Edmonton’s future leaders

Today in the Edmonton Sun, Marty Forbes asked where Edmonton’s future leaders are. I found the article via the edmontonian, and was happy to see that Jeff mentioned a few people in response. Here are the key excerpts from Marty’s article:

The one thing that vaults a city from good to great is its people, and over the past few months several great Edmontonians have served notice that they are retiring from their high-profile gigs here in town.

All are moving on soon and I wonder "who is going to fill their shoes?"

The part that scares me is that I’m not seeing a huge list of young dynamic people stepping in to fill many of the big jobs and needs in the community.

Now I’m sure the next generation of leaders are out there somewhere. I’d love to hear from you if you know such a dynamo so that we could start recognizing these folks in the media.

We need dreamers, builders, rule breakers, risk takers and leaders to take this city up yet another notch towards greatness. The mantle is officially being tossed.

I want to first point out that you don’t need to hold a “high-profile gig” to be a leader. Maybe that’s why Marty hasn’t heard of any upcoming leaders. The next generation generally doesn’t care for suits, invitation only events, old boys clubs, or any of the traditional places you’d find “leaders”. There are plenty of places to find them, however. Here’s a small list to get Marty and everyone else like him started:

I really don’t think the next generation of leaders is hard to find. There are lots of them, getting things done and working hard to make our city a better place in which to live. Here’s a list of the first 75 I could think of (in alphabetical order):

Alex Abboud, Trevor Anderson, Justin Archer, Jerry Aulenbach, Ken Bautista, Myron Belej, Tamison Bencz-Knight, Mark Bennett, Chris Bolivar, Nathan Box, Michael Brechtel, Will Buchkowsky, Brandy Burdeniuk, Marc Carnes, Stephani Carter, Ashley Casovan, Christine Causing, Reg Cheramy, Josh Classen, Dave Cournoyer, Xanthe Couture, Matthew Dance, Jas Darrah, Mark Donovan, Michael Donovan, Janaya Ellis, Cindy Fulton, Bretta Gerecke, Tad Hargrave, Elisse Heine, Chris Henderson, Scott Hennig, Alistair Henning, Christel Hyshka, Elaine Hyshka, Don Iveson, Todd Janes, Michael Janz, Sam Jenkins, Ryan Jespersen, Shafraaz Kaba, Alistair King, Duncan Kinney, Chris LaBossiere, Brittney LeBlanc, Cam Linke, Raffaella Loro, Shauna McConechy, Jess McMullin, Roberto Moreno, James Murgatroyd, Christian Nelson, Monique Nutter, Gregg Oldring, Jason Openo, Roland Pemberton, Darryl Plunkie, Jessie Radies, Adam Rozenhart, Zohreh Saher, Jeff Samsonow, Mari Sasano, Jordan Schroder, Amy Shostak, Gene Smith, Tamara Stecyk, Kevin Swan, Asia Szkudlarek, Daniel Tse, Zoe Todd, Brendan Van Alstine, Cary Williams, Marlon Wilson, Sharon Yeo, Mike Zouhri

They’re all passionate about different things, but together, they’re having a big impact on our city. And this is just a small list! I do my best to keep up on who’s doing what in Edmonton, but there are so many other communities that I have no connection with that are full of emerging leaders. There’s definitely no shortage of next generation leaders in Edmonton.

So Marty, I hope that gets you started. I look forward to you “recognizing these folks in the media”. And maybe next time you’ll match the effort they put in by doing more than simply asking your audience to do the work for you.

It’s impossible to make a list like this 100% complete – sorry if I missed you – so add your favorite up-and-coming leaders in the comments below (something that the Edmonton Sun article is sorely lacking). Thanks!

33 thoughts on “Edmonton’s future leaders

  1. Good post, Mack. I agree that it’s not hard to find great people in this city. If I were looking for the future leaders, the last place I would look is where all the 60+ year-old “current leaders” hang out.

    I’m a big fan of future leader and trust agent @bingofuel

  2. I laughed out loud at the line “Here’s a list of the first 75 I could think of (in alphabetical order):”

    It’s just too good that you could rip off such a long list of energetic, dedicated, caring, and exciting Edmontonians when the Sun column couldn’t even name one to get things rolling.

    Also, I’m glad to see I’m not the only who didn’t find a comments section on the story.

    And I’d add Ryan Jespersen’s wife Kari Skelton to the list. They are our city’s emerging power media couple. Plus they do a lot for a number of charities and organizations.

    – Team @bingofuel

  3. Great article Mack. When I read the sun this morning and the Edmontonian later I was just waiting for your response.
    You did not disapoint.

  4. Bang on, Mack.

    There are a lot of us out there who are really passionate about making Edmonton a better city. A shame the Sun hasn’t picked up on us yet 😉

  5. Thanks Mack, I will try my best not to develop an inflated ego via being included on this list of movers and shakers. Its cool to care about Edmonton!

  6. Mack:

    Great response and I am so glad you jumped on this. As you know, I have long thought that people need to start to look outside the traditional boardrooms, service clubs and meetings rooms.

    A notable couple of names I think are also very much in the up and comer list:

    1) Michael Walters (formerly of the Greater Edmonton Alliance and fellow Top 40 Under 40 alumni with you)

    2) Richard Wong (Sutton Place Hotel Manager, huge Edmonton Downtown Supporter, and a fellow EEDC board member)

    Of course there are SO MANY that could also be mentioned, which is really the story here. Forbes is looking through a traditional media lens, and it’s not always the people who get the press because of their title, wealth or traditional definition of influence, but those who are getting things done!

    I hope that other commenters keep adding the names.

  7. Hey Mack!

    Great rolling start to this list.

    I gotta give a shout-out to my fellow Next Gen’ers Brian Murray and Ryan Stark, without whom Edmonton would be sorely lacking Pecha Kucha Nights!

  8. Thanks for being our generation’s ‘spokesperson’ and creating this list of people who definetly deserve a shout-out for all the work they do to make Edmonton even better.

  9. I’m in my 60’s. I’m on Twitter so I recognize quite a few of the names on “the list”. I embrace new technology, love reading blogs and appreciate the direction and contributions of the young leaders in Edmonton. I applaud them for their vision and passion and feel overwhelmingly proud that we seniors could produce such amazing children. I am, however, somewhat saddened that there seems to be such a lack of respect for the “older” generation. Surely there must have been a few good leaders that came from that “old boys club”? There must have been a few of us that contributed something to our communities? This new technology came at us real fast. Real fast. We are trying to keep up with you. Perhaps the future leaders on the list should allow Marty from the Sun to interview them the old fashioned way so that the baby boomers can get to know them too. Meet us half way. And FYI, we old codgers can be pretty passionate about things too

  10. I gotta give a shout-out to a couple other folks that should be mentioned:

    Andy Grabia- http://www.whydowntown.ca
    This man has skated to centre ice and put himself out there in an effort to bring debate and public awareness about the arena debate into the mainstream at a time much of the coverage has been nothing short of fireworks.

    Chris Chan- http://www.edmontonbikes.ca
    This man volunteers about 80 hours a week advocating for cycling, making cycling events happening, helping run bikeworks community bike shop,

    Chris Henderson & Duncan Wojtaszek – @chrishenderson/ http://www.phendrana.ca

    Chris (U of A Students’ Union) and Duncan (Council of Alberta University Students) are mentors and leaders to almost every student leader in the past 5 years in this town. There are no denying the positive impacts of the U-Pass!

  11. Right on Mack! Great response. I’ve been quite lucky to meet a few of these folks, and you’re absolutely right: The passion and energy is out there in spades. Edmonton is in very good hands.

  12. Thanks for reading Sylvia. If this came across as disrespectful to the “older” generation, I apologize. That wasn’t the intent. Previous generations are responsible for so much of what enables us to do what we do!

    I’ll be mindful of it, and will keep it in mind for future writings.

    I do think this is about more than technology though. It’s important, definitely, but there’s more to the next generation than simply harnessing Facebook and Twitter. I think the people on my list have a different approach to leadership in general.

  13. Great list Mack! I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of the people on your list and many more, all of whom have inspired me to become a greater Edmontonian. I’m looking forward to seeing where those people on your list, and those who are not, lead this city.

    Do the “new boys ( and girls ) club” still get to wear smoking jackets when we meet?

  14. I would add that many of the people on your excellent leaders-of-the-future list are leaders of the present, and anyone not plugged in to what they have to say is missing out on important moving and shaking in this city.

    That said, some of the great work done by these young leaders is invisible to the mainstream because “traditional” media is unaware. Now you might say traditional media should get with it, and you would be right. But as Sylvia Riep says, this new technology has come at a lot of people real fast, those in mainstream newsrooms included.

    Just as it may be important for these new leaders to get themselves into some boardrooms, as Chris LaBossiere suggests here — http://bit.ly/90sQ22 — it may also be important for them to get their stories in front of assigning editors who aren’t glued to Twitter. I’m not suggesting that you all get yourselves fax machines, but an email or a phone call is sometimes more effective than a Facebook group.

    We’re in the middle of a revolution in communication. Some people are getting their news in new ways (ways I love and believe are better than the old ways); some people are getting their news from newspapers, TV and radio. You can wait for those people to “catch up,” or you can reach them where they are.

  15. Good advice Karen, thanks for sharing.

    The third or possibly a concurrent option, besides waiting for them to catch up or reaching them where they are, is to help the revolution along. Collaboration, education, etc. I think you, me, and a few others have had some success with that already (MediaCamp) and I look forward to exploring that option further!

  16. mack,

    heavens. what a source of connections you are. what a gift to the community. you are Edmonton’s spotlight – shining on all things good. thank you.

  17. Great list – I would definitely add Traci Bednard, a young VP at EIA and a passionate community volunteer.

  18. Thanks for the mention Mack!

    It’s definitely exciting to see where Edmonton can go with a list of known (and yet to be known) leaders. The breadth and diversity of different interests gives a sense that it’s more about the application of technology than the tools themselves!

  19. I applaud your post Mack.

    I know that there is a big gap between Marty’s network and the parallel network of younger leaders in Edmonton. The older generation is almost oblivious to the new generation and the way the think work and deliver. And that is a problem.

    I have great faith and confidence in the leadership skills and commitment of the young people who mentor me on social media and other things. My peers are pathetically out of touch – unfortunately.

  20. Mack,

    No surprise to see you stepping up to celebrate the young, vibrant element of the community we’re all proud to call home.

    It’s an honour to be included in your first draft – I’m sure we all know dozens of other difference makers who do just as much (or more!) to fearlessly lead our city forward.

    Jeff (and team @bingofuel), thanks for mentioning my bestie. Both Kari and I consider ourselves lucky to be even a tiny part of what is no doubt a formative time in Edmonton’s future.


  21. As a relative newcomer to Edmonton, it is an honour to be amongst such fantastic company. Edmonton’s civic pride is inspirational. Moving here has had such a wonderful impact on my quality of life. I miss Seattle. I miss Portland, OR. But Edmonton’s community is such a good one.

    A quick word about leadership: Wise Leadership is essentially about three things. First, selecting the direction a group or community should travel. Leadership is about directionality. The leader needs to assess the terrain and avoid obstacles and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities so that those traveling have the greatest chance of reaching the selected destination. The second thing is equipping the community with the capacities to make the journey – preparing the community and building the motivation to move in that direction. The third component of wise leadership is knowing that there are certain paths a leader simply cannot travel, certain tactics (even if they might be effective) that are off limits, e.g. bullying, intimidation, fear-mongering, dishonesty, etc. The interesting thing about “leadership” is that we have been lead, in many real and metaphorical ways, to the edge of a very steep cliff and it is going to take a lot of skill, ingenuity, and cooperation to move on from here.

  22. Hi Mack,
    That’s an impressive list, even more so because you mentioned my daughter Zoe. Right on!
    Proud Mom

  23. Thanks for the mention/add.
    Great list. All I can say is that everyone that I know on that list truly is nothing short of great. Personally, I know at least another 75 people who are just as deserving of a mention. Edmonton is far from short on remarkable leaders.

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