Lisa is a trail blazer. When she came home from high school one day and declared that she needs to move to France, her parents weren’t surprised. Lisa always marched to the beat of her own drum. She grew up in High Prairie surrounded by a thriving First Nations community. Her family worked in the lumber industry and her high school had a total of 300 students. Why did she go to France? Because she was craving culture, and thought that’s where she’d find it.
After going to France for a year, she returned back to Alberta to study at the U of A. She studied political science and French literature, graduating as the top student in the Faculty of Arts. Her studies focused on the trade of French wine and what it means for the exchange of French culture. It got her thinking about Canada’s national culture and what it means to be Canadian.
Lisa went into great detail about her internships with the EU and further studies in France. She pursued a Masters at Carlton in International Affairs with a focus on global governance and human security. Then more prestigious jobs with government departments. Trust me, they’re impressive, but this isn’t about Lisa’s resume. I had to cut out a lot of important policies and even international laws that she was involved with in Ottawa. She had what was considered her dream job with the potential to keep making waves in government, but had an interesting offer to help a friend launch a golf apparel company back in Edmonton. Total change of course, but she was craving something different. She caught the entrepreneurial bug back in Edmonton and hasn’t stopped since.
Lisa only likes to work on projects if they have the potential to bring real change to people and cities. Early in her consulting days, Lisa helped establish the first Indigenous led child & family services program. Through her consulting company, Progress Unlimited, she created Designing Downtown, a platform for people from different cities to share ideas about city building and change making. It kick started public conversation about urbanism in Edmonton. Seems natural that EEDC scooped her up as Creative Economy and Aboriginal Lead, her day job that is dedicated to urban revitalization, inclusiveness, and creating spaces for and with everyone in the city.
I feel like I could go on for 2000 more words about Lisa’s accomplishments and how lucky we are to have her dedicating her city building vision to Edmonton. As you read this, Lisa is leading a trade mission in partnership with the Government of Alberta in Dubai. Centred around the largest real estate development conference in the world, Cityscape, there is a diverse group of Albertans from real estate, architecture and design, hospitality, and media sectors (including The Noteworthy… more Dubai content to come!). She is making world wide connections in Dubai, bringing back city building ideas, and showing the UAE why the world needs more Edmonton.
Lisa’s favourite places
Drink//Confederation Lounge at Fairmont Hotel MacDonald - 10065-100 Street
She prefers to sit in the room off the side of the bar where the pictures of “five badass women” are hanging (The Famous Five: Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Mellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards).
Eat// Rostizado - 10359-104 Street
Their ceviche is the best she’s ever had.
Eat// Noorish - 8440-109 Street
favourite menu items: root vegetable dish and the poutine with vegetable gravy.
Drink// The Wine Room - 10525 Jasper Avenue
Considered a hidden gem on Jasper Ave. Lisa recommends the cheese platter.
Go// Shaw Conference Centre’s terraced gardens and medicine wheel - 9797 Jasper Avenue
It’s a great place to sit outside during the summer with incredible river valley views
Lisa’s Recommended Reads
Read// Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
It talks about paradigm shifts and how revolutions happen within the science community.
Read// Just Kids by Patti Smith
It’s a story about the musician’s friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe in 1960s New York and hanging out with people like Andy Warhol. She treats friendship how friendship ought to be treated.
Lisa’s Words of Wisdom
Put yourself out there. Think even bigger. Look for the invisible connections between everything.