour of Greater Edmonton facilities 10


Stephen Mandel knew that, if he won the election, he would have to wear a tie every day.

Continued on page 12 EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

this is now:


Mayor Stephen Mandel His legacy in his own words Interview with Paula E. Kirkman


dmonton is a city in

transition. His Worship Stephen Mandel has been at the helm since 2004, more often than not, reveling in its growth and prosperity. According to census figures, the population has increased from 712,391 people in 2005 to 817,498 in 2012… the average price of a single family detached house has more than doubled from $202,711 to $410,372. Downtown revitalization isn’t just a catch-phrase, it’s a reality: the Art Gallery of Alberta, the EPCOR Tower, the Royal Alberta Museum, the approved arena complex, numerous highrise condo/ apartment projects… the list is long and getting longer. Indeed, there is activity and improvement in every community. Potholes and snow removal aside, things are pretty good. The winds of change also are blowing through Edmonton’s political landscape. As Mayor Mandel’s final term as leader of the city comes to a close, he reflected with Edmontonians on his time in office and discussed the highlights of his accomplishments… the importance of our youth… and what he believes is the city’s biggest asset: its people.


“I think it’s a balance between a social agenda… and an infrastructure agenda. We try to look at

all aspects of city government and try to do the right thing. So I think that’s important, keeping in mind that we all have fiscal restraints. Money doesn’t come easy to any citizen. “The LRT is a big one. We have two LRT lines we’ve developed, one to the southwest, and the one to NAIT which will be finished in a couple of months. Recreation centres across the city and libraries across the city; those are important. I think the closure of the airport and redevelopment of the airport lands is a very exciting opportunity for citizens of Edmonton… moving 30,000 people more into the centre of the city instead of moving outwards. There’s the regional governance board which is having its challenges, but it did not exist before so now there’s that. We spent a bundle of money on capital… we spent probably $2.5 billion fixing roads. And then the last one, I guess, is the Neighbourhood Improvement Program, which is the only one in the country, investing $135 million a year in older neighbourhoods, trying to bring them back to life with new sidewalks, roads, sewer, water, etc. Those are highlights there are many more but those are some.”


“Not much, because you can’t change what you didn’t do. You have to accept the results of whatever you did and that’s what it is. I don’t

have any regrets about anything. You can’t have regrets. It just doesn’t work that way. “You will never ever accomplish everything you want to accomplish. There are many things I would like to do more of. An example is our Waste Re-Solutions, which is taking Edmonton’s worldwide reputation for waste management and marketing it around the world; I think that’s an exciting project. “But there comes a time in all politicians’ lives when I think they need to make what’s the best decision for the City—which is not to stay forever—and to open up the doors for opportunities for other people. I think that was a big motivating factor. There’s a time you need to go and a time to stay—and my time to go had come.”


“I think the youth will have and are having a phenomenal impact. If I am not mistaken, we are one of the youngest, if not the youngest, city in the country. I am very proud that this city council has really taken it upon themselves to encourage the voices of the under 30 group, and not just encourage them but listen to them because we believe they have a great vision for the future… we strongly believe that their ideas are what the city should aspire to. They are inspirational and an absolutely integral part of any future for our city. They are our future.”

Continued on page 13

AlbertaOneCall.com EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


2007 Sizzler Krista Turko and her mother Tamara with Mayor Mandel.

Continued from page 10

Mayor Mandel met all the 2010 Sizzlers, including Joti Tung, shown with her Dad Ranjit Dhanju, husband Shawn and Bruce Kirkland. The Mandels—unmasked at Concordia’s Grande Masque Ball—in October 2007

2011 Alberta Business Hall of Fame Gala: Premier Ed Stelmach and the Mayor appeared to have a great rapport.

Mandel on the mound at the Edmonton Capitals 2009 season opener.

Bruce Kirkland, Mayor Mandel and Bob Westbury at the first Sizzling Reception at Lexus of Edmonton in 2005. His Honour Lieutenant Governor David Ethell and His Worship at the 33rd Annual Consular Ball in April 2013.

from the


August 2013, the Mayor announcing Edmonton will host seven games during FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014… sans tie as his days in office wind down.

We—the people—should be ashamed!


n my accompanying editorial

in October 2004, I worried that it was “likely that more than 300,000 Edmontonians won’t give a tinker’s damn” who sits in the mayor’s chair. I wondered: “Who among these three men is most capable of leading City Council and working closely with councillors… is a credible spokesman for the city in negotiations with the province on the priorities for a potential $1billion in infrastructure funding…? Who shares the vision of the citizens? Who can and will deliver on his promises? Who deserves our respect and support?” Edmonton voters wisely chose Stephen


Mandel to be the next mayor and returned him to office in the 2007 and 2010 municipal elections. In 2004, turn-out at the polls wasn’t as bad as I had predicted but it was, nonetheless, dismal: 41.8 percent, just 212,105 out of 507,577 eligible voters cast ballots. We—the people—are more inclined to exercise our democratic right when we are hell bent on voting someone out of office. It appears that wasn’t the case in 2007 when Mandel was re-elected with 65.8 percent support. Perhaps that was our excuse for our embarrassingly low 27.2 percent turn-out: a paltry 152,576 voters out of 596,117. And, again in 2010 when only 199,359 concerned citizens out of 596,406

upped our percentage to 33.4… of whom 55.2 percent chose Mandel. Clearly, among those who cared enough to vote, the majority expressed their approval of his performance. But that’s not the point. Municipal elections are where we—the people—have the most influence. It is our best opportunity to make the greatest impact on how we live… the quality of our lives in the city we call “home”. Somewhere in excess of 620,000 residents (actual numbers are difficult to track down at this time) are probably eligible to make our marks. Shame. Shame. Shame on us—the people—if we don’t vote on Monday, October 21, 2013. √ ~ Barb Deters, Editor EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


This is Now... continued from page 11

The Singing Christmas Tree


“People elect the government they want and, at the end of the day, in the last nine years, we’ve moved forward as a team a great deal and we’ll see what happens in the next election. I hope some progressive people get elected because cities need to grow. If they don’t grow, they die… I think that, over a number of years, because we were always such a fractured council, we never accomplished things. We hadn’t built a recreation centre in Edmonton since the early ’80s, and we hadn’t made an expansion to the LRT probably since the late ’70s. All these things sat dormant. Roads weren’t fixed. Neighbourhoods weren’t fixed. You can’t sit there and do nothing, blink your eyes, and hope things get improved. You have to go out and be committed to making change, and to doing the kinds of things in cities that make them a great place to live.”


“We’re working on a couple of things; go back and get in the business and do a few things there. My wife and I are going to travel a little bit and enjoy our grandson. Just rest and enjoy life.”


“The people. The people. The people. This is the friendliest, nicest city of people in the world. I don’t say that lightly. The people here are friendly, open, warm, and it is such a difference. I have friends of mine who moved to other cities and you go to other cities and people are a bit standoffish, but not here. People roll up their sleeves and are very welcoming. I think that is one of the great characteristics of Edmonton. “Edmontonians are good people.”


“I had a great time being the mayor and have been tremendously honoured by being the mayor of this fantastic city for the last nine years. In politics, as in life, we’re not always going to agree but, in every turn, whether it is myself or my council of colleagues, we all did what we thought was best for this city. In the end, we don’t always agree but we need to move the city forward in order to have the kind of place that your under 30 group will want to stay at. That’s really the fundamental issue. “People my age, 60 plus, they are going to stay here or not stay here, but it’s the under 30 and under 40 groups that have to see this city with a future. They have to see this city as a place where they can build their financial future… their social future… and their familial future. So it’s vitally important that we focus on that younger generation and tell them, ‘We want you. We need you.’” Stephen and Lynn Mandel have served us well. For the past nine years, they have covered the city like a blanket: attending countless events… supporting numerous causes… promoting the arts. By every measure, individually and as a couple, they have been good for Edmonton. √

Showcasing local talent… supporting local charities


ohn Cameron Entertainment is driven

by a passion to showcase local talent and support local charities. Over the last four years, we have created inspiring experiences by bringing up-and-coming talent to the global stage and producing world class events in our city. The Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree, one of Edmonton’s and John Cameron Entertainment’s most renowned Christmas traditions, has raised $400,000 in the last four years toward local charities and provided music enrichment funding for our youth. In addition, we produce several events throughout the year: Harvest Celebration, supporting the Lois Hole Hospital… Night of Inspiration, supporting Global Family… Soaring with Song, supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation… and fundraiser/awareness events for the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Edmonton, and the World Presidents Organization. We have also worked with many individual artists to develop their music and careers.


Mayor Stephen Mandel, Congratulations on your success and retirement, we truly commend you for being the best mayor Edmonton has ever seen. Although we are sad to see you retire, we are grateful for what you have provided for our city over the years. You have brought so much encouragement and enthusiasm to growing Edmonton’s culture and giving back to the community. The support you have shown for the arts is incredible, and we appreciate you for helping us to showcase our local talent each year in our performances as well as at the Mayor’s Celebration of The Arts. You truly are an ambassador of the arts. Thank you for your immense contributions to our city.

Showcasing Local Talent. Supporting Local Charities. P 780.487.8733 F 780.484.1378 info@johncameron.com www.johncameron.com EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013



elcome to the

2013 edition of Edmontonians Sizzling Twenty under 30. This marks the 12th year the magazine has showcased 20 dynamic, young women and men from the Capital Region—240 since 2002. The Sizzlers are self-starters… promising professionals… gifted artists… hard-working entrepreneurs… motivated community volunteers. They are the products of our colleges, universities and life’s experiences—driven by the need to succeed. They represent the best of the best who are as dedicated to causes as

David Adomako-Ansah Founder, Dunk on Disease (deceased) www.dunkondisease.webs.com Danisha Bhaloo Manager of Development Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area 780.938.7860 danisha.bhaloo@gmail.com www.danishabhaloo.com www.huffingtonpost.com/danisha-bhaloo/ www.bgcbigs.ca Chelsea Bird Afternoon Drive Co-Host, CISN Country 103.9 FM Finalist, Miss Universe Canada 2012 chelsea.bird@live.com www.chelsea-bird.com Shant Chakmakian President, SC Systems 877.249.8377 shant@scsystems.ca www.scsystems.ca Stefan Cherwoniak Owner, Quickfire Group 780.238.1328 info@quickfiremortgage.com www.quickfiremortgage.com 10909-106 Street, Edmonton AB T5H 4M7 Executive Chef www.quickfirecookery.com President, JCI Edmonton


they are to careers. The finalists’ stories pay homage to all the nominees. The Sizzling 20 are nominated by business leaders, professional mentors, educators and interested individuals— including proud parents. It is gratifying to receive nominations from previous Sizzlers who recognize the qualities we look for in candidates. Selection is based on the nominees’ levels of achievement and dedication to a chosen field of endeavour as well as their commitment to volunteerism. Our thanks to photographers Bruce Clarke and Tracy Kolenchuk, profile writer Rena Traxel-Bourdeau, and

designer Shane Hill. Their combined talents enabled us to present the faces and stories of these accomplished and impressive men and women. It is our hope—and intention—that Edmontonians’ Sizzling Twenty under 30 will encourage other young Albertans to reach beyond their grasp. Annually, Lexus of Edmonton— together with Edmontonians and a number of corporate sponsors—hosts a blazing reception to recognize our Sizzling Twenty under 30 rising stars. Coverage of this special evening will appear in the Winter edition of Edmontonians. √

Jennifer Davidson Operations Manager Dynaline Industries 780.453.3964 18070-109 Avenue, Edmonton AB T5S 2K2 jen@dynaline.com www.dynaline.com

Crystal Jones Early Learning Consultant Edmonton Catholic Schools crystal.jones@ecsd.net

Grant Fedorak Co-Owner/VP Operations Scott Gordon Co-Owner/VP Sales & Marketing Press’d The Sandwich Company Catering: 780.782.8177 www.pressdsandwiches.ca Rayanne Forbes Community Engagement Coordinator YESS—Youth Empowerment & Support Services 780.468.7186 ext 288 Columnist, Edmonton Examiner Founder, Graves Disease Foundation of Edmonton www.gravesdiseaseawareness.blogspot.com www.rayannesthoughts.blogspot.ca Kirsta Franke Owner/Operator, 124 Grand Market Marketing & Events Coordinator, 124 Street Business Revitalization Zone hello@124grandmarket.com www.124grandmarket.com Yu Hao (Danny) Huang Student/Researcher Faculty of Science, Department Biochemistry University of Alberta

Aleksa Mrdjenovich CEO, Nova Hotels Inc. 780.732.5720 #500-159 Airport Road, Edmonton AB T5G 0W6 aleksa_m@novahotels.ca www.novahotels.ca Moréniké “Nikky” OlAOSebIkan Pharmacist Owner, Shoppers Drug Mart 7469 101Avenue Edmonton, AB T6A 3Z5 Founder, Ribbon Rouge HIV Fundraiser www.ribbonrouge.com Designer/Artist, Arewa Canada 780.993.2364 morenike@arewa.ca www.arewa.ca Jacob Pelletier Executive Pastry Chef/Co-owner Duchess Bake Shop 780.488.4999 10720-124 Street Edmonton AB T5M 0H1 info@duchessbakeshop.com www.duchessbakeshop.com Julie Rossington Director, Reeves College 780.990.1650 julie.rossington@reevescollege.ca www.reevescollege.ca EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

Mary Solomon Founder & President, End Malaria Initiative BSc Student, University of Alberta emiuofa@ualberta.ca Alim Nizar Somji General Manager, Real Estate and New Venture Analysis Jaffer Group of Companies, Jaffer Realty Suite 500-10355 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton AB T5J 1Y6 780.907.3973 alim.somji@jafferinc.com www.jafferinc.com Jesse van der Werf Owner & CEO, Heavy Metal Equipment and Rentals Partner, Dutchmen Equipment and Rentals Inc. www.heavymetalequipment.ca www.dutchmen.ca/Home.aspx Brody Lane Wells Director, Wells Environment wellsenviroservices@gmail.com Director/Instructor, Alberta Flyboard/NDB Watersports www.albertaflyboard.com


or the past couple of months, I’ve interviewed 20 amazing people. I laughed then cried as Sarah recounted stories about her brother David. I gawked at the awesomeness of the Flyboard® demonstrated by Brody. My mouth watered at the Duchess Bakeshop, co-owned by Jacob. If I had a boss, I would want one like Jennifer or Julie, who show they truly care about their employees. When I have kids, I hope their teacher will be as passionate as Crystal. Chelsea reminded me to keep an open mind and be willing to walk through doors of opportunity. I melted at the site of Lola and was amazed at how fierce Rayanne truly is. I can’t believe, at the age of 19, how much both Danny and Mary have accomplished. They are a reminder to follow my dreams. Grant and Scott were hoot to talk to as they recounted the bumps along the way. Bravo to Aleksa’s willingness to learn on the job and help her father’s business thrive. I enjoyed Nikky’s unique flare. I plan on travelling the world like Stefan trying different cuisine, except I’ll probably pass on the snake blood. I can imagine the speed of Jesse’s 1969 Nova, and can’t wait to get my 1978 Camaro on the road.

Thankfully, there are people like Kirsta and Alim who have the vision to help revitalize local communities. Finally, Danisha and Shant have inspired me to “give back” in any way I can. Now that I’ve graduated from Grant MacEwan University with a diploma in Applied Communications in Professional Writing, I’ll continue to work as a freelance writer www. renajtraxel.com while taking care of the communications side of my husband’s automotive business, Vintage Steel. My passion is to write for kids and teens. I’m working on my first novel for teens as well as a series of non-fiction and fiction picture books for kids. In May, I was elected as a Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) board member. I also sit on the WGA Youth Committee helping to bring programs to young writers, under 30, across Alberta. Thanks to Bruce Clarke and Tracy Kolenchuk for all the fabulous shots and the rest of the Edmontonians’ crew responsible for this issue. Twenty Sizzlers had unique stories to tell. I’m honoured that I got to share them. √


Photo by Bruce Clarke




Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk


anisha Bhaloo attributes her success to Big Brothers Big Sisters. She received her Big Sister mentor at the age of 10 and stayed in the program for the next eight years—as long as she could. At that time, a big surprise awaited her: Her caseworker had nominated her for the CIBC YouthVision Scholarship. It provided full remuneration for an undergraduate degree of her choice, and paid summer internships with not-for- profit organizations. She chose to work with the Youth Restorative Action Project, the Edmonton John Howard Society, the Elizabeth Fry Society and the YMCA. Through these experiences, she helped numerous young offenders rehabilitate. An opportunity she admits that “single-handedly led me to where I am as a young professional today.” Danisha graduated with a degree in Criminology from the University of Alberta in 2007, after which she was hired as the youngest probation officer with the Alberta government. Within a year, she realized her passion lay in working for the not-for-profit sector. When she became the executive director of the Edmonton Inner City Children’s Program that provided after-school programming, Big Brothers Big Sisters made workspace available to her in its building. In 2009, Danisha decided to pursue a graduate diploma in Public Relations, focusing on not-for-profits, at McGill University. As a part time caseworker for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal, she was promoted twice within two years and stayed on after she graduated. From the front lines, dealing directly with at-risk youth, Danisha became the Coordinator of the Black ‘n Role Program which matches black youth with mentors in the community. Then, as Coordinator of the In-School Mentoring programs, she implemented counselling, tutoring and healthy lifestyle programming to more than 20 French and English schools on Montreal Island. “Not only was the work done by the staff and volunteers at the agency remarkable, I was able to witness first-hand the difference they made in the lives of thousands of children and youth every year.” Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and Area, now amalgamated with Boys and Girls Clubs, got word Danisha was considering moving back to the city to be closer to family and friends. The organization offered her the Manager of Development position. She happily accepted “her dream job” at what is the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in Canada

s y a Alw ar e D & Near


Danisha Bhaloo Youth advocate... fundraiser

In her new role since January, the 28-year old maintains relationships with sustaining funders: United Way Alberta Capital Region, City of Edmonton FCSS, and Child and Family Services Authority. She also garners additional funds through grant-writing and three signature fundraisers: Dream Home Lottery, BCGBigs Golf Tournament and the Lobster Lovers event. In 2012, more than 4800 children in Greater Edmonton were served through the club and mentoring programs. Danisha knows “We are lucky that, in Edmonton, we have the support of many diverse individuals, corporations and governments.” Not surprisingly, when Danisha isn’t working, she is volunteering. She devotes hundreds of hours per year to the World Partnership Walk, the World Partnership Golf tournament, the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board, and the Aga Khan Education Board for Canada. She serves on the board of The John Howard Society, and is involved in Making Something Edmonton and The Festival of Ideas at the University of Alberta, among others. She routinely blogs for the Huffington Post Canada IMPACT. Opera, jazz or a John Grisham novel are most likely to fill her few spare moments. Danisha is content to spend her days building connections and raising funds in support of an organization that has been at the heart of her success for two decades. √ ~ Rena J Traxel EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

H Photo by Bruce Clarke

e began cooking for his family when he was just 12 years old—Shake ’n Bake was his seasoning of choice. But, Stefan Cherwoniak quickly learned to create mouth-watering dishes, careful to avoid his many food allergies, including nuts. In his teens, he started working at Sorrentino’s in west Edmonton. There, he developed his love for Italian food. It inspired him to study classic culinary techniques in San Gimignano, Italy, and London, England. As food and beverage director at the Royal Glenora Club, Stefan managed a multi-million dollar operation. He decided to follow his entrepreneurial and creative instincts and opened Quickfire Cookery which gives him the freedom to try new things. “There is no set menu. There is nothing I won’t attempt.” He has cooked Brazilian, African and Israeli food. He specializes in preparing higher quality food for smaller catered functions ranging from six to 70 people, or stand-up receptions for 150. He’s travelled to many places in Asia, Europe and the United States, soaking up the culture. He has tried some interesting cuisine along the way—think scorpion-on-a-stick in China and snake’s blood in Thailand. “I’ll try anything from street food to the finest [restaurant] food.” In addition to being an executive chef, Stefan is a licensed mortgage broker. His two professions operate under the umbrella of the Quickfire Group. While these two businesses may seem unlikely combination, Stefan says, “Not really. I like to help people.” He is able to do so through both endeavors. In 2012, he organized 60 catering events while also developing and funding mortgages in excess of $10 million. Stefan works to support fellow brokers in education, technology, knowledge of social media, and business development. On the food front, he has been asked by four local restaurants to provide consultation services. As well, Stefan has been involved in multiple appearances demonstrating cooking techniques on various television programs, including the CTV morning news and City TV morning show, and was invited to audition for Top Chef Canada. He has participated in support of the Canadian Olympic Foundation at the Gold Medal Plates Competition,

STEFAN CHERWONIAK Executive chef... licensed broker

For the past year, Stefan has served as president for Junior Chamber International Edmonton (JCI). He heads an organizing a board of 14 members. He’s assisted in growing membership by more than 15 percent in past three years, and conducts new member orientations. He has helped foster relationships between JCI Edmonton and NextGen, InterVivos, Start-Up Edmonton, Latitude 53, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Freewill Shakespeare, and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. Stefan has assisted in JCI Christmas Hamper Program and Ronald McDonald House Charities Home for Dinner, and several other events that have generated nearly a quarter-million dollars in donations. He attends regional, national and international conferences, and has received numerous awards for his dedication. Stefan studied International Business at the University of Alberta, and currently sits on the Delta Chi Fraternity Alumni Board of Trustees. As an alumni advisor, his role is to guide members. “It’s amazing to see these boys develop into men.” The 26-year old likes to lead from behind the scenes in both his advisor and chef roles. He would consider it the biggest compliment if one his staff members were to start a competing business. Stefan’s diverse interests attest to his passion for people… his desire to effect change… and his pursuit of excellence. √ ~ Rena J Traxel

All fired up! EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013



Photo by Bruce Clarke

hant Chakmakian obviously believes in having the right credentials to support his business. He’s has been described as a “three-time serial graduate of NAIT”. He earned diplomas in Computer Network Administration in 2004 and Network Engineering in 2008, and his Honours Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology degree, majoring in network management, in 2012. He received his certification in 2011as both a Cisco Design and Network Associate, enabling him to diagnose, restore, repair and replace critical Cisco networking and system devices. That year, Shant also started SC Systems, a full service IT management company that connects small and medium businesses to worry-free technology. Just two years later, Shant has grown from one staff member to four, and currently has more than 20 vendors and numerous alliances with local companies. With four months still to go, SC Systems has already surpassed last year’s revenues. Shant believes in adhering to best practices. Fostering relationships between clients, staff and vendors are cornerstones of his business. “I work for my vision. I’m constantly measuring.”

According to one client, “…he draws on his over 10 years of experience in the IT industry using knowledge he has gained from working with government, large corporations and numerous businesses such as ours. “Shant was always cognizant we were a start-up business with limited financial resources and technical savvy, and worked diligently to introduce technology that made sense for our business, was not financially exhaustive and, importantly, that we could grasp. In a relatively short time, he turned around how we did our business and the results have been better than we ever could have anticipated!” Gifted with energy, enthusiasm and leadership skills, Shant is dedicated to community service. At the age of 23, he was the youngest member ever to sit on the board of NAIT. Instrumental in creating its Student Senate, he was as a member for three years. He also served on the Academic Council for two years. Shant recently received NAIT’s Silver Student Leadership Award of Distinction for volunteering nearly 300 hours mentoring students last year. At the age of 28, Shant was elected to the Board of Directors of the Junior Chamber International, Edmonton chapter as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. He says, at JCI “I feel like part of the community.” He successfully brokered a two-year sponsorship with the Freewill Shakespeare Festival in which JCI will match funds. In one night, $2000 was raised for Freewill; “They saw a 1000-percent increase.” Shant hopes to raise over $3000 in the coming year. He helped provide Christmas hampers to more than 500 families. He cooked dinners for families at Ronald McDonald House. “It’s fun to be able once month to cook dinners for these families. They actually get to come home to cooked meal.” Shant, a regular blood donor, also has been involved in Fashion Week, Rotary fundraisers, the Northern Alberta Animal Shelter, The Singing Christmas Tree, and many other organizations.

SHANT CHAKMAKIAN Serial graduate... IT specialist

In addition, Shant was invited to present at Vitalize 2013 Conference, the province’s largest non-profit conference, hosted by Alberta Culture. He spoke about ways to stretch budget, save time and leverage technology. He is especially committed to helping not-for-profits maximize their IT productivity. Shant is always looking to improve and to challenge himself. As good as he is at what he does, he will never stop trying to do better— to do more—to serve his community and his clients. √ ~ Rena J Traxel

Technosavvy 18





helsea Bird hails from Saskatoon. She is a beauty pageant contestant… an afternoon drive radio co-host… a dedicated volunteer… a vegan. She studied drama at the University of Saskatchewan, withdrawing after two years to do a bit of travelling and soul searching. She spent a month in Thailand, helping out at a local school. Chelsea came to Edmonton to take the two-year Radio and Television Broadcasting diploma at NAIT. While there, she was elected to the student senate, and volunteered as a frosh leader. She also worked as a western Canada manager for a Montrealbased marketing company. Being on the beauty pageant circuit wasn’t anywhere on Chelsea’s to-do list. But, when she was scouted by an agent, she decided to see what it was about. She went to Calgary for orientation and was blown away by the girls she met. “They were intelligent... career driven girls. Not at all what I thought they would be like.” She spent about nine months in training. In 2012, Chelsea competed in Miss Universe Canada. She placed in the top 12 and won the Best Body Award. She was chosen to represent Canada in the international competition in Columbia. Immediately after graduating with honours, Chelsea was offered the midnight to 6 am show on CISN Country. Not a “night person”, she took the job believing it would open doors to other opportunities. It did: Within six months, she was co-hosting the afternoon drive show. For Chelsea, one of the great things about participating in pageants and working for CISN Country is that both create opportunities for volunteer involvement. She helped organize a fundraiser for SOS Children’s Villages 2012. As a group, the Miss Universe contestants raised over $40 000. She personally sponsors a village each month. Through CISN, Chelsea participated in a two-day radiothon which raised $1.25 million for the Stollery Children’s Hospital. She admits, “I never cried so much in my life… to be part of that was pretty amazing.” In February, she got to shave Oiler Nail Yakupov’s head during Hair Massacure in support of children with life-threatening diseases. She had a presence at other CISN campaigns including Tim Horton’s Camp Day, McHappy Day, Drive for Life in support of MADD Canada, and the GoAuto Bowl for Children.

CHELSEA BIRD On-air host... volunteer

On a personal level, Chelsea has been a canvasser and walker for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada for the past six years— close to her heart in support of her mom. This month, she’ll meet the little sister she will be mentoring through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She has begun training for a half-marathon, set for January in California to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Despite her hectic schedule, she has found time to do five commercials for Mayfield Toyota. She hosted the first annual gala for Dreamcatcher Nature Assisted Therapy for injured or abused animals and children. In June, she volunteered as a celebrity golfer at the annual Bryan Mudryk Golf Classic to raise funds for Cross Cancer Institute. During her pageant training, she looked into more healthy living, and made the switch from being a vegetarian to a vegan. Chelsea hopes to launch a YouTube channel dedicated to nutrition and vegan lifestyle, and maybe to get into health reporting. To further her education and fuel her passion for healthy lifestyle choices, she recently enrolled in the 18-month Canadian School of Natural Nutrition program. In July, Chelsea won the Miss Earth Alberta title—a 25th birthday present?—and was first runner-up at the Miss Earth Canada pageant in August. She has set her sights on placing in the top five at the Miss Universe contest in 2014. It’s clearly an understatement when Chelsea concludes, “I like to be busy.” √ ~ Rena J Traxel EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

Photo by Bruce Clarke



n 2033, when Edmontonians releases its annual 20 under Thirty, I guarantee a past student of Crystal Jones will be on the list.” That’s high praise and confidence from Crystal’s nominator who expressed concern that “teachers are not often recognized for the work they do in the classroom.” And, that’s exactly where Crystal has been making her mark. For the past five years, she has been Pre-K teacher at Mother Teresa School in the inner city, helping to bring the Reggio philosophy into the classroom. She loves to set kids up for success. “I’m helping to shape 21st Century learning.” Crystal received her Degree in Early Education in 2007 from University of Alberta. She was immediately put on the sub list. She subbed once before being offered a placement. As a teacher, she got the opportunity to take part in 100 Voices Pilot Project which brought the Reggio philosophy to the classroom. This approach, created by Reggio Emilia in Italy, focuses on the educational importance of community and free inquiry. Students are encouraged to explore, touch, smell and ask a ton of questions. The youngsters don’t follow a curriculum or have a set schedule. Classrooms are transformed into these magical learning spaces where the children feel safe and comfortable, and love to learn when they are in school. Crystal was asked to teach the Reggio philosophy to principals, administrators and teachers across the city… her classroom became the go-to place for other teachers in the Edmonton Catholic School Division to witness and incorporate the methodology. This past year, Crystal has been on maternity leave. She has just returned to work for the current school term—but not to her classroom. She has been appointed an Early Learning Consultant, specifically to spread the word and share her expertise with Pre-K to Grade Two educators at 10 schools throughout the city. Crystal is interested in continuing her research. Evidence indicates the program has had a significant effect on reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and responsiveness. She is anxious to work with teachers to create strategies and best learning targets. “I’m not going to tell teachers what to do. I want it to be a collaborative process.”

CRYSTAL JONES Photo by Bruce Clarke

Learning specialist...innovator

While at Mother Teresa, Crystal took it upon herself to plan family dinners that brought together parents and students, and gave them the opportunity to connect with the school and each other. She coached a school soccer team, and organizes a women’s soccer league that she plays on. While on maternity leave, she volunteered with the Roots of Empathy program where babies are brought into the classroom over the course of a year so students can watch babies grow into toddlers. The program helps children understand early development. Crystal admits, “I was the typical teacher’s pet.” She’s always been a “…a go, go person.” But, with the birth of her first son, the 29-year old has slowed down a bit and is enjoying being a new mom. It’s not surprising that she eventually wants to get her Masters. Crystal is a life-long learner who is committed to bringing enthusiasm and adventure to the classroom—for students and teachers. √ ~ Rena J Traxel







he cuddles Lola, her miniature Chihuahua. Rayanne Forbes gets frank about her life. Her story is both harrowing and heroic… she tells it as often as she can. In June 2010, she recalls, “I looked fine.” But Rayanne wasn’t fine. Her heart raced at more than 200 beats per minute and she was very weak. She was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an auto-immune disorder that randomly attacks organs. She got “very sick, very fast” and eventually had to quit her job. After 15 weeks, Employment Insurance no longer provides income assistance for medical-related claims. At the time, Rayanne was in the middle of three surgeries, and was facing an average of $4000 a year to pay for drugs to combat her disease. “I would have been homeless if hadn’t been for my family” who helped pay for medications and car insurance. “There were no resources for people like me.” Rayanne, determined to spread the word, started a blog which has had 23,000 reads from around the world. She also appeared on CTV News, Global Edmonton and Breakfast Television on City to talk about Graves Disease. So far, she has undergone five surgeries. One was to remove her thyroid to control her heart rate… the latest to fix her bulging eyes as result of her disease and prevent blindness… another to remove her gall bladder. As Rayanne chronicled her saga on her blog, she shared her struggle to find employment. “No one wanted to hire me knowing I had several surgeries ahead.” That prompted Deb Cautley, executive director of Youth Empowerment & Support Services, to come forward with an offer. “She didn’t have an exact position for me, but she said she would find something.” After assisting in the office, Rayanne was appointed Community Engagement Coordinator to liaise with groups and businesses that support YESS fundraising initiatives. She now speaks at functions and sets up information booths, admitting “I was afraid to go out in public but I pushed past that.” At 25, she gets to work with youth, baking with them or throwing a birthday party. “I’m kind of like the cool aunt.”

FIERCE! RAYANNE FORBES Foundation founder...advocate

Rayanne also writes two columns for the Edmonton Examiner weekly newspapers: Heart of the City with Rayanne Forbes and Community Matters. Her focus is on causes, charities and community events across the city. Among the organizations she has profiled are Edmonton Food Bank, Kids with Cancer Society, Edmonton Humane Society, Pitbulls for Life, YESS, Little Warriors, CaliCan, MADD Edmonton, and Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre. She volunteers at a number of these not-for-profits as well. She is particularly devoted to CaliCan from which she adopted her “rescue” dog, Lola, and the annual Santas Anonymous campaign, started by her late grandfather, Jerry. She also volunteers with fundraising for the construction of the Jerry Forbes Centre for Community Spirit which is slated to house Santas Anonymous and 20 other charities. Photo by Bruce Clarke The 2012 FIERCE Awards featured 38 amazing women who selected Rayanne for the first-ever Nominee’s Choice Award because she exemplifies the qualities that define people who make a difference: “Being fierce is about celebrating women, inspiring and being inspired; it’s about being strong, trusting, positive, humble and confident.” For the past several months, Rayanne has been preparing the paperwork to create a registered charity. As of this month, Graves Disease Foundation of Edmonton is eligible to start fundraising to help others with medical costs accrued after diagnosis. “I never set out to be the ‘Graves Disease Girl’”… but it is a mantle Rayanne accepts with pride and determination. √ ~ Rena J Traxel




Photo by Bruce Clarke

hen Yu Hao “Danny” Huang was 10 years old, he came to Canada from China with his parents. He quickly learned to speak English and developed an interest in science. In 2010, while Danny was still enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program at Harry Ainlay Senior High School, he was offered an “amazing opportunity” through the Alberta Innovates Heritage Youth Research Program. This six-week intensive summer program allowed him to do hands-on scientific research at the Pediatric Oncology Laboratory at the University of Alberta. His focus was on cancer because he had lost his grandfather to gastrointestinal cancer. Danny carried his summer research into the Sanofi Aventis Biotalent Challenge and Edmonton Regional Science Fair. Subsequently, he was chosen to represent Alberta in the Canada Wide Science Fair 2011 where he was awarded the Platinum Award, Gold Medal, and Best in Fair Award. During his last year of high school and first year of undergraduate studies in honours science-biochemistry at the UofA, he undertook the intensive task of co-authoring two peer-reviewed book chapters, published in Prostrate Cancer: From Bench to Bedside (2011) and Prostrate Cancer (2012). During the summer of 2011, Danny was mentoring a rural high school student and teaching her laboratory basics. He was taken aback when she mentioned the serious lack of opportunities for rural students to access scientific research and experiments. He decided to take action. He approached his mentor—who had been working with him since the Alberta Innovates summer program—about cofounding TeamUP Science, an organization devoted to exposing under-represented youth to scientific research. To accomplish this major undertaking, find laboratory space and get coordinators on board, Danny admits, “I bothered a lot of people. But it had to be done.” He single-handedly presented TeamUP Science initiatives to officials within the university, provincial government and community, and successfully attained their support and advocacy. Danny created an Interdisciplinary Science Competition (ISC) for high school students to experience university life while conducting experiments through a friendly competition. Last year, he led an executive team through an ISC pilot program that reached 40 students from Edmonton. Working in groups of two, students conducted experiments and used their results to answer a challenge put forth at the beginning of the competition. “We received a lot of positive feedback.” His hard work paid off. In May, StateFarm Youth Advisory Board awarded $25,000 to ISC to help rural students pay for housing and other necessities while being involved in research at the university. Under the TeamUp umbrella, Danny has founded the Youth Action and Science Network (YASN) to connect young scientists and innovators to national and international opportunities, and the Inner City Youth Science Program (ICYSP) to provide afterschool programing for Edmonton students. “I wanted to provide opportunities to others similar to what I had received.” Having achieved a 4.0 GPA, Danny was granted early acceptance into the medical program but, for the time being, has decided to continue his studies and research in the Faculty of Science.

YU HAO “DANNY” HUANG Student... researcher... mentor

He donates time Kids Help Phone, Canadian Blood Service, Edmonton Regional Science Fair, Health Wellness Movement, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and University of Alberta Hospital Friends. When life gets hectic, Danny says, “breaking dancing with friends helps to relieve stress.” It’s difficult to sum up the achievements and aspirations of this remarkable 19-year old. Perhaps, his mentor and nominator said it best: “The price he paid for such dedication [is in] time, commitment and responsibility, while the rewards are the successes that would not otherwise been made… the issues that would not otherwise been addressed… and the skills that would not otherwise been acquired.” Danny “has positively impacted our community and his peers through his courage to act on what he believes in.” √ ~ Rena J Traxel






ennifer Davidson believes in treating employees like family… engaging them in activities that contribute to corporate success. She is the Operations Manager— second in command—of Dynaline Industries founded by her father, Alf Otto. The company imports, exports and wholesales 10 product groups of industrial machinery, equipment and supplies to dealers all over Canada. Customers include industry giants like Acklands-Grainger and NAPA. Jennifer has increased efficiency and profit by accessing appropriate software programs and apprising staff of objectives. Monthly sales targets are posted on a chart, and employees are rewarded when those targets are exceeded. Case in point: May 2012 was dubbed “million-dollar month” when Dynaline

reached a record breaking $1.1 million in sales. Although Jennifer played a role in reaching that goal, she readily shared the credit and rewarded staff for their efforts with a party and a bonus. “They work harder when they can see they are affecting the bottom line. They feel like they are getting a piece” of the profit. She has designated the third Friday of every month as Fun Day at Dynaline: food is brought in and games are planned. In the past, they have done scavenger hunts, played soccer and floor hockey… whatever the employees think up. It is “is a great way to bring employees working in the front together with those working in the back in the warehouse.” It’s an opportunity for them to interact and get to know each other better. “Otherwise, they would never have [the] chance…” Jennifer recently implemented a wellness program that offers $750 annually to individual employees to spend on promoting healthy lifestyles, such as getting gym memberships. Being the owner’s daughter didn’t give Jennifer a free pass to the boardroom. She started in the warehouse stocking shelves and filling orders. While she was getting her education, she worked as the receptionist during the summers. Eventually she moved onto purchasing and product inspections. Even in her executive

position that she has held for the past six years, she isn’t afraid to do the heavy lifting… like the time she unloaded an entire crate by herself when they were short staffed. She says, “Working in the different areas helps me stay in tune with employees.” One of Jennifer’s goals is to break into the American market—not an impossible feat— considering steady growth and expansion. Since she has worked for Dynaline, it has moved twice to increasingly more space. The company is ISO 9001 certified, and she is planning her first overseas trip to inspect factories to ensure those manufacturers meet similar standards of operation. Jennifer is an active volunteer. She supports family members and others affected by diabetes through her involvement with the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. She sits on the committee for the annual Jeans and Jersey fundraiser as well as the ADF Night to Remember gala. She also helps coordinate Mark Mercier Foundation fundraisers—like the Mercier Shaker event and the Mercier Shanker Golf Tournament—in support research and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. In 2008, Jennifer graduated with a degree in International Business and Supply Chain Management from Grant MacEwan University. She has been invited back twice to share her experiences and show students possible career paths. She has even recruited a few promising students. Jennifer is a huge fan of her husband Dan, lead singer of Tupelo Honey, owner of Hive Production and a 2012 Sizzler. She likes to play sports such as ice and ball hockey but has been relegated to watching from the sidelines, awaiting the birth of their first child. Life and career will only get better for this successful, family-oriented businesswoman. √ ~ Rena J Traxel


JENNIFER DAVIDSON Strategic planner... motivator

Builder Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk




ress’d The Sandwich Company is a local success story. The recipe for that success is rooted in the similarity of the background, interest and vision shared by the three principals. All are business grads… all were varsity basketball players— competitive in nature… all are dedicated to freshness. Back in 2006, Scott Gordon and Gavin Fedorak were members of the Golden Bears basketball team on a pre-season tour in Arizona. They happened upon Dilly’s Deli in Phoenix where they were blown away by the quality of food—fresh, delicious sandwiches. The following year, Scott and Gavin graduated from the University of Alberta School of Business, earning their Bachelor of Commerce degrees. Both landed good jobs in the finance sector and were working on their chartered accountant designations. In 2009, they began talking about starting their own business. They rejected the idea of a crossfit or yoga studio… jokingly mused about a sandwich shop. Why not? They put together a business plan, and researched

local quick service sandwich businesses. They knew they would have to offer quality sandwiches at a reasonable price… that the key was to use bread baked daily in-house, not frozen as some other shops tend to do. In November 2009, Gavin called his younger brother Grant and asked if he wanted to be part of the business. Despite not being offered a salary, Grant accepted. He had just graduated from the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration-Human Resources. He and his then girlfriend, now wife, packed up and moved to Edmonton from Vancouver. Grant and Scott headed south for hands-on training with the owners from Dilly’s Deli— the very company that originally inspired them to open a sandwich shop—who had been mentoring them for several months. “We reminded them of themselves when they first started in the business,” says Scott. The trio spent a year testing recipes in their home kitchens and scouting locations. They finally secured space in Edmonton City Centre West. “It wasn’t our first choice but it worked out in the end.” Too busy to do any marketing, “We put a poster on the construction board.” On their first day, in September 2010, the lineup was 40 people deep. “We became notorious in City Centre, with lines shooting out to the escalator,” explains Grant. Gavin, Scott and Grant worked 16-hour days. Often, they would clean until two in the morning only to go back to the shop at 5 am. They barely had time to eat they were so busy. “I remember we all had to buy new belts,” laughs Scott. Grant had some experience working as a prep cook, so he took on the responsibility for creating the menus. Aside from their training in Phoenix, the men had no real background in

SCOTT GORDON Brand development & marketing



the food industry. The 28-year old recalls, “It was steep learning curve. We hand-washed dishes until we realized they had these inventions called dishwashers.” They went on to automate other tasks, including getting a bread slicer, to save time. Word spread and people kept coming back. Grant believes that, unlike hamburgers that are heavy, you can eat a Press’d sandwich every day. “You don’t feel bogged down. There are many options to choose from.” Two months in, customers kept on asking if they did catering. Now, the service makes up 30 percent of sales—sandwiches are a popular choice for boardroom meetings. Nine months in, they were able to open a second store on Jasper Avenue at the Courtyard, between 112th and 113th Streets. Three years in, there are five stores in operation in Edmonton with three more under development or just opened—one at the UofA, one in West Edmonton Mall, and the first store outside Edmonton in Leduc. Unwavering dedication to freshness is what sets them apart. They make their bread from scratch on-site daily… with the exception of the gluten free bread from Kinnikinnick. They don’t use preservatives. Quality meats, premium cheeses and fresh vegetables are sourced whole and prepared in store. Every sandwich from the extensive and whimsical menu is made to order… soups and salads are made fresh daily. In response to customers’ preferences, Scott says, “All of our sandwiches are gluten free with the exception of one.” It has been a huge success. “The celiac community has been wonderful and supportive.” One of the best things about running a successful business is being able to give back. In 2011, they invited staff from Youth

Empowerment & Support Services to come by and talk about its programs, while Press’d offered dollar sandwiches with all the money going to YESS. They were out of food in four hours. During the past couple of years, they have donated to Win for Skin, a hockey tournament in support of Alberta Cancer Foundation. This year, they provided sandwiches to Latitude 53 and Panda’s Golf Tournament. Press’d is in the process of establishing an on-going sponsorship with KidSport Canada. With their strong athletic backgrounds, the men recognize the importance of sports in shaping young lives. KidSport “provides support to children in order to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sport.” In 2012, KidSport was able to help 1200 kids but, because of a lack of funding, had to scale the program back from $170 a kid to $120. “We need to help out if we can,” says 29-year old Scott. All three partners have worked the line making sandwiches and serving customers. But, as Press’d has grown, so have their administrative responsibilities. That isn’t about to change. They will continue to expand, particularly through franchising, and have set a goal of 50 stores across Alberta,

BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario by 2017. They are successfully competing with Subway, Quiznos and Mr. Sub by offering healthy food at affordable prices. When asked what they do for fun, Scott admits, “I sleep for fun.” Grant remembers, “The last time I got time off was three days for my honeymoon.” But they are happy to do it. “It’s easy to get caught up when everything is changing and exciting.” It’s clear the owners of Press’d are the perfect mix of ideas and ideals. √ ~ Rena J Traxel






Tr a





Systems & quality assurance




M Photo by Bruce Clarke

ary Solomon believes age should never be a hindrance. “Whether you are 70 or 12, you can do whatever you put your mind to.” She skipped two grades and entered university at the age of 16. She is now in her fourth year of Bachelor of Science studies at the University of Alberta. She dreams of being a paediatrician. She believes people should follow their passions. A couple of years ago, Mary went to Nigeria to visit the village she was born in. As she talked with the locals, she heard about their problems. She made the correlation between poverty and malaria. “Malaria is 100 percent preventable and curable.” It causes fever, headaches, coma and even death when an infected mosquito bites a human. Mary understood that when a child or a parent becomes ill that takes resources away from the family because the parent can’t work. In early 2011, Mary founded the End Malaria Initiative—EMI—in

hopes of providing people in malaria endemic countries bed nets and basic health care education. It has since partnered with two other Canadian organizations: Buy a Net Foundation and Rick Mercer’s Spread the Net. Together, they have provided more than 1000 bed nets to families in Uganda and Guinea. But Mary recognizes that “It’s not enough to just give them the nets. They need to know how to use them… Even teaching them basic stuff, like washing their hands. “I want to tackle more than just the disease.” Mary wants to concentrate her efforts on one village at a time before moving on to a new area. She hopes to eradicate malaria village by village. Last September, Mary involved fellow students and the community in Rick Mercer’s Spread the Net Student Challenge. EMI spearheaded a two-day Taste of Victory Festival, which brought together food vendors, music and entertainment in the UofA quad. Proceeds were used in the fight against Malaria. Since EMI’s inception, it has attracted more than 200 registered volunteers and been commended by the Student Union, and Mayor Stephen Mandel proclaimed September 27th of each year End Malaria Day in honour of the initiative. Mary is expanding her interest in science through research. She is involved in several exciting projects, including work in an organic chemistry lab to synthesize drugs to treat haemolytic uremic syndrome or bloody diarrhea. Her current project is with the Department of Surgery to determine methods of improving training in robotic surgery. When Mary isn’t studying or attending to EMI or watching TED Talks, she is an active volunteer at the Misericordia Hospital geriatrics unit… the Campus Food Bank… and the Stollery Children’s Hospital cardiac unit. Given her dream, it’s not surprising that Mary says, “I love hanging out with the kids.” Academically, she has served on the UofA Faculty of Science council for two years... was the director of student representation for the Interdisciplinary Science Student Society for a year… and has been an ambassador and mentor for the Faculty of Science since 2011. Mary is wise and compassionate beyond her 19 years. As a role model and mentor, her best advice is “Do what you love and doors open.” √ ~ Rena J Traxel

MARY SOLOMON Student... advocate

Exceptional… 26

in every way



Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk

love science and the outdoors. I always get do something different.” That said, Brody Wells owns and operates two diverse companies. Whether by chance or by design, both are geared to his lifestyle preferences. Brody attended Grant MacEwan University and the University of Alberta, earning a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences degree in 2009. Two years later, he started Wells Environment which conducts environmental assessments and inspections for resource companies. He travels the province with a quad and mobile office in tow. His objective is to mitigate or prevent damage during exploration and development activities. Brody checks on the presence of species of interest, such as western toads or eagles, and advises oil and gas companies on measures that might be required to protect their natural habitats. When Frank Zapata, a French jet-ski racing champion, released a YouTube video demonstrating his Flyboard®, it hit 2.5 million views in the span of two weeks. According to Zapata Racing, the Flyboard® is “a jetpack attached to a jet-ski by a long chord that allows propulsion both underwater and in the air for one or two pilots at a time.” Think Iron Man with nozzles blasting water downward to propel the rider out of the water. The rider tilts his feet to control movement and direction. Brody was fascinated and knew he had to try it for himself. Last year, he travelled to Florida for lessons and to qualify as a Flyboard® instructor. Brody can operate the Flyboard® alone or with a partner on a Sea-Doo. He can fly 30 feet in the air like a superhero… he can dive in and out of the water like a dolphin. He wanted to share the experience and grow the extreme sport. In April 2012, Brody started Alberta Flyboard/NBD Watersports, becoming one of the first dealers of the Flyboard® in Canada. Given the newness of the equipment and the sport, Brody had a hard time getting insurance in the first year but, despite the challenge, he pushed forward. The company sells and rents Flyboard® packages, and provides training and certification, individual and group lessons. Key personnel include his brother and fiancée. Last October, NBD Watersports represented Canada at the World Championship of Freestyle Flyboarding in Qatar. Brody placed in the top eight, a good showing considering “there were over 20 countries and over 50 competitors. It was great opportunity all around.” There are regular demonstrations at Sylvan, Chestermere and Jackfish Lakes. In addition to stationary teams at Sylvan and Jackfish Lakes, a mobile team travels the province to generate interest. Brody hopes to establish flyboarding at lakes across Alberta, so getting the word out is a priority… and website and YouTube postings are increasingly important. NDB Watersports attracted the attention of the Rick Mercer Report. Rick came to Sylvan Lake and took part in day of flyboarding while his camera crew recorded his antics for the show. Brody’s successes have enabled him to donate time and money to schools and organizations such as St. John Ambulance. NDB Watersports donated a silent auction item in support of Spruce Grove Rotary Club, raising more than $5000, and sponsored a hole in Beer Hunter Annual Golf Tournament in support of Stollery Children’s Hospital. Brody has discovered there is strength in diversity… and the 26-year old relishes doing what he does—in and out of the water. √ ~ Rena J Traxel


Environmentalist... extreme sports enthusiast

Making waves EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

in watersports!


Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk


esse van der Werf graduated with honours from high school a year early, and had been accepted into chiropractic school. But, while working for Wajax Industries in Camrose, he discovered a new career path. He switched gears and went to NAIT to get his heavy duty mechanic’s license, following in his dad John’s footsteps. He completed his first- and second-year apprenticeship training with Wajax. As a journeyman, Jesse joined Dutchmen Equipment, founded by John in 2001. The Camrose company started with a single truck and experienced consistent growth. With the expansion, Jesse became a full partner in 2003. Dutchmen now runs a fleet of service trucks and qualified personnel catering to the pipeline, oilfield, construction, forestry, water and sewer, mining and agriculture industries. Since its inception, the corporate “philosophy has been to have all management experienced in the business, and to this day all sales personnel, rental coordinators, service managers, and managers are licensed heavy equipment technicians who know all aspects of the business.” It has served the family business well. By 2009, Dutchmen was booming—to the point where Jesse was able to start a sister company, Heavy Metal Equipment and Rentals. Combined, the companies generate more than $50 million in sales. They operate in Camrose, Sherwood Park and Fort McMurray, employing approximately 40 people, most of them journeymen heavy duty mechanics, fabricators and welders. Through Heavy Metal, Jesse offers more than 150 pieces of machinery for sale and rent, including a EX5500 mining shovel—the second largest in the world and one of 20 in North American. His success is a combination of “strong relationships with clients” and providing top-notch service. Every piece of equipment sold or rented is inspected by a licensed heavy duty mechanic. Jesse has no plans to slow down. In fact, the 29-year old is looking for opportunities to build relationships locally, across North America and aboard, concentrating his efforts on mining operations. Jesse donates to the Stollery Children’s Hospital and Friends of Mikisiw. He supports the Fort McMurray community, and is a platinum sponsor of the Fort McKay golf tournament to benefit secondary education for under privileged families. When he was looking for a foundation to support, he learned about the Excel Society, a non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for people with mental, physical and development disabilities. Jess felt he had to get involved. He joined the board of directors to help with business development.

JESSE van der WERF Service-oriented... community-minded

Jesse also loves to farm, growing cash crops such as wheat. In his rare spare moments, he likes “to play hockey and golf,” and takes great pleasure in drag racing his 1969 Nova at Castrol Raceway. It seems this savvy entrepreneur has only just begun to grow his businesses. √ ~ Rena J Traxel

Heavy duty Commitment




oréniké Olaosebikan came to Canada from Nigeria in January of 2004 during one of the harshest Canadian winters. She had hopes of completing her studies in medicine at the University of Alberta. Despite her 4.0 GPA, she wasn’t able to enroll in the program which was only open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. “Nikky” researched alternatives and settled on pharmacy, acknowledging “I would still be taking care of patients.” She earned her Bachelor of Science-Pharmacy degree in 2007. “It was a good fit… I contracted TB back in 2002. Every month I had to go get drugs. People were literally dying. I got better. I had support.” She was determined to help increase the standard of care in places like Africa. While still a student, Nikky founded Ribbon Rouge in 2006. The annual fundraiser showcases local artists and raises funds in support of those affected by HIV/AIDS. Her hard work has led to corporate sponsorships from Model Models International, Lexus of Edmonton and Nicole Campre. In the past seven years, the events have provided $11,000 in relief. This year she hopes to raise $20,000. Donations have gone to several places in Africa through The Stephen


dollars for women’s health through the Lois Hole Foundation. This year, her Shoppers Drug Mart team is supporting the Edmonton Dream Centre which assists victims of abuse. Nikky is an accomplished artist and designer with a bold and beautiful flair. In 2007, she started Arewa Canada, a unique line of clothing which debuted at Ribbon Rouge, along with her own paintings. Her vision for Arewa—which means beautiful, exquisite or alluring—is to fuse current styles with Yoruba flamboyance. She has three people, including a fashion intern, on staff. Her stunning garments can be viewed and ordered on-line at www.arewa.ca. She was president of Kamit Afro Caribbean Student Society, a networking group at U of A. She also co-founded Unveiling Africa which promoted education opportunities for young girls in Africa while familiarizing Canadians with life and challenges on the continent. Nikky’s journey—from being a student struggling to make ends meet in a new country to running two diverse and successful businesses while giving back to those less fortunate—should serve as an inspiration for everyone to do more than they thought possible. √ ~ Rena J Traxel

Lewis Foundation and The United Nations AIDS program. Ribbon Rouge 2013 proceeds are earmarked for HIV Edmonton and UNAIDS. Her goal is to alleviate the burden of the disease. Nikky was able to purchase a Shoppers Drug Mart franchise in the Capilano area when she was 27, becoming an associate owner. She routinely mentors pharmacy interns, and teaches foreigntrained pharmacists at Bredin Institute, helping integrate them into the Canadian workforce. Now 29, she is a gracious employer and developer of local talent. Through her business, she has raised funds as part of the Tree of Life campaign... as well as several thousand


Photo by Bruce Clarke

Pharmacist... fashionista... artist

Prescription for



All in the family

A Photo by Bruce Clarke

leksa Mrdjenovich fell in love with the hotel business in 2006. She felt so strongly about it that she made a career switch from hospitals to hospitality. She had the revelation when she took a year off after earning her Bachelor of Medical Sciences with honours in Physiology from the University of Western Ontario. She went on to get her Master Certificate in Essentials of Hospitality Management from Cornell University in 2008… then her Executive Masters of Business Administration from Queens University in 2012. This

year, she enrolled in the Richard Ivey School of Business Quantum Shift Program. Today, Aleksa is the CEO of the Nova Hotels chain which operates 11 hotels. The majority are in Alberta: two each in Edmonton and Hinton, one each in Edson, Peace River and Fort McMurrary. There are two in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, and one in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Nova Hotels are well-appointed with modern amenities, and cater to the resource industry specific to the region they are located in. Each proudly displays a series of photographs archiving the history of the surrounding area. The family-owned business was started by Aleksa’s father, Mike, who emigrated as a teenager from Croatia in 1968, settling in the Northwest Territories. In the 1970s, he apprenticed as an electrician but saw greater potential in the construction and development business. He was a success, eventually moving his family to Edmonton. Mike subsequently set up the Mrdjenovich Family Trust, owned by his four children. His daughters—Aleksa, Milica and Jelena, a professional boxer—essentially operate the hotels. All three have been involved since they were teens and during summers while in university. They did whatever necessary—from cleaning rooms to working the front desk. For the past six years, Aleksa has been immersed in every aspect of the multi-million dollar business. “I love the financial side,” she says, explaining, “I’m analytical.”

ALEKSA MRDJENOVICH Hotelier... chief executive

Between 2007 and 2008, Nova Hotels expanded rapidly, opening eight hotels in 15 months. The chain now boasts more than a thousand rooms and suites, and employs hundreds of people. She wants to continue to expand in Western Canada. “We have a niche here.” Aleksa admits that the toughest challenge has been earning respect at work—not an unusual scenario in family businesses. Wisely, she has built a strong team to help her with day-to-day operations. Having people around her that are competent and committed allows her to achieve balance between her corporate responsibilities and personal life. Through work, Aleksa manages corporate sponsorships, including support for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Benevolent Cowboy Foundation, Bryan’s Angels, and Edmonton Food Bank. She looks for ways to increase the involvement of Nova Hotels in their communities. Aleksa runs for causes. She raised $2200 in three days for leukemia research in Alberta. Despite spraining her ankle she completed the 10k run, motivated because, “Someone close to me had Leukemia.” She has taken part in the Vancouver Sun Run in promotion of “health, fitness, community spirit and to support amateur athletics.” She participated in the Tough Mudder in Toronto which is a 10- to 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces. Funds raised went toward the Wounded Warrior Project. “Before signing up, I couldn’t even do a pushup.” She has volunteered for the Relay for Life and Run for the Cure. Aleksa likes to stay active playing football, flagball, kickball and volleyball. It’s obvious she isn’t afraid of challenges. Aleksa is an incredibly accomplished 28-year old who is preserving and enhancing her father’s family business legacy. √ ~ Rena J Traxel




Photo by Bruce Clarke

lim Somji never shies away from a challenge. Alim had earned his first degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and was enrolled in Business Administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. During his summer break in 2007, he worked at the Jaffer Group of Companies. His father, Nizar, had started the company two years earlier. When Alim finished his BA with distinction in 2008, he returned to Jaffer full time. As luck would have it, the economy had taken a downturn. He spent his time helping to finish projects. “It was hard year, but also good to meet that challenge at the beginning of my career. It made me more cautious.” In his role as general manager, Alim manages banking relationships, executes strategic management decisions, identifies potential acquisitions and new business ventures, coordinates all preconstruction subdivision planning tasks, assists with strategic management of hotel assets, and oversees the real estate arm of Jaffer. He is passionate about deal making and thrives on the excitement of building a team capable of achieving high levels of performance. Alim’s commitment to sustainable architectural design and development of safe urban neighbourhoods is evident in the work he’s done. In the summer of 2011, he spearheaded the renovation of the Jaffer Building on the southeast corner of Jasper Avenue at 104th Street. Alim rejected the “tear-it-down mentality… that would be a waste of material.” What the 1967 building needed was a dramatic modernization within the structure already there. He also favoured a street level, 24-hour convenience store. “I argued that more traffic makes people safe. 104th Street never used to be safe five or 10 years ago—now it’s full every night.” The 26-year old has been busy looking for new ventures, making

contacts and building relationships with banks and trades. All that hard work has paid off. Jaffer’s multi-faceted portfolio has doubled over the past four years. For example, the company’s management service for hotel investors and owners has grown from 253 hotel rooms in 2009 to over 800 by June 2013. Other projects are completed or under construction. Barth & Gosset Manor on Main Street in Stony Plain is indicative of Alim’s passion for urban renewal. The condominium building provides modern conveniences while maintaining the street’s historical character and adds density to the core. He’s excited about the Willows End residential development, also in Stony Plain. “It’s my project. It’s about half sold.” One of the latest projects is Copper Creek, an estatestyle acreage sub-division south of Beaumont. Alim got involved with the Elves Special Needs Society after Jaffer’s property manager, Jan Musani, spoke ardently about it. “I just had to see it.” He went on a tour of the school and met some of the students. Now, he is in his second year on the board, and is a member of the fundraising, and location and planning committees. As vice chair of the Edmonton Entrepreneurship, Economic Planning Board, Alim spearheaded a pilot project for a one-year citation in entrepreneurship at the University of Alberta. The pilot group graduated in June. He also is the regional chair of Imara, helping to build and maintain prayer facilities in Edmonton.

ALIM NIZAR SOMJI Developer... visionary

Alim’s goals for growth and outside-the-box thinking have been and will continue to be instrumental in Jaffer’s growth. “I have a lot of responsibility. But I also have a lot of rope.” √ ~ Rena J Traxel






ulie Rossington believes the word “can’t” should be banned from our brains. It’s a lesson she learned while earning her Bachelor of Commerce-Marketing degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She kept telling herself she wasn’t good at math because, somewhere along the way, that idea had been engrained in her head. Julie rose above her doubts. With her new “I can do anything” attitude, Julie joined CDI College four years ago as Student Services Coordinator. She was promoted to Financial Planner, then Financial Administrator before being assigned to Regional Finance Alberta for the Eminata Group—all positions that centred on numbers and accounting. In May 2012, Julie was named Campus Director of Reeves College. Both institutions are part of Eminata. In this role, she is responsible for 25 faculty members and support staff, and oversees a student population of more than150 training for careers in business, healthcare, legal fields, and computer art and design. In April, the college relocated to the former EPCOR building on Jasper Avenue. Julie is committed to growing students’ confidence and skills. She helps them set goals and apply for their dream jobs. She likes to find out what drives people. “From day one, I work to change the ‘can’t mentality’ in students and staff.” The 26-year old strongly believes in three core concepts: change, growth and happiness. It doesn’t have to be a big change to make a difference… small tweaks go a long way. “We should be scared of stagnation… we need to take out the fear factor. Once you accomplish that, you can achieve anything.”

JULIE ROSSINGTON Administrator... confidence-builder

Julie is focused on outcomes. When the acupuncture program needed more clients for students to practice on, she issued a mailer to core communities, offering free acupuncture sessions. Bookings increased and students got necessary work experience while helping those in need. “I will do whatever it takes to achieve company goals. But I also work for the people.” Julie can get creative when she is trying to motivate participation. Last year, to increase donations to the Food Bank, she developed a plan. A ticket for a chance to win a gift certificate to Future Shop was given for each item and points were awarded. The staff donated 1300 pounds of food. Next, they got points for donating toys to Santa Anonymous. All these points were used to purchase supplies for a gingerbread house building competition. Doctors, lawyers, teachers and others worked together in groups, and points were awarded for the best houses, and also if group members could answer questions about their team mates. “Some of these people had never talked before. The competition exceeded expectations… increased respect as they got to know one another.” Those with the most points won prizes. Julie teaches a free yoga class to staff and students at Reeves College and runs with colleagues, leading them from downtown to the Legislature grounds. She is involved with Habitat for Humanity. Last summer, she was on a team of volunteers who helped lay sod for several families at their new homes in Anderson Gardens. “We were able to give them something they had never had before.” Julie loves her job and it shows in her positive attitude toward students, staff and community… and life itself. √ ~ Rena J Traxel




Photo by Bruce Clarke




about pastry

hen Jacob Pelletier’s high school counsellor asked him what he liked to do, he replied, “I like to bake with my family.” The counsellor set him up in the Registered Apprentice Program at The Westin where he received 250 work-experience hours. Jacob was hired after he graduated and continued to learn from a pastry chef who took him under his wing. He was part in a three-person group that won a competition to create a cake for Queen Elizabeth II during her visit for Alberta’s centennial in 2005. Jacob remembers, “It was neat. The Queen’s security spent the entire time in the kitchen, double-checking everything, even measurements.” That year, he enrolled in NAIT’s two-year Culinary Arts program. Following graduation, Jacob stayed on as an instructor and, in 2008, represented NAIT at the Culinary Olympics in Erurt, Germany. He won a bronze medal for patisserie in the petit four plated dessert competition. Two years later, in Singapore at the Food and Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge, he won silver in the individual plated entrees. While teaching at NAIT, he met Giselle Courteau, an ambitious student who planned to open a bakeshop. Jacob worked in London for a year, returning in October 2009, the week the Duchess Bakeshop was opening on 124th Street. Curious, he checked it out. Giselle and her partner Garner Biggs hired him on the spot. Jacob says, “We started with four tables. For the first year, we spent 12 hours a day in the shop.” There were line-ups out the door. “We couldn’t make the food fast enough.” In November 2011, when the gallery beside Duchess went up for sale, they agreed it was time to expand. It also was time for Jacob to either start his own shop or become a partner. “I was already all in.” Renovations took about a year; the trio did most of the work themselves. The original space was turned into a retail store selling provisions and cookbooks. The new area became the kitchen and café. Over time, the number of employees rose from four to 20 and to 40. “We have a low turn-over rate. We try to keep staff to eight hours a day with two days off in row… and provide better pay.” The 25-year old maintains ties to NAIT as a member of the Program

Advisory Committee. He accepts about four practicum students a year to “do the grunt work”. He tries to give them variety of tasks, drawing on what he would have wanted when he was “in their shoes”. Duchess has been described as “arguably the best patisserie in the prairies”. Jacob attributes much of its success to “word of mouth and support from the community.” In turn, the shop hosts daycare tours, and donates food and time to several community initiatives such as the Westmount Community League and the Oliver Community pancake breakfast. Products are available at the weekly 124 Grand Market. Local ingredients are used when possible—tomatoes from Gull Valley Greenhouses, cheese from The Cheesiry, lettuce from Lactica grown in Westmount, and bread from Bonjour Bakery. Having been recognized by Western Living magazine as one of the Top 40 Foodies under 40, Jacob specializes in high quality French-inspired pastry. The brownies are there to lure customers into trying something a bit more daring, such as the tartiflette, next time. Jacob dreams of opening a small late night dessert bar, featuring hot and cold plates paired with wine. One can only imagine how mouth-watering that would be. √ ~ Rena J Traxel

JACOB PELLETIER Award winner... pasticier

Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk



The Works International Arts Festival. For fun, Kirsta likes to try different restaurants, and enjoys camping. Whenever the opportunity arises, she heads into the country. She visits farms, taking part in various activities like milking cows or helping with the harvest. “It’s goal of mine to visit the various vendors… making sure they are doing what they say they are doing.” Kirsta aspires to open Farm Camp Alberta which would offer day camps for kids to experience farm life. “Kids could learn first-hand from farmers.” Kirsta took a chance when she opened the Grand Market. The vendors took a chance by trusting her. “They are seeing the return… I’m going to make sure the vendors are doing well and the patrons are happy.” So far… so good—grand, actually. √ ~ Rena J Traxel


KIRSTA FRANKE Market operator... event coordinator

Photo by Tracy Kolenchuk


irsta Franke’s passion for food and sustainability began in childhood. “I grew up with a backyard garden. It felt natural.” Kirsta wanted to bring that home-grown experience to the urban centre where she currently resides. For starters, she founded the 124 Grand Market which brings together local food producers, in an atmosphere of live music, theater and interactive art, Thursday evenings from 4 to 8pm. “We opened May 24th of last year. We had 18 vendors. We have grown to 45 plus vendors this year,” The market now runs the entire block on 108th Avenue at 124th Street, from May 24th to October 3rd. She regularly updates followers on Twitter, promoting the sellers and performers who will be on-site. Moving forward, Krista wants to keep the market concentrated. “We stress quality over quantity. No repetition of vendors.” She explains that this helps to keep the market politics-free. Kirsta is also in the process of organizing a community garden… “hopefully in 2014.” In the meantime, she gardens with her mom outside of the city… and container gardens on her condo balcony in the city. Impressed with Kirsta’s remarkable work with the Grand Market, the 124th Street Business Association offered her a position as Marketing and Events Coordinator last August. It’s one of the most progressive revitalization zones in the city. She writes newsletters, manages social media, and acts as liaison between the Business Association and more than 420 members. She studied journalism at Grant MacEwan University, graduating in 2010. She did her internship with Vue Weekly, and was a contributor to Parlour Magazine for four years until it ceased publication. Kirsta was recently appointed to Edmonton’s new 15-member Food Council. At 25, “I’m the youngest on the board. I’ll be able to bring a youth perspective to the board.” The volunteer position is for a two-year term. She’ll be involved in developing and writing food policy, reviewing bylaws, and making recommendations to City Council about various initiatives, such as rooftop gardens. “Many of the current policies are outdated,” suggests Kirsta.

Last June, Kirsta helped organize the Oliver Community League Festival, sponsored by two neighbourhood churches. “I guess you could call me the project manager.” The event brought together many people and merchants from the 124th Street community, and doubled in size from last year. “It was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely be back next year.” Kirsta started as a volunteer with NEXTFEST in 2008 and now works as Marketing and Events Coordinator, helping more than 500 emerging artists secure venues. For example, “…Theater Network is part of the Grand Market.” In the past year, she acted as the Community Liaison for Slow Food Edmonton. From 2008 to 2012, she was involved in

How 34



here’s a lot to be said for living in and for the moment. David Adomako-Ansah knew all about that. He often shared his tribulations, triumphs and insights on his blog: “Find the positive in everything that comes your way. I’M NOT SAYING IT IS EASY. Not at all. But it’s doable.” David’s life wasn’t easy: He was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 17. Nonetheless, he pursued his dreams. Three weeks after receiving his diploma in Radio and Television Arts from NAIT and completing his internship at CTV in May, David passed away—just days short of his 24th birthday. The autoimmune disease ravaged his heart. When a pacer didn’t work, David was given a Berlin heart in 2007. The extracorporeal artificial heart pumped blood into his lungs and body for 22 months. In February 2009, he received a heart transplant. A couple of months later, he blogged, “Since the transplant, my outlook on life has changed even from when I was on the Berlin… I’m free to do all the things I used to and more. I’m free to be David again.”

Throughout his ordeal, he volunteered at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, visiting with sick kids and helping the nurses in any way he could. He gave numerous speeches about his sickness and the need for maintaining a positive attitude. At the YMCA, he read to children. David’s twin sister Sarah recalls a time they were out having dinner. A little girl at the next table wasn’t happy with her meal; she kept pointing to David’s chicken fingers. So he swapped them for her grilled cheese sandwich… and even paid for her meal. “He would do anything to make someone feel good.” Working at CTV gave him many moments of pride. Sarah says, “When we watched the news, his eyes would light up.” He would tell his family, “I suggested that idea”…or “You can’t see me but I’m holding a camera.” Sarah explained that the experience gave him different outlook on Edmonton. He was passionate about the news… thrilled to return to the Stollery—not as a patient—as a reporter accompanying CTV’s medical reporter. You can see him in action at http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BRyAq7lvip4 David used social media to interact with followers, blogging about his sickness and sharing his poetry on his Facebook page. According to Sarah, “He always accredited others for his successes… even the speeches he gave: ‘Oh well, Sarah helped me proofread it.’” On what he called “Freestyle Fridays”, David and his little sister Samantha would rap about pretty much anything… encouraging their mother to get into rap battles while the rest of the family looked on. Sarah suggests, “He had to be the cleanest rapper in Edmonton”—he didn’t believe in using bad language. In 2008, David founded Dunk on Disease—the name inspired by his love of basketball—to raise funds for the Stollery. After the first tournament, he helped cook a huge meal to thank everyone who took part. To date, DOD has donated $10,000. David formed a strong bond with former basketball pro Andrew G. Parker, founder of the Pride of the Northside four-on-four tournament. Andrew, a 2012 Sizzler, has renamed the MVP Award in David’s honour, and committed a portion of funds raised at the annual mid-August event to Dunk on Disease.


June 14, 1989 - June 10, 2013

In time, family and friends will hold a Dunk On Disease volleyball tournament to honour the memory of David. www.dunkondisease.webs.com In April, David posted, “The advice I give to the people I encounter nowadays is that before something like this ever happens to you or somebody you know, go out and give everything you do 100% effort. Don’t worry about what others say, just give everything [your] all, because you just never know. I think that in situations like mine, and with every successful journey, you need the support of the people close to you in order for you to start believing in yourself.” √


nd Dav

Sarah a





Coordinator Ann Turner, Marilyn Bianchini, Dawn Fraser, Graham Hicks and Barb Deters posed with John’s Edmontonians’ chef jacket and hat.

RIB COOK-OFF HONOURS CHEF JOHN Photos by Cheryl Lawrence


hat do Graham Hicks, Marilyn Bianchini,

Dawn Fraser and Barb Deters have in common? A couple of things: All are foodies… All were great friends of Chef John Berry who shared his passion for food and fund-raising. When they got the call from Ann Turner, coordinator of the Leduc #1 Discovery Centre’s Annual Rib Cook-off, that the event would be dedicated to John’s memory, they readily agreed to be judges. Chef John, the lead judge for eight years, passed away on June 10th. The judges’ tent housed a display of photos, articles and memorabilia honouring his memory. According to Cheryl Lawrence, executive director of the Discovery Centre, “We had about 1100 people through the gate and just under a thousand pounds [of ribs] were served.” In addition, other vendors offered beans, burgers, Caesar salad and drinks. When the ribs ran out, the waffle truck did a booming business. “This is an annual fundraiser for the Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre and the funds are used to ‘keep the lights on’. It is far easier to raise money for new exhibits and displays but it’s very tough to raise funds for utilities and wages, even to upgrade the displays can be a challenge.” The event is held on the second Sunday in August. The 10th anniversary is next year, and Cheryl hints, “It’s gonna be bigger and better yet… rumour is we might be adding a best baked beans contest.” As John would say, “Yum!” ~ Barb Deters

The People’s Choice Award went to the happy guys from Stream Flo Industries

The Best of Show trophy went to Leduc #1 93.1 FM radio station for the booth with the best theme and/or spirit— and this team was really spirited.

Congradulations Mayor Stephen Mandel! Thank you for your vision and dedication during your 12 years of service. 36


The volunteers from the local Desk & Derrick chapter chowed down between ticket sales.

The newly named John Berry Backyard RCO Award went to the Town of Devon represented by amateur grillers Councillors Sheila Aitkin, Dan Woodcock, Gordon Groat, Grant Geldart and Ray Ralph, and CEO Tony Kulbisky. Dean Kelly of Clearstream Energy was thrilled to accept the Kickin’ Ash Griller award in the corporate category.

What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday in Devon! Discovery Centre President Sheldon Weatherby with some of the crowd in the background.




with Elissa Scott


There’s no place like


and duties as part of the ust when I think I want to accommodations. become a “renunciate” and give up Collecting material my material possessions, I realize possessions is mostly a how attached I am to my belongings. comfort factor. We buy It’s hard to let go of stuff that carries appliances like a dishwasher memories, emotions and history. Sometimes it’s and washing machine to for the best to get rid of items with an emotional save us work, time and charge—like the matrimonial bed after a divorce. Items may feel spiritually contaminated, stress. We buy TVs to entertain ourselves and causing negative triggers. escape from the daily grind. People who embrace Sannyasa in Hindu We buy comfy sofas to recline culture denounce their lay life for spiritual T H E P Eon, R Sand Osurround N A L Iourselves T Y Owith F BUSINESS contemplation, after their educational and other luxuries to make us feel good. parenting duties have been fulfilled. They rely We create gourmet kitchens to feed on panhandling, and society gives preference ourselves and our families tasty food. to charity for the elders over the orphans. There comes a time when we all Some Buddhist practitioners retreat to caves to want is to click our ruby reds three meditate for days. With a food offering called times and say, “There’s no place like alms, monks and nuns don’t buy or store food; Attention: home”. After traveling and sleeping they leave the monastery on a Morning Prayer Fax: on long flights, eating unfamiliar food, and walk to collect rice in their begging bowls roaming from one hotel or hostel to the from laypeople. An Anagarika is a “homeless Date Purchased: next, there’s nothing like coming home. one”, living in a forest monastery with the rule In your own bed, there’s the familiar feel of not to touch money. Catholic priests and nuns also forsake many earthly desires to focus on the your pillows and blankets. Even the scent of home as you walk through the doorway can Divine. Some westerners seek solace at various be distinct from place to place. When one of ashrams around the world to find their spiritual my sons visited my friend’s home and sniffed clarity. Commune style living has chores the air, he declared, “A yogi lives here.” The aroma of incense was You’ve the tip. Smell can be a

very strong link to memory. Apple pie, fresh bread, cooking garlic, hotel soap, Pine Sol cleaner, and other scents summon many soothing memories of home. My other son said when he grows up I N T H E C A P I T A L R EheG ION wants to buy me a milliondollar home. As cute and el Knox generous h c a Date: R y b Photos as it was, To AppearI replied, in: “Just send me on a world-wide retirement cruise—all I want to do is travel and not be tied down.” With the best of both worlds, there’s the comfort of my own cozy little cabin, someone to serve up the cooking, and the luxury adventure of seeing the world. I’ll just be sure to fly out often to babysit any future grandkids. √




Dreamt New Home

Elissa Scott is an artist and home couture stylist. Contact her at 780.240.5358 or elissa@gruuvyroomz.com

about your

Let us show you how we make it a reality!

Tel: 780-451-4459

or visit us online at www.meridianbuilders.ca

11019 - 178 Ave., Edmonton, AB




with Nejolla Korris

You are not the boss of me We live in funny times. On one hand, we have an innate awareness of privacy and an expectation that no one— government or corporate—would do anything to breach it. Some become militant about anything Big Brother might be doing to interfere with our lives. Heaven forbid there is a closed circuit camera on the street or in a store that might catch you picking your nose or scratching some private part of your anatomy.


nd no one likes to be told

what to do these days either. Rules and regulations aren’t written for us to obey, they are written for everyone else. I was flying home from one of my training engagements and a woman with too much makeup for her age and enough perfume to disable an army sat next to me. I can tell you how to picture a rookie flyer right off the bat. Despite the fact that they tell you they fly all the time, they don’t—they lie. Too many bags, hands full of stuff, a cup of coffee, a crumpled up boarding pass. They forget to pick up their duty free… and take way too long to park themselves in the seat. Most of these people have no qualms about blocking everyone else’s access in the aisle… they take their own sweet time stowing their carry-ons and removing their coats. People who fly a lot can get themselves onboard quickly; they have a greater awareness of the people around them and the importance of everyone getting settled in so the flight can take off. This is not a whole life experience for us. We want to get into our seats and into the air. It was evident that she was no frequent flyer. Once we had reached cruising altitude, she pulled out her Blackberry and started furiously clicking at the keys. This was a flight with no Wi-Fi on board. After a few moments, an incessant number of pings started echoing next to me. I didn’t say anything for the longest time but, after a while, it got irritating. I asked her if she had her Blackberry on airplane mode or if she was trying to text or send e-mails. She looked at me over her bifocals like I had just asked her to take off all of her clothes, and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I told her unless we were on a Wi-Fi enabled EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

flight that we can’t use any of our devices in transmit mode. (Just as an aside, I would like everyone to note that I did use “we” rather than “you” specifically so that I wouldn’t sound accusatory.) Too many people these days get offended if someone points out we are doing something wrong because they feel we are out of bounds to do so. My flight mate (and I use the term “mate” very loosely) said, “The only time you have to shut it off is when you take off and land.” I told her that wasn’t the case and that airplane mode was something that had to be used so that her device wouldn’t transmit. She countered with, “My husband and I have never heard of that and we fly all the time.” What ever happened to our ability to take what someone says to us without offense? Everything is perceived to be an insult or unwelcome. Next time when I see that someone’s pants are on fire, I won’t say anything until they feel the burn. The flight attendant actually stopped by to talk with my flight mate. She very nicely explained what the regulations were and why they had to be adhered to. She was greeted with the same vapid deer-in-the-headlights look. After all was said and done, not much progress had been made. Mrs. 4D simply replied that she would talk to her husband about it. That was that. Federal regulations state that all electronic devices with transmit capabilities must remain in airplane mode during the duration of the flight. Too many people think the rules apply to everyone but themselves. They are either convinced they are not doing anything wrong or they feel a certain sense of privilege, so they don’t have to comply. Thing is, there is no one really to enforce these infractions, Sure,

aircraft personnel can ask that law enforcement meet and greet the unabiding passenger at the door. Most airlines don’t want to do this and use the muscle for when they really need it. When things aren’t enforced, what incentive is there to comply? Passengers who don’t comply should be written up by airline personnel. The airline can then put a note on the file that any passenger under this name can’t check in online but must see airport staff. When they arrive at the airport, the passenger can be informed that they have been flagged. That will capture some attention. No one wants to hear that they have been flagged in any circumstance. It has the same effect as being told you are racially profiled. They will be informed that, on a prior flight, it was noted that they did not comply with Federal regulations regarding their electronic devices. The regulation would then be explained to them and the “infractor” (my word) will have to agree to disable the device once in flight. Everyone has rights and they will demand that those rights be respected. Yet, that same person will never consider the rights of the person standing next to them. √ Nejolla Korris is an international expert in area of interviewing skills and linguistic lie detection. She is a keen observer and fan of the human condition. Dubbed the “Human Lie Detector” by some clients, she is a popular speaker on lie detection, fraud prevention and investigation, workplace fraud, and organizational justice. Nejolla recently launched a new speaker’s series on the differing communication styles between men and women. Contact: nkorris@working-it-out.com



5 POWERFUL TIPS with Lynn Fraser

you can learn from your body mechanic


ometimes—actually often—

I wonder what vehicle owners are thinking. My mother-in-law, Kay, drove a standard Nissan Micra for years until one day it just wouldn’t start. Her mechanic discovered that she hadn’t changed the oil for months. She thought she could just put gas in it and keep driving it without any maintenance. Fortunately for her, a fresh oil change and new spark plugs enabled her to drive her little car for a few more years. This story doesn’t always have a happy ending like hers. Often it means dropping in a new or rebuilt engine. Since you likely rely on your vehicle to get you to and from work every week, you probably maintain your vehicle without giving it a second thought. Right? Vehicle Maintenance 101.


Sometimes—actually often—I wonder what body owners are thinking. My neighbor, Jack, works 12-hour shifts, drives everywhere, spends evenings in front of the TV, loves his 12 oz. steaks and shuns vegetables, chain smokes, has a beer belly and, you guessed it, he drinks excessively. He’s almost 60 and he’s a health crisis waiting to happen! And dropping in a rebuilt heart or lungs isn’t as simple a fix as a fresh oil change and spark plugs for Kay’s car. So what’s with Jack? He’s like some of you: stressed out, exhausted, overweight, overworked and inactive, exacerbated by a few bad habits that he’s not willing to change unless he’s forced to. According to Statistics Canada, Jack’s not alone.


The 2007 - 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey: Adult Obesity Prevalence in Canada


and the US* found that 24.1 percent of Canadian adults, age 20 to79 are obese. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. The likelihood of being obese is related to how much and what you eat, how active you are, and other factors including stress, sleep, heredity, sex, age and medications. Men and women who eat fruit and vegetables less than three times a day are more likely to be obese than those who eat their veggies five or more times a day. 27 percent of sedentary men are obese, compared with 19.6 percent of active men.


Remember the Shell Answer Man? He put it simply. You can either pay your mechanic to do the preventative maintenance on your vehicle NOW or you can pay him HEAPS more later when the problems that arise are waaay beyond the simple fix stage. It’s the same with your body. “Pay Me Now” by doing Body Maintenance 101.


1. Veg Out & Fuel up. • Eat fruits and vegetables with many different natural colours as they are filled with antioxidants that improve your energy and help keep your brain young. Go for variety and colour: blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots, yams and winter squash. Enjoy vegetables steamed, baked or stir-fried instead of deep-fried. All forms—fresh, frozen, dried and canned—are great fuel. • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day. Be adventurous! Try quinoa, barley, brown and wild rice, oats and bulgur. Whole wheat pasta with a tomato based sauce provides good fibre and fuel to keep you going.

• Cook vegetarian meals with a variety of beans, lentils and tofu more often. • Choose two 75g servings of fish weekly. Char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout are top picks. Select lean meat, trimming the fat on meats and removing the skin on poultry. Roast, bake, stir-fry, BBQ or poach using very little oil and salt-free seasonings. • Take in low-glycemic carbohydrates that don’t raise your blood sugar, but that are also high in fibre which actually help stabilize your blood sugar. Ask a registered dietician for guidelines.

2. Check your fluid levels (and types). • Your brain is 80 percent water. It’s important to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. I appreciate it’s a challenge to change if you drink pop or coffee most of the time. Try alternating one pop with one glass of water. Gradually limit your pop (and/or alcohol) intake to special occasions. • Drink 500mL/2 cups of low fat milk every day for bone health and adequate vitamin D. Alternatively, drink fortified almond, soy or rice beverages. Shake them vigorously before drinking to dissolve the settled vitamins and minerals. • If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU or more. Consult your health professional. 3. Schedule regular oil changes. • Include a small amount—30 to 45mL/2 to 3 Tbsp—of unsaturated fat each day. This includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings and mayonnaise. I recommend adding Udo’s Oil or fish oil which are both high in Omega 3,6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Take turns purchasing these oils at your local health food store. • Choose canola, olive, flaxseed and soybean oils. EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013


• Limit butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening. Remember the

general rule of thumb: Fats that are liquid or softer at room temperature are a healthier choice than those that are solid at room temperature.

4. Refer to your Owner’s Manual. • Nutrition Facts tables on packaged food are like the owner’s manual for your car. Compare the Nutrition Facts tables on different products to choose foods that contain less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium. • Use the Nutrition Facts tables to choose foods that contain more nutrients: calcium, iron, fibre and vitamins. • Compare the serving sizes listed at the top of the table with how much you actually eat. For example, if the serving size is 1/6 pizza (111g) and you eat three slices, then you need to multiply the calories, and the listed nutrient and Daily Value percentages by three to get an accurate picture of what your actual intake is. Adjust the rest of your day’s choices accordingly. • Check for the Health Check logo on thousands of food products in grocery stores and restaurants. Based on Canada’s Food Guide, the Heart and Stroke Foundation developed the Health Check program to help Canadians eat well using the logo, explanatory message and nutrition information right on food packages. Products are evaluated by a team of medical, nutrition, and Heart and Stroke Foundation staff so you can feel confident that these products are a healthy choice for you and your family. 5. Drive it! • If you park your vehicle for extended periods of time and don’t use it, the parts corrode and the engine can seize up. It‘s the same situation with your body. Get active daily, 30 to 60 minutes per day. You don’t have to do it all at once. Slice it into 10 minute chunks. Take the stairs up from the parkade to the main floor. Get up from your chair at least every 90 minutes to walk around. It’s a great way to gain a fresh perspective on a challenge at work. Trade an hour of TV a few times a week for a tennis match, swim or cycle. Walk the dog; don’t just watch the dog walk! • MOVE! These are great ways to connect with friends and family, control your weight, increase your brain health, which boosts productivity, and fuel your fire so you don’t burn out.


One thing you know for sure, regular tune ups keep your vehicle in good shape and save you money and worry. Ditto for your body. So be realistic: Make small changes over time. Take one of the five tips and apply it in your life in the next seven days. Within a few weeks, you will likely notice that you feel better, have more energy and can focus better both at work and in your personal life. Remember: You are worth it! √ *Reference: Adult Obesity Prevalence in Canada & the United States statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2011001

Lynn Fraser, The Practical Life Balance Expert with Balance Your World Training & Coaching, facilitates productivity and renewal programs, and is a performance and relationship coach. Her mission: healthy focused people attaining sustainable results. Visit her website at www.lynnfraser.ca.

Local businesses partner up to advocate dancing as an adult


dmonton is now home to a new dance

facility that is filling a prominent and long-standing gap in the YEG dance community. Pique Dance Centre, located downtown north of Grant MacEwan University on 105th Avenue, is the first ever adult-only, multigenre dance facility to hit our city. The centre houses three dance studios and has launched programs in popular dance styles such as jazz, hip hop, ballet, tap and more. “Growing up as a dancer and having left the city to pursue a professional career, I came back to Edmonton hoping to continue my dance education as an adult,” says owner Jeanelle Leclair. “After I found that there was no central hub for adult dance and dance fitness, I became determined to create a facility that would present the opportunity to Edmonton adults to either take-up or continue dancing in a comfortable atmosphere” Leclair has resided in Edmonton for the past five years. Through copious amounts of networking and searching for connections within Edmonton’s dance community, she eventually found her way to Love Your Movement Corporation, a company with a vision in line with her own. Owner Asha Marshall explains, “I am a dancer who loves to express myself through fashion. Originally searching for stylish dancewear for my students, I decided to create a brand whose message would move people to live what they love and love how we live.” Love Your Movement was founded in 2010 and has been devoted to bringing movement driven, socially conscious garments and accessories to the fashion scene. In addition, the company campaigns for different types of movement using classes and workshops, educational outreach, performance opportunities, and much more. “I feel that LYM has had a positive effect on the community so far. I love the fact that such a large array of people have expressed a connection to my apparel and a desire to spread my message in their own way,.” says Marshall. The pair has noticed that the number of dancers being produced in Edmonton seems to outweigh the amount of work that is available for those who are considering dance as a career. Marshall and Leclair’s partnership will mean more opportunities for adult YEG dancers, whether they are at a beginner, pre-professional or professional level. Through classes and workshops that give dancers the opportunity to hone their craft, they hope to provide the first step in creating a sustainable dance work force. Pique Dance Centre is located at 10604 105 Avenue and is now offering classes for adults at any skill level, including dance class series, and apparel provided by Love Your Movement Corporation. For more information on the partners and the classes they offer, visit www.piquedancecentre.ca or connect with them on Facebook.


CALL 780.239.6122 • www.piquedancecentre.ca • info@piquedancecentre.ca • 10604 105 Ave., Edmonton, AB EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013



Provincial Court:

A More Accessible Option for Justice


he reality of today’s legal

system is that the cost of litigation can quickly exceed the recovery sought. Given legal fees and the investment of their own time in the many procedural steps that can come with a law suit, I often advise my business owner clients to carefully consider whether these costs are justified by the desired outcome, and whether a “win” will really have accomplished anything. For example, before bringing a claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, you must consider the cost of preparing the Statement of Claim, filing costs, procedural requirements for exchange of documents, questioning and being questioned by the other party (or parties), the inevitable correspondence back and forth, and the possibility of a trial, in addition to a number of other possible steps that cannot be foreseen. The procedural requirements, combined with the uncertainty of litigation, may suggest that, unless the claim is substantial, it may not be advisable to proceed. Sadly, this creates a window of harm that can be done to you or your business that is not “worth” doing anything about, unless you are prepared to proceed on “principal” alone. Fortunately, there is an option available that greatly reduces the procedural complexity and time to reach a resolution. Alberta’s Provincial Court, or “small claims court” as it is sometimes called, offers prospective claimants a simplified process to bring and prosecute a claim up to $25,000. In short, the process is commenced by the filing of a “Civil Claim” document. This outlines the parties involved, the specifics of your claim, and the damages sought. Once served on the defendant(s), each party will be given 20 days to file their defence, called a “Dispute Note”, and possibly a counterclaim. Each of these documents is relatively simple to complete and readily available at the Edmonton Courthouse.


Provided the defendant has filed its Dispute Note, you will most likely be contacted by the court clerk to schedule a pre-trial conference. A pre-trial conference is a meeting between the parties (and their lawyers, if applicable) and a judge and is designed to bring the parties together, explore the issues at play, and ideally encourage settlement. In my experience, the judge will typically permit each party to present in brief their side of the story, and then engage in a discussion to bring the parties together. This is often accomplished by asking questions of each side to help them see the perspective of the other party, identify the strengths and weaknesses in their own arguments, and understand the requirements to proceed if a settlement is not met. If no agreement can be reached, the parties may be left with an order directing the exchange of further information and/or setting out a path toward trial. The judge who conducts your pre-trial cannot preside over the trial, so speak openly and do not be afraid to consider a compromise. Your efforts will not bias the judge at trial as it will not be him/her who makes a final decision. The entire process from filing of the Civil Claim to pre-trial to trial generally moves much more quickly than a Court of Queen’s Bench claim, is less costly, and far less complex in terms of procedural steps. The trade-off is that the value that may be recovered is capped at $25,000, the exchange of information is less thorough and you may be surprised with what comes out in the process. If you elect to go this route, I can give a few tips from experience. First, the procedure may be simpler, but the legal issues are the same no matter what court level you are in. It is wise to consult a lawyer before you select your venue to ensure you have adequately considered all aspects of the matter, the issues at

with Ben Block

play, all possible damages, any counterclaim exposure and are generally looking to the correct court. You may even consider retaining a lawyer on a limited basis to assist with the preparation of documents, arguments and research as needed. You can still represent yourself in the proceeding but having this background assistance is a way to improve your preparedness at a reduced cost. Second, once you are underway, remember that it is your burden to prove your claim. Gather whatever evidence you can to support the accuracy of your facts and damages and do not assume anything is “obvious”. Remember, the judge (at pre-trial and trial) is new to your matter and the more clearly you present your case and the more it is supported by evidence the better. On several occasions, I have encountered the other party flatly denying something that seems clear from my client’s perspective and wasn’t expected to be at issue. Be prepared for the defendant to deny conversations, agreements and even their own actions, and expect to have to prove everything. There is no harm in being too prepared. Being able to refute or discredit the other party’s claims is critical. Suing or being sued is a significant but all too common occurrence in business and life. Being aware of less costly and more efficient options can be advantageous. But, remember, it is always best to seek out legal advice before you proceed and, once you do, do not to scrimp on preparation. Good luck! √ Ben Block is an associate with Hillenbrand Kozicki LLP, and focuses his practice on civil litigation, real estate and business law. Ben was an Edmontonians Sizzler in 2007. Call 780.809.2389 or email bblock@hklaw.ca.



Barbara Ashley Phillips


Those Millennials

on his own generation, and the author of Promote essential in our rapidly changing world. They ne of the things I’m Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success”… learn fast. In the advanced communication and coming to really appreciate quoted by:Jennifer Wieczner of Dow Jones in 10 leadership development courses I teach, they are is the people of Gen Y, often things Generation Y won’t tell you: for the babies curious, attentive and willing to try new ways. referred to as “millennials”— of the baby boomers, it’s top 1% or bust in Market This makes them coachable… unlike those that those roughly between ages Watch. are wilfully stuck in their perceptions, judgments 18 and 34. There are some 82 million of them I don’t buy much of the criticism. Sixty-three and patterned ways, and are not coachable. in the U.S. alone, meaning they will shortly percent have college degrees… 42 percent of 18 If someone gets phony or self-important, swamp the workforce. So many I’ve met have a millennials see right through them. While they are to 24 year olds enroll in college compared with freshness of viewpoint and a keen awareness of 26 percent in 1980. Maybe in the world we are capable of judging that, they often are willing to what authentic human interaction is compared entering, it is better to have a trade than a degree re-examine their conclusions, realizing perhaps to the politically correct, conditioned kinds of anyway. Millennials aren’t as likely to buy cars. that their quick assessment wasn’t really the interactions commonly seen. I’ve found them They take more public transportation. They are whole of what they saw. more open to having their ideas challenged, not copying their boomer-parents’ lifestyle. Yes, They aren’t much interested in how things more willing to learn, less tenacious in holding to more than a few are willing to live at a parent’s they - 56 outworn patterns and beliefs. Many actually listen came to be, unless the situation is one that 12851 Street, home rather than setting up house elsewhere, but have developed passion around. Rather, like a and then take in and consider what’s been said, Edmonton, TH E P E golfer R S Oaddressing N A L I aTgolf Y ball, O Fthey Bplay U SitIwhere N E SAB S T5A Ithis Nmay T0C9 H C Aindifference P I T A L toRtraditional EGION justEreflect which is something you can’t do when you’re all ways of declaring independence. it lies. Tel: (780) 701-3715 bound up in your own righteousness and views Personally, I find millennials refreshing. And Yes, millennials have their problems: about things. Fax: (780) 454-3222 I wholeheartedly support their often remarkable psychologist Jean Twenge how O FTheBmilliennials U S I N EI Sknow S often I N challenge THE C A P I T AALstudy, R Eled Gby IO N efforts to make the world a better place. Like it or of San Diego State University, reported that, things are. How desperately we need to have not, millennials are expected to be 40 percent of “according to psychologists who measure “how things are” challenged—and challenged the workforce in less than eight years. such things, there are high rates of narcissism, intelligently and persistently—by folksAttention: open to Date: If you want to see how “millennial” you materialism, unrealistically inflated expectations being wrong about some things. Often, they step Appear are, The Pew ResearchTo Trust has a littlein: test for and a startling lack of independence. American forward and take on unpopular causesFax: that raise you. Go to www.pewresearch.org/quiz/howcollege students scored 30 percent higher on the public awareness, even though their goals at the Date Purchased: millennial-are-you/ √ 40-item Narcissistic Personality Index in 2006 time may be completely non-achieved. Quite a Date: than they did in 1979, for instance…” few I know understand seeding—dropping in To Appear in: they are said “to overrate their Barbara Ashley Phillips is Edmonton’s Coach Furthermore, ideas without needing to own them, revealing that On-Call. She facilitates trainings for groups and abilities, leading to unrealistic expectations they are coming from a larger context than “me”. organizations on how to deal with difficult people, around career and pay levels. Still, some I’ve noticed in many how they even provide and hosts Executive Café Coaching Circles held millennial defenders argue that the generation support when others take their ideas and move around Edmonton. Sign up for by contacting her is misunderstood, and that what comes off them forward, since accomplishing the goal is at barbara@co-creating.ca or 780.465.1721. as aspirational and narcissistic is really just a more important than getting the credit. For a free newsletter and Leadership Tips go to reflection of millennials’ desire to make a big They find it relatively more comfortable in www.co-creating.ca. impact on and improve the world. ‘There are being shown to be wrong, meaning they aren’t always going to be some always manipulating situations in order to make themselves right while making others wrong. Yes, who are lazy and entitled, but there are people who they can be dismissive and even contemptuous of give back to society,’ people they perceive are uninterested in growing says Dan Schawbel, a and changing. millennial who founded Millenials seem much more comfortable a research firm focused with uncertainty than the older majority. This is




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The 3x3 Hiring Method: with Mark Wardell


your guarantee to hiring the best candidate

here’s no question,

3. Involve at least three different people in the interview process. Choose at least three people on your team whose judge of character has proven to be solid and bring them on board to assist you in conducting interviews. Different people bring the perspective you need to this process. I recommend conducting both private and group interviews. But remember, you should never set up interviews in an intimidating way as you don’t want to pressure candidates to misrepresent themselves. In most situations, group interviews are most telling when they are less formal, more of a “come and meet the team” atmosphere.

building a great team is essential to building a great business. A great business relies on its people to drive it forward… to where you, the business owner, want it to go. Of course, your leadership and the systems and structure you’ve put in place will frame and guide your team, but the team itself is the cornerstone of your success. That’s why, when it’s time to hire, you really can’t afford to choose the wrong candidate. Here, I’ll explain my 3x3 Method to help you hire the best possible candidate. This approach has saved me countless mis-hires, and I hope it can do the same for you.


1. Conduct at least three interviews. The more time you spend interviewing, the more likely you are to see the true strengths and weaknesses in your potential candidates. No matter how rushed you are to fill a position, you need to take the time to investigate the character of each candidate to determine if they’re right for you. 2. Interview in at least three different environments. I recommend conducting your interviews in both formal and informal settings. You want the interviewees to drop their shields and reveal their true personality. If you are looking for someone with good phone skills, it’s a good idea to conduct a phone interview as well.

Three interviews, in three different locations, involving three different team members is a surefire way to see more deeply into the qualities and character of your potential candidates. As you proceed with this method, remember that the candidate’s goal is to be the person they think you are looking for. Your goal is to find out who they really are to make sure they are a great fit for the position and your organization. Keep in mind that the best indication of future performance is past performance… so you’ll want to thoroughly investigate work history. Testing can also be helpful but, more than anything, you need to read between the lines. How candidates behave is usually more revealing than what they say. How are they dressed? Were they on time? How much do they know about your company? Are they targeting your company specifically or are you

just another interview to them? Many interviewers make the mistake of talking too much. Make sure to plan your questions in advance and conduct the interviews so that the candidate is doing 90 percent of the talking. Ask questions and probe into their answers for examples and explanations. If they say they “work hard” you might ask them for an example of what “working hard” means to them. Everyone will say they are reliable and responsible, but you are looking for informative examples: i.e. “Tell me a time when a project was completed on time because of your extra effort.” Design your questions so that you get a solid understanding of the skills you are looking for in the job description. Hiring is important no matter how senior—or entry level—the position might be. The cost of a mis-hire is high, so you want to give yourself the best chance you can of doing it right. Over the years, I’ve used my 3x3 Method with remarkable effectiveness. No, this is not the fastest way to hire a new team member. However, the time you spend here will be well worth your effort. After all, you’re not just building your team, you’re building the future of your business. √ Mark is President & Founder of Wardell Professional Development (www.wardell.biz), an advisory group that helps business owners plan and execute the growth of their companies. The author of seven business books, Mark also writes regularly for several national business publications, including Profit Magazine, The Globe & Mail, and CGA Magazine. Email him at mark@wardell.biz






HEALTH aims to improve CARE


he delivery of health care is constantly under attack for a variety of reasons. Alberta Innovate Health Solutions hopes that, through the appointment of health researcher Dr. Lee Green, some of the problems around primary health care can be eliminated. A family physician by training and an outstanding academic, Dr. Green comes from Michigan to take up the first Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Chair in Translational Health at the University of Alberta. He’s also Chair of the Department of Family Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Green says, “Translational health is the kind of research that I’ve done throughout my career. It is essentially turning what we know into what we do.”

In explaining how he will approach the task ahead, Dr. Green says, “We know a great deal about the best way to take care of patients with a wide variety of conditions. We also know that we don’t really do all that well at delivering those things very consistently. Translational research is the process of learning how to do that better. Getting more consistent, more dependable, getting more patient centred, how we get the care to patients. It means things like studying the best way to educate patients, studying the best way to organize practices. It means practising guidelines and changing how we structure the whole delivery system if we need to. Basically it all comes down to how do we take what we know basic science has taught us and turn it into value for patients.” Dr. Green believes the keys to positive change in health care delivery are commitment over time and earning the trust of healthcare providers. His appointment is the first of four planned Chairs in Translational Health, his focus being innovative health services delivery. The other three priority areas for AIHS are chronic disease, mental health and addictions, and health promotion and disease prevention. √






Dr. Lee Green AIHS expects Alberta will benefit from his experience in Michigan as director of GRIN, the Great Lakes Research into Practice Network. This network involved over 200 primary care practices that applied a clinical translational research approach to transforming health care delivery in the state.



ccess management works and gating roads does protect wildlife like elk and grizzly bears. That’s a major result of a five year study supervised by ecologist Dr. Mark Boyce. He holds the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Alberta. Called the Montane Elk Project, this collaboration between industry and several universities was recognized with the Shared Footprints Award at the 2013 Emerald Awards for Environmental Excellence.

Dr. Boyce says the study covered a very large area from the Alberta-Montana border north through the Castle Crown and Kananaskis country to the Chain Lakes region. Of the 182 elk fitted with radio collars, some wore very high tech Argos GPS collars. With the data collected, “We could track them anywhere on the planet. We had elk disperse to Kalispell, Montana, halfway across BC, north almost to Calgary. We didn’t lose track of a single elk. We have really detailed information recorded every two hours for all these elk with well over a million relocations on elk.” And, that’s not to mention the data collected on grizzly bears, cougars and wolves, their interactions with other wildlife species and humans, and how animals and humans alike use the landscape. The study focused on demonstrating scientific evidence related to access management to determine whether practices such as putting gates across roads and trails are effective in directing human behaviour and conserving habitat for elk and grizzly bears. Conventional wisdom suggests access management doesn’t work because people will ignore signs and find ways around the gates. Dr. Boyce says data from the Montane Elk Project proves just the opposite. “Ninety percent or more of people respect the gates, and we have documented the traffic both behind the gates and in areas where there are no gates.” The study results are definitive. “It’s very dramatic. The response by the wildlife is remarkable. If we have fewer than 12 vehicles per day on a road, and this can be industrial use or whatever, the elk and grizzly bears are all over those roads. But when you exceed that threshold, they avoid those roads by as much as two kilometres. And so there are vast areas of habitat that are lost as a consequence of having un-gated roads where there’s unbridled recreational use of the roads.” Dr. Boyce says the study’s take-home message is that “People can walk in and hunt their elk, or go in to view grizzly bears, or go bicycle riding, and we can still have wildlife behind the gates. But vehicle use of those trails diminishes the value of the landscape for wildlife. No question about it.” You can learn more about the Montane Elk Project at www.montaneelk.com √ EDMONTONIANS FALL 2013

With Cheryl Croucher


to CCEMS’s


Carbon Research


lberta is Canada’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. So meeting international reduction targets requires a major investment in innovation and transformative technologies. Funding for this research is collected from Alberta’s largest final emitters of greenhouse gases, and is administered by the Climate Change and Kirk Andries Emissions Management Corporation. As the CCEMC’s managing director, Kirk Andries says, “There is no silver bullet here. We like to think of it as silver buckshot. So the areas that we focus on that are actually based in Alberta’s Climate Change Strategy are cleaner energy production, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and conservation, and adaptation. We finance work in every one of those areas. And yes, we have made investments in a variety of technologies that are really quite transformative… and I think will serve us well as they get traction and they start to produce some results. With more than 45 projects in various stages of completion, Andries highlights two promising projects funded by CCEMC. One is the world’s first carbon neutral bio-fuel plant at Hairy Hill, Alberta. A second is an electro-magnetic extraction process that would eliminate the use of water in oil sands production. A new call for proposals this summer focused on research targeting cleaner fossil fuel production and processing. According to Andries, the scope of the


research includes fossil fuel extraction, preparation, upgrading, refining and other processing including conversion to petrochemicals. Describing the criteria at the time the competition opened, he explains, “We’re looking for technologies that can drive down greenhouse gas emissions. We have $50 million available. An individual project contribution is capped at $10 million. And we’re looking at global participation in the marketplace here in Alberta. We have great people here in Alberta, but we don’t know everything. We need to tap into the technologies and the work that’s being done in other places in the world. The condition, though, is that whatever technology is being proposed must have an application in Alberta.” Another major innovation push for the CCEMC is its international competition called “The Grand Challenge”. Andries says the idea here is to find technology that will transform carbon emissions into a product we look upon as an economic and environmental asset. To see the complete list of projects, visit the CCEMC website at www.ccemc.ca/ project √






etting inventions out of the lab— moving from discovery stage to market—takes a lot of nurturing. And, given the results of a recent survey, Edmonton is one of the best places in the world to do that. The UBI Global Benchmark Report 2013 ranks TEC Edmonton as the top university business incubator in Canada and lists it as 17th in the world.

TEC Edmonton is a joint venture between the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. It provides business advisory, technology commercialization and entrepreneurial training services for university spinoff companies and for startup companies from the community at large. UBI University Business Incubator Index is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Its most recent report compared the performance of 150 leading university associated incubators in 22 countries. Using 10 benchmark indicators and 50 performance indicators, the UBI Index assessed the individual incubators for value delivered to local economy, value to startup company clients, and the post-incubator performance of startup companies. Established in 2004, TEC Edmonton has come a long way in a short time. Since 2011, its clients have generated over $180 million in revenue, raised over $85 million in financing and funding, invested over $49 million in research and development, grown both revenue and employment by 25 percent, and employed more than 1200 people in the region. Statistics from 2012-13 indicate, of 119 startup TEC Edmonton clients, 34 percent were U of A spinoffs and projects. Current clients include the U of A’s Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility, the cancer diagnostics company Metabolomic Technologies Inc., and nano-sensor developer Nemsor Technologies. According to CEO Chris Lumb, “About 90 percent of University of Alberta inventors choose to use the services provided by TEC Edmonton. Our agreements encourage the long-term success of spinoffs, by deferring university royalties and providing business assistance to spinoffs. Such incentives motivate all participants—inventors, investors and the university—to focus on the long-term success of spinoffs.” In case you are curious, the UBI Index lists Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship from Rice University in Texas in top spot for the world. See the complete list at www.ubiindex.com √ Cheryl Croucher hosts Innovation Anthology which is broadcast on CKUA Radio at 7:58 am and 4:40 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. Download the podcasts at www.innovationanthologyy.com and follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylCroucher. Listen as well on CKUA Radio for Aboriginal Pathways.


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