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!

Recap: ONEdmonton Leaders Forum #2

Yesterday morning was the second ONEdmonton Leaders Forum, hosted by EEDC at the Shaw Conference Centre. After a good experience at the first one, I was excited for another opportunity to chat with everyone and eager to see if the organizers would indeed make more time for that. EEDC Board Chair Henry Yip and EEDC President Ron Gilbertson gave very brief introductory remarks, and we got down to business.

Our moderator for the day was Anne McLellan. She started by presenting the following question (I’m paraphrasing a bit):

What are your top five opportunities, challenges, and priorities for Edmonton as we work toward becoming one of the world’s leading mid-size cities?

She then numbered everyone off into 8 groups, and we started discussing. For about half an hour, groups talked amongst themselves, with each member having the chance to share their top 5 issues (or less). This exercise was something I was prepared for, given my Pecha Kucha 7 talk, so I started in my group. Here are the three I shared:

  1. Density
  2. Storytelling
  3. Creative Economy

I added “Living Local” after everyone had shared their issues, and I agreed with most of the table who mentioned EXPO 2017. There were some other duplicates, but I wrote down over 20 things from our group alone. It was a great discussion and it was really interesting to hear where everyone was at. Some of the more memorable things mentioned at my table were “winter city”, “homelessness”, and “waterfront development”.

During a short break the organizers tallied up all the lists to identify the overall group’s top 10 opportunities, challenges, and priorities. Here’s the result (issue with percentage of the group that identified it):

  1. Downtown revitalization (46%)
  2. Crime (29%)
  3. Education / R&D (29%)
  4. Transportation / Infrastructure (25%)
  5. Homelessness (19%)
  6. Brand / Identity (19%)
  7. River Valley Development (17%)
  8. Regional Partnerships (15%)
  9. Promoting the city (15%)
  10. Aboriginal Integration (14%)

A moderated discussion followed, which of course felt like it wasn’t long enough. A few really good comments were made. One I’ll share was from Homeward Trust Executive Director Susan McGee, who said that language is important, and that the word “integration” in #10 on the list probably was not the best choice of words. I thought it was a great point.

Crime & Safety

We finished off the morning with a presentation from EPS Deputy Chief of Police Norm Lipinski. He shared some really great information about the EPS approach, as well as some positive stories about crime in Edmonton. Here are the EPS objectives:

  1. Reduce Crime
  2. Reduce Disorder
  3. Enhance Traffic Safety
  4. Maintain Public Trust

Some of the ways they accomplish those objectives are through community policing, hot spot management, offender management, and business practices. He mentioned the broken window theory, and said he was a big fan of having a visible presence. Norm’s takeaways were that overall crime is down in Edmonton over the last three years, that the rate of solving crime is up, and that we have a top tier police service (also a very young police service). He finished with a funny slide comparing his appearance to that of Kevin Bacon (the resemblance is uncanny). A discussion followed his presentation but I had to leave so I missed it.

I thought the second ONEdmonton forum was great – kudos to EEDC for acting on the feedback for the first event to make this one a success. I look forward to the next forum, where we’ll hopefully start trying to address the execution side of becoming one of the world’s top five mid-size cities.

Recap: ONEdmonton Leaders Forum

Yesterday morning was EEDC’s first ONEdmonton Leaders Forum. The series of events aims to “bring together the region’s most influential leaders to discuss key topics affecting our community.” I am honored to have been invited to participate, likely to represent “youth” along with Cary Williams and a few others. Just over 90 of the 150 or so invited leaders attended the event, and while I’m not going to name any names (aside from the speakers) rest assured it was a very impressive collection of individuals.

The morning started with a welcome and overview from EEDC Board Chair and COO of ProCura, Randy Ferguson. He invited EEDC President & CEO Ron Gilbertson to set the stage for the event. Ron talked about where Edmonton is today (one of 307 mid-size cities in the world) and where we’d like to be. He focused on two key areas: economic success, and quality of life, referencing the Conference Board of Canada’s prosperity ratings as he went. After providing some context, Randy and Ron shared EEDC’s Vision (PDF):

To ensure Edmonton is recognized as one of the world’s top 5 mid-size cities by 2030.

I like it, and I think others in the room did too. That’s the vision the group will be aligning on and working toward achieving. The idea is to try to speak with one voice, hence the title of the forum.

After a quick break, we heard from four speakers:

  1. Reg Milley, President & CEO, Edmonton Airports. Reg talked about the new Stop The Calgary Habit campaign, and about the importance of a healthy local airport. The slogan for the campaign, “when you go south, so does your air service” says it all. Reg implored everyone to “shop local” for air travel.
  2. Jim Taylor, Executive Director, Downtown Business Association. Jim talked about the incredible transformations that have happened downtown in the last decade, and a little about what’s coming. He mentioned that the “cumulative story” is what’s important – all of the changes in aggregate are pretty impressive.
  3. Sol Rolingher, C.St. J., Q.C., Duncan & Craig LLP, River Valley Alliance Chair. Sol talked about the importance of preserving, protecting, and enhancing the river valley, and about local heritage. He has been working with others to preserve some Edmonton artifacts throughout the river valley. I thought he was an incredible speaker, very passionate. He also gave everyone a copy of this awesome map.
  4. Dave Mowat, President & CEO, ATB Financial, EXPO Bid Committee. Dave, with a little help from Randy, talked about the EXPO 2017 bid. I got the feeling that many in the room are excited for the bid, because it’s an opportunity to achieve big things all at once. There was nothing new for me in the presentation, but it was still a good overview.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time for questions or further discussion, but it sounds like they’ll be working on improving that for future forums. I would have made the following comment, had there been time:

We know we have successes here, but we often don’t do a very good job of telling our story. Like Jim’s “cumulative story” on downtown, or the thriving local tech startup scene (reference by someone else in the group). We need to become better storytellers in order to achieve the vision.

Looking forward to the next forum!