My Heart Belongs in Edmonton
Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to travel to, and work in so many wonderful cities. My first business trip came when I was in my early 20’s working at Weyerhaeuser with a visit to Vancouver to meet our export partners. Later, from 2000 to 2015 while at Intuit, makers of TurboTax and QuickBooks, I was lucky to travel the world exploring new countries as we worked to expand into new markets.
With each city I visited came exciting delights and discoveries. From the incredible subway systems of the UK, to the central business districts of Australia, and the thriving downtown food courts of Singapore each city I explored had me admiring the city planning and design. Yet, despite all of these wonders my heart has always pulled me back home to Edmonton.
So it was an easy decision to pick Edmonton as my forever home, where I’d build a life, raise my family, and pursue my career. When I get asked, and I often do, about why I deliberately chose Edmonton my answer always centres on our community, our unique startup culture, our festivals, and of course, my family.
Edmonton is an interwoven network of friends and family who are always ready to lend a hand. In our earliest years, this community-mindedness began with the formation of community leagues. Fast forward one hundred years, and today we have nearly 150 community leagues operating within our great city. These community hubs bring people together to build strong, healthy, service-focused neighbourhoods.
Edmontonians further showed their commitment to their neighbour’s wellbeing with the formation of Canada’s first food bank. I also regularly see the willingness to help one another within our business community. Aspiring entrepreneurs who reach out to experienced business leaders are met with generosity of time and advice.
Simply put, I’m filled with pride to live in a city where everyone cares so deeply about one another and are willing to help in good and bad times.
Start It Up
During my tenure at Intuit our company mission was to power prosperity through our work to support small businesses. When I made the decision to stay in Edmonton I wanted to continue to serve the entrepreneurs and small business owners that I had fallen in love with during my 15 years at Intuit.
With over 90 percent of Edmonton businesses self-identifying as small- and medium-enterprises they truly are the lifeblood of our city. This realization was the catalyst for evolving the Urban Economy division I was leading at EEDC into Innovate Edmonton. Our focus became creating the best possible environment for these companies to startup, grow, scale, and thrive in Edmonton.
Just about everyone in our city has a relationship with small businesses. We rely on the personal services they provide, we savour and crave their delicious food, we buy and gift their creations, and they are our neighbours, our friends, our family, and they create jobs for hundreds of thousands of us. The sheer quantity and the richness of diversity of our small businesses make us a very unique city. Edmonton is a city of dreamers and doers that can rival any other place in the world.
While COVID-19 is impacting our ability to gather safely, I’m yearning for the day when we can get back to enjoying all of our amazing and unique year-round outdoor events. Summer, winter, whatever the season, there is always something fun going on in our city. One of my personal great loves is music and Edmonton doesn’t disappoint. From Folk Fest to the Edmonton Blues Festival, I am never far from a local music event.
I was heartbroken when, after eight wonderful years in our city, Interstellar Rodeo announced its last year in 2019--though I remain hopeful it’ll return one day. I also look forward to Flying Canoë Volant, Heritage Days, UFest, and NextFest every year. I never miss the Taste of Edmonton and really any event that has a beer garden will likely see me in the crowd. There are more than 50 different festivals each year that celebrate our diverse community and culture and help us all connect and learn from one another.
Edmonton is home for my family. My Mom and Father-in-Law still live in Edmonton, and my husband, Geoff, and I have committed to keeping Edmonton as the homebase for our kids--who are heeding our advice to travel and study in far off destinations while they’re young. Both Geoff and I grew up here and rely on the thousands of friends and family-like connections we’ve made in this city. Since I announced my mayoral intentions I’ve continued to be humbled by the support and generosity that’s been extended to me by all of my YEG people.
How could this city not be my choice? I am proud to be a born and raised Edmontonian, and I will do everything I can to make sure it is a city that works for everyone.
Yours in partnership,