Why I am running for City Council.
I grew up in northeast Calgary, in a family that taught me to value spending time with community, volunteering and learning. Growing up, my family struggled with money and those early experiences shape how I view the role of financial health in the well-being of a family and of a community. That’s why I’m committed to working hard to for a safe and strong Ward 10 where families and communities can thrive.
In my early 20’s I studied art in education and founded my own theatre company here in Calgary. In my late 20’s, I worked as highschool teacher in Tanzania and Hong Kong. When I returned to Calgary, I began working for a non-profit organization called Momentum. At Momentum, I had the privilege of supporting youth, families and individuals living on low incomes to grow their assets and move permanently out of poverty.
We have one of the best political, economic and social systems in the world, however, through my work at Momentum, I began to question some of the government policies - especially related to banking and housing - that seemed to be working against people, keeping them trapped poverty.
To understand this better, I turned to the University of Calgary’s Public Policy School where I earned my masters degree in public policy. What I learned in this program made me even more committed to serve my community and work to change the systems that made it difficult for families like mine, and like the ones I supported at Momentum, to thrive in this great city.
I believe a focused, supportive, open, and accountable government is vital to the health and resiliency of people, the economy and the planet. For the past four years, I have been working for United Way Calgary where, alongside many partners including the City of Calgary, we launched Financial Empowerment – a key strategy of Calgary’s Enough for All plan to reduce poverty in half by 2023.
By 2023, the Financial Empowerment initiative will increase the assets and net-worth of 46,500 Calgarians currently living on low incomes - many of them are our friends and neighbours living in the communities of Ward 10.
We’ve made great progress by combining good ideas, effective policy and dedicated people to have a real impact on people’s lives. As councillor for Ward 10, I will take this same collaborative approach to ensure your voices are represented in decisions that affect your day to day lives.
For the past six months, my team and I have been knocking on your doors and getting to know you. We’ve heard you talk about the awesomeness of the NE, the welcoming and supportive people, communities with green spaces, playgrounds and gorgeous trees, energetic community centres where people from all corners of the world eat, play and laugh together. The NE is a great place to live, a fun place to explore and it’s time all of Calgary knew it.
For too long, we haven’t had a voice at City Hall that effectively celebrates us or a voice that champions smart investments in our communities. It’s time to break this cycle and get to work in Ward 10. Our city is at a crossroads and I am ready to safeguard the effective policies currently in place and let go of the policies that hold us back from innovation in smart local economic development.
For more on my ideas check out our video series outlining my thoughts on creating safer roads, transit, public and commercial spaces and shining a light on the NE to celebrate our local businesses and community organizations. Thanks for learning a bit about me.