Meet a few of the stars

who make our city shine

Calgary is full of local heroes – positive people, who make our city a better place to live. This year at Southcentre, we’ll be showcasing local stars online, in-centre, and all over town. Bright stars are all around us in this city – let’s celebrate them, all year long. Get involved, and inspire us with your stories! The bright stars you see below are just the beginning.

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The Influencer
Alison Springer

Speaking out, building confidence, and changing teen lives.

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Alison Springer

The Influencer
Alison Springer

Alison Springer is a youth communications specialist with a difference. When she sees a problem affecting Calgary’s youth or young girls, she sets to work – building a program, curriculum or speaking engagement to address it. And when Alison Springer speaks, kids listen. Teens are notoriously hard to reach, and Springer captivates this elusive audience with new approaches, innovative exercises, and creative flair – whatever it takes to make sure the main message breaks through. The core of her message? It’s all about confidence.

"Confidence is the key to inspiring teen greatness," she says.

Whatever her secret, it’s working. Springer empowers all kinds of teens, from street kids to student leaders, church youth groups to students with high needs, aboriginal youth to ESL students. She’s co-written curriculums used in junior high schools throughout Alberta, and facilitated programs used in Calgary’s youth judicial system. Some of her curriculums and mentorship programs have been picked up across Canada.

She’s also very active in her work with young women, and helps develop leadership forums and other events to represent the voice of youth and teen girls in the city. Young Women of Power, for example, is an annual conference with programming for young women. PivotFWD, another example, is a six-week program that at-risk teens can take to avoid criminal charges. They emerge with a clean record, and ready to lead their peers.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to intervene on the path girls are taking.”

Springer’s overarching mission? “To build a generation of CONFIDENT youth who will make positive choices that will change and shape their world.”

Sounds like a good direction to us.

To watch the next generation of young girls get influenced in the right direction, head on over to Young Women of Power at YWOP.ca.

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The Maverick
Paul Hardy

One of Canada’s most celebrated fashion designers – and proud Calgarian.

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Paul Hardy

The Maverick
Paul Hardy

Paul Hardy is one of Calgary’s proudest sons. Which is remarkable, because he’s been designing for an international fashion audience for more than 15 years. He began his career with a luminous opening at Toronto Fashion Week, in 2002, whereupon Jeannie Beker of Fashion Television compared him to a new Marc Jacobs or Stella McCartney – high praise indeed. Hardy’s rise was meteoric from there, with subsequent collections showing in LA, New York, Milan, Paris, and China. His quick emergence gave him a major reputation on the Canadian scene, where he’s been called one of the “freshest talents north of the border” by Flare Magazine, and a top-ten designer in Canada in 2006.

Hardy has passed through many creative permutations in his work, from breathtaking innovations with fur, to jewellery with diamonds from the Northwest Territories. He’s also working on interiors for some private clients (look for his first project feature coming April 2017 in Western Living Magazine). Every collection, every piece, every design, works with a clear concept in mind – often a very imaginative thread.

After all his success, Hardy felt the need to give back. In January, 2008, he built a school in Uganda – an event that he describes as life-changing. He also initiated a development project for women marginalized by political wars and HIV in Rwanda*.

But Hardy will always burn a torch for Calgary – it’s home for him. And in summer of 2011, he was commissioned to design a commemorative white hat for the 100th anniversary of Stampede, on the 50th anniversary of the white hat.

So what is it that always draws him back to Calgary? “I love the pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that abides in Alberta. As Calgary emerges as a global centre of finance for the energy industry, I want to use fashion and design to contribute to the cultural landscape of the city.”

Well, Mr. Hardy, we’re certainly very happy to have you among us.

*Paul Hardy’s initiative in Rwanda is now in partnership with an organization called Hopethiopia. To support the work, visit Canadahelps.org. (Indicate Hopetheopia as the charity, and specify Rwanda in the comment.)

Get The Look

The Influencer
Alison Springer

Alison Springer is a youth communications specialist with a difference. When she sees a problem affecting Calgary’s youth or young girls, she sets to work – building a program, curriculum or speaking engagement to address it. And when Alison Springer speaks, kids listen. Teens are notoriously hard to reach, and Springer captivates this elusive audience with new approaches, innovative exercises, and creative flair – whatever it takes to make sure the main message breaks through. The core of her message? It’s all about confidence.

"Confidence is the key to inspiring teen greatness," she says.

Whatever her secret, it’s working. Springer empowers all kinds of teens, from street kids to student leaders, church youth groups to students with high needs, aboriginal youth to ESL students. She’s co-written curriculums used in junior high schools throughout Alberta, and facilitated programs used in Calgary’s youth judicial system. Some of her curriculums and mentorship programs have been picked up across Canada.

She’s also very active in her work with young women, and helps develop leadership forums and other events to represent the voice of youth and teen girls in the city. Young Women of Power, for example, is an annual conference with programming for young women. PivotFWD, another example, is a six-week program that at-risk teens can take to avoid criminal charges. They emerge with a clean record, and ready to lead their peers.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to intervene on the path girls are taking.”

Springer’s overarching mission? “To build a generation of CONFIDENT youth who will make positive choices that will change and shape their world.”

Sounds like a good direction to us.

To watch the next generation of young girls get influenced in the right direction, head on over to Young Women of Power at YWOP.ca.


The Maverick
Paul Hardy

Paul Hardy is one of Calgary’s proudest sons. Which is remarkable, because he’s been designing for an international fashion audience for more than 15 years. He began his career with a luminous opening at Toronto Fashion Week, in 2002, whereupon Jeannie Beker of Fashion Television compared him to a new Marc Jacobs or Stella McCartney – high praise indeed. Hardy’s rise was meteoric from there, with subsequent collections showing in LA, New York, Milan, Paris, and China. His quick emergence gave him a major reputation on the Canadian scene, where he’s been called one of the “freshest talents north of the border” by Flare Magazine, and a top-ten designer in Canada in 2006.

Hardy has passed through many creative permutations in his work, from breathtaking innovations with fur, to jewellery with diamonds from the Northwest Territories. He’s also working on interiors for some private clients (look for his first project feature coming April 2017 in Western Living Magazine). Every collection, every piece, every design, works with a clear concept in mind – often a very imaginative thread.

After all his success, Hardy felt the need to give back. In January, 2008, he built a school in Uganda – an event that he describes as life-changing. He also initiated a development project for women marginalized by political wars and HIV in Rwanda*.

But Hardy will always burn a torch for Calgary – it’s home for him. And in summer of 2011, he was commissioned to design a commemorative white hat for the 100th anniversary of Stampede, on the 50th anniversary of the white hat.

So what is it that always draws him back to Calgary? “I love the pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that abides in Alberta. As Calgary emerges as a global centre of finance for the energy industry, I want to use fashion and design to contribute to the cultural landscape of the city.”

Well, Mr. Hardy, we’re certainly very happy to have you among us.

*Paul Hardy’s initiative in Rwanda is now in partnership with an organization called Hopethiopia. To support the work, visit Canadahelps.org. (Indicate Hopetheopia as the charity, and specify Rwanda in the comment.)


The Heart
Christine McIver

Taking care of Alberta kids, from camps to a full continuum of cancer care.

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Christine McIver

The Heart
Christine McIver

In 1986, the unthinkable happened: Christine McIver’s son Derek was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. At the time, there were very few programs in the province to help families deal with cancer. So in 1990, with no cancer camps available in Alberta, Christine registered Derek in a B.C. camp. Seeing his eyes light up from the experience was life-changing – for both son, and mother.

A few months after Derek died in 1991, McIver was determined to carry on for Derek’s legacy. She launched the first cancer camps programs in Alberta in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society. She then went on to found the Kids Cancer Camps of Alberta in 1994, an organization dedicated solely to helping children with cancer, and their families, cope with the disease.

After the tremendous success of the camps, McIver set out to address the full spectrum of childhood cancer, including funding research and hospital programs. What began as camps became a movement, and in 1999 the registered charity changed its name to Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.

Now in its 23rd year, the foundation today offers more than 20 year-round camp and outreach programs, research and hospital programs, education support, and scholarships. In other words, it provides support for the entire continuum of childhood cancer.

And it’s all in Derek’s memory.

McIver has been recognized at the highest levels for her work in the field, including a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal, an Alberta Centennial Medal and in 2016, an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Calgary. She was also one of 10 Canadians chosen in 2002 to be on the Maclean’s Honour Roll; the YWCA/Global TV Woman of Vision Award; a Reader's Digest Canadian Hero of the Year Award; and a Today’s Parent For Kids Sake Award – just to name a few.

“If I had not founded Kids Cancer Care and sought ways to change the course of childhood cancer for every child, then Derek would have truly died.” A powerful message, indeed.

The Survivor
Richard Powis

Richard is an active 17-year-old, and a total sports fanatic.

When he was nine years old, he was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a type of brain cancer. He endured an intense protocol of chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants. The radiation killed the hair follicles in his body, so his hair never grew back – thus the cap.

Richard is shooting to be an NHL goalie. If that doesn’t pan out, he’d like to be a sports doctor. He wants young people with cancer to know that they can beat the disease – and live a full, active life.

To learn more about Kids Cancer Care’s incredible work in the lives of kids and families, check out kidscancercare.ab.ca.

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The Rescuer
Deanna Thompson

Giving some very important Albertans a second chance at life, four paws at a time.

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Deanna Thompson

The Rescuer
Deanna Thompson

In 2006, Deanna Thompson was busy with a successful career in the energy sector. Then her life changed: she began volunteering with the newly formed non-profit Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), and from moment one, she knew she’d found her calling.

“It’s amazing how wonderful your heart feels after helping a once-homeless animal feel love and security for the first time,” says Thompson. “I thought, ‘I have found the purpose for my life that was hidden for 25 years.’”

When AARCS decided to hire its first full-time employee in 2010, Thompson stepped up – and hasn’t looked back since. “It doesn’t even seem like work to me.”

She must be on the right track, because big changes have happened during her time at the society. In Thompson’s ten-year span as Executive Director, AARCS has grown into a real force in animal welfare, with a $2-million annual budget and a staff of 16. The organization has helped over 10,000 animals find new loving homes, and managed 2,300 adoptions in 2016 alone – a big leap forward from 50 dogs in 2006. Today, the society operates a shelter in northeast Calgary, and a chapter in Edmonton. The Calgary shelter, meanwhile, is expanding to a new 13,000 square foot facility, including a 3,000-square-foot veterinary hospital.

AARCS has been instrumental in so many distressed animals’ lives – especially in the last few years in Alberta’s history. They helped to save 600 animals in the Calgary floods, and 1,100 in the Fort Mac fires (they were awarded with a Leadership & Innovation award by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for their work in the fires).

That’s a big deal. And when we asked Thompson what she would say to an animal about to be rescued, she had a powerful message: “You’ve got a new chance at a great life. We’re going to make that happen.”

That one gets us right in the heart.

To lend a hand (or paw) to the great work that AARCS does every day, visit aarcs.ca.

Get The Look

The Heart
Christine McIver

In 1986, the unthinkable happened: Christine McIver’s son Derek was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. At the time, there were very few programs in the province to help families deal with cancer. So in 1990, with no cancer camps available in Alberta, Christine registered Derek in a B.C. camp. Seeing his eyes light up from the experience was life-changing – for both son, and mother.

A few months after Derek died in 1991, McIver was determined to carry on for Derek’s legacy. She launched the first cancer camps programs in Alberta in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society. She then went on to found the Kids Cancer Camps of Alberta in 1994, an organization dedicated solely to helping children with cancer, and their families, cope with the disease.

After the tremendous success of the camps, McIver set out to address the full spectrum of childhood cancer, including funding research and hospital programs. What began as camps became a movement, and in 1999 the registered charity changed its name to Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta.

Now in its 23rd year, the foundation today offers more than 20 year-round camp and outreach programs, research and hospital programs, education support, and scholarships. In other words, it provides support for the entire continuum of childhood cancer.

And it’s all in Derek’s memory.

McIver has been recognized at the highest levels for her work in the field, including a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal, an Alberta Centennial Medal and in 2016, an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Calgary. She was also one of 10 Canadians chosen in 2002 to be on the Maclean’s Honour Roll; the YWCA/Global TV Woman of Vision Award; a Reader's Digest Canadian Hero of the Year Award; and a Today’s Parent For Kids Sake Award – just to name a few.

“If I had not founded Kids Cancer Care and sought ways to change the course of childhood cancer for every child, then Derek would have truly died.” A powerful message, indeed.

The Survivor
Richard Powis

Richard is an active 17-year-old, and a total sports fanatic.

When he was nine years old, he was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a type of brain cancer. He endured an intense protocol of chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants. The radiation killed the hair follicles in his body, so his hair never grew back – thus the cap.

Richard is shooting to be an NHL goalie. If that doesn’t pan out, he’d like to be a sports doctor. He wants young people with cancer to know that they can beat the disease – and live a full, active life.

To learn more about Kids Cancer Care’s incredible work in the lives of kids and families, check out kidscancercare.ab.ca.


The Rescuer
Deanna Thompson

In 2006, Deanna Thompson was busy with a successful career in the energy sector. Then her life changed: she began volunteering with the newly formed non-profit Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), and from moment one, she knew she’d found her calling.

“It’s amazing how wonderful your heart feels after helping a once-homeless animal feel love and security for the first time,” says Thompson. “I thought, ‘I have found the purpose for my life that was hidden for 25 years.’”

When AARCS decided to hire its first full-time employee in 2010, Thompson stepped up – and hasn’t looked back since. “It doesn’t even seem like work to me.”

She must be on the right track, because big changes have happened during her time at the society. In Thompson’s ten-year span as Executive Director, AARCS has grown into a real force in animal welfare, with a $2-million annual budget and a staff of 16. The organization has helped over 10,000 animals find new loving homes, and managed 2,300 adoptions in 2016 alone – a big leap forward from 50 dogs in 2006. Today, the society operates a shelter in northeast Calgary, and a chapter in Edmonton. The Calgary shelter, meanwhile, is expanding to a new 13,000 square foot facility, including a 3,000-square-foot veterinary hospital.

AARCS has been instrumental in so many distressed animals’ lives – especially in the last few years in Alberta’s history. They helped to save 600 animals in the Calgary floods, and 1,100 in the Fort Mac fires (they were awarded with a Leadership & Innovation award by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for their work in the fires).

That’s a big deal. And when we asked Thompson what she would say to an animal about to be rescued, she had a powerful message: “You’ve got a new chance at a great life. We’re going to make that happen.”

That one gets us right in the heart.

To lend a hand (or paw) to the great work that AARCS does every day, visit aarcs.ca.


The Healer
Amy Li

Getting mental health issues out in the open – and on the run.

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Amy Li

The Healer
Amy Li

For a busy, ambitious young medical student, Amy Li boasts a pretty solid career in community work. She started volunteering at the Distress Centre Calgary in 2012, where she provided peer crisis support over the phone.

“This alerted me to the large gap in students' perception of mental health – and the importance of involving peers in reducing mental health stigma,” says Li.

Mental health issues have always been paramount for Li. As a young girl, she watched her grandfather’s struggle from Parkinson’s. His retreat from the world, and the isolation it caused him, affected her greatly. This was instrumental in Li’s career path. She went on to study neuroscience at the University of Calgary, and is now in her final year of medical school.

To clear her mind, Li runs, spending countless hours training for marathons. And that’s where she realized her work toward mental health solutions could step out of the medical field, and into the community.

“Running has always been an important part of my own mental health, so creating a community run seemed like the perfect way to bring people together and create better mental health awareness in the community,” Li says.

With this in mind, Li and her close friend Leah Shipton started Outrun the Stigma. The event includes talks about mental health, and a massive community run. To date, the group has raised over $44,000 for the Distress Centre of Calgary. There are currently chapters operating in Calgary and Edmonton.

Every aspect of the event is organized by student volunteers. “The inspiring student leaders that we have in our organization are key to our success over the past four years,” says Li.

“Empowering student leadership is incredibly important to me. Our goal is to create student chapters at universities across Canada.”

It’s an admirable movement – and a great way to get moving to get mental health issues out in the open, and into the streets.

To get a closer look at Outrun the Stigma, share your own story, or support the movement, visit Outrun The Stigma.

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The Protector
Tara Robinson

Empowering teens to make solid choices in a challenging world.

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Tara Robinson

The Protector
Tara Robinson

Tara Robinson has always had an eye for the stories that impact people’s lives. As a CTV reporter in Swift Current, Lethbridge, Regina, Toronto, and Calgary, her insatiable love for news brought her up close and personal with newsmakers, Prime Ministers, and heartthrobs – as well as everyday people doing extraordinary things.

She also saw another side of our culture through her crime reporting, interviewing killers, gangsters, and predators. “I knew something more had to be done to protect the youth in our society,” says Robinson.

With that in mind, Robinson is thrilled to move past reporting on crime, and become very active in preventing it. She now serves as Executive Director at YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, which uses real-time, immersive programming to help kids navigate the challenges of drugs, bullying, online safety, gangs, and healthy relationships.

It’s a highly interactive facility, unlike any other in North America. The work they do is amazing, and it truly does open kids’ eyes to the danger of crime – and stay safe.

“If youth are given the straight facts, they have a far higher chance of making the right decision when faced with difficult situations,” says Robinson. “We do this in a really safe place with a really compassionate team who know how to make that special connection with kids.”

And they leave YouthLink smarter than when they walked in. Which is brilliant, because as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And as Robinson says, “Every child deserves to be safe for life.”

We couldn’t agree more.

To learn more about the important work that YouthLink does to help teens protect themselves in this challenging world, visit Youth Link Calgary.

Get The Look

The Healer
Amy Li

For a busy, ambitious young medical student, Amy Li boasts a pretty solid career in community work. She started volunteering at the Distress Centre Calgary in 2012, where she provided peer crisis support over the phone.

“This alerted me to the large gap in students' perception of mental health – and the importance of involving peers in reducing mental health stigma,” says Li.

Mental health issues have always been paramount for Li. As a young girl, she watched her grandfather’s struggle from Parkinson’s. His retreat from the world, and the isolation it caused him, affected her greatly. This was instrumental in Li’s career path. She went on to study neuroscience at the University of Calgary, and is now in her final year of medical school.

To clear her mind, Li runs, spending countless hours training for marathons. And that’s where she realized her work toward mental health solutions could step out of the medical field, and into the community.

“Running has always been an important part of my own mental health, so creating a community run seemed like the perfect way to bring people together and create better mental health awareness in the community,” Li says.

With this in mind, Li and her close friend Leah Shipton started Outrun the Stigma. The event includes talks about mental health, and a massive community run. To date, the group has raised over $44,000 for the Distress Centre of Calgary. There are currently chapters operating in Calgary and Edmonton.

Every aspect of the event is organized by student volunteers. “The inspiring student leaders that we have in our organization are key to our success over the past four years,” says Li.

“Empowering student leadership is incredibly important to me. Our goal is to create student chapters at universities across Canada.”

It’s an admirable movement – and a great way to get moving to get mental health issues out in the open, and into the streets.

To get a closer look at Outrun the Stigma, share your own story, or support the movement, visit Outrun The Stigma.


The Protector
Tara Robinson

Tara Robinson has always had an eye for the stories that impact people’s lives. As a CTV reporter in Swift Current, Lethbridge, Regina, Toronto, and Calgary, her insatiable love for news brought her up close and personal with newsmakers, Prime Ministers, and heartthrobs – as well as everyday people doing extraordinary things.

She also saw another side of our culture through her crime reporting, interviewing killers, gangsters, and predators. “I knew something more had to be done to protect the youth in our society,” says Robinson.

With that in mind, Robinson is thrilled to move past reporting on crime, and become very active in preventing it. She now serves as Executive Director at YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre, which uses real-time, immersive programming to help kids navigate the challenges of drugs, bullying, online safety, gangs, and healthy relationships.

It’s a highly interactive facility, unlike any other in North America. The work they do is amazing, and it truly does open kids’ eyes to the danger of crime – and stay safe.

“If youth are given the straight facts, they have a far higher chance of making the right decision when faced with difficult situations,” says Robinson. “We do this in a really safe place with a really compassionate team who know how to make that special connection with kids.”

And they leave YouthLink smarter than when they walked in. Which is brilliant, because as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And as Robinson says, “Every child deserves to be safe for life.”

We couldn’t agree more.

To learn more about the important work that YouthLink does to help teens protect themselves in this challenging world, visit Youth Link Calgary.


The Motivator
Andrew Obrecht

Motivating big changes in people’s lives and the community, one booming spin class at a time.

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Andrew Obrecht

The Motivator
Andrew Obrecht

A few minutes in Andrew’s Obrecht’s spin class will leave your heart racing – literally. Booming music, club-like lighting, shouts and hollers, and incredible physical exertion. That’s what YYC CYCLE is all about, and it’s an explosive experience. And Obrecht uses all that energy to harness an incredible community of positive people.

“Being a motivator is my purpose,” he says. “It’s so much more than spin. YYC CYCLE classes catalyze positivity, passion, motivation, overcoming, community, authenticity and simply happiness(!) – for every member of the YYC Bikergang. And it extends out into the community.”

That community effect is very real. Through the GIVE’R program and fundraising classes, where new riders donate to a cause – which they choose together – the “Bikergang” has raised $230,000+ for local charities and initiatives, in just three years. That’s a lot more than just a good sweat. It’s a movement.

Buoyed by the success of YYC CYCLE, Andrew and his partners will soon have two YEG CYCLE studios in Edmonton – bringing that power to more Alberta cities, and more communities.

After all, spin is all about breaking down limits. In Obrecht’s view, we are all confined by the walls we have built ourselves. “YYC is all about breaking those walls down and striving for greatness together. We work towards creating a platform for riders to elevate themselves mentally, spiritually and physically, while inspiring those around them to do the same.”

Inspiring indeed. Obrecht is happy to be at the heart of a great community. When we asked him for final words, he tapped into the momentum that seems to define him:

“We’ve only just started.”

To get motivated with the Bikergang and its community work, visit yyc-cycle.com.

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The Explorer
Susan R. Eaton

Exploring the places where ocean meets ice and air, to better understand our planet.

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Susan Eaton

The Explorer
Susan R. Eaton

Susan R. Eaton is a true renaissance woman—she’s a geologist, geophysicist, journalist, conservationist and polar snorkeler. Following in the footsteps of celebrated arctic explorers 100 years later, Eaton is preparing to snorkel the entire Northwest Passage with an all-woman team.

A senior leader in Alberta's energy sector, Eaton explores for oil and gas in Western Canada and around the world. She also explores the world’s oceans up close—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, the places where ocean meets ice and air. It’s also the place where she encounters charging 1,400-pound leopard seals in Antarctica, chatty belugas and tusked narwhals in the Arctic, and migrating salmon in the northern rivers of Haida Gwaii.

Eaton’s polar expeditions have earned her a place as one of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s top 100 Canadian modern-day explorers and trailblazers.

She’s also the founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, an international team of women that includes ocean explorers, scientists, journalists, movie-makers, photographers, educators, and medical and scuba diving professionals. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, Team Sedna will mount a snorkel relay of the Northwest Passage—all 3,000 kilometres of it—to scout, document and record the impacts of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

Since 2014, Sedna’s “sea women” have brought the ocean to eye level for Inuit girls and youth—many of whom don’t swim—using mobile aquariums temporarily populated with sea critters, and by running underwater robot-building camps. Last summer, the sea women led Inuit girls and Elders on snorkel safaris in Frobisher Bay, introducing them to the marine life below the waves in their own backyards.

The Sedna Epic Expedition inspires girls and youth to think big, and follow their dreams. Eaton speaks to groups of all ages across Canada and the United States, including K-12 students here in Calgary, about her explorations from Antarctica to the Arctic. A role model for female empowerment, she encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

As an earth scientist and polar explorer, Eaton contributes unique insights to the discussion of the interplay of plate tectonics, ocean currents, glaciers, climate, and wildlife. Her work plays a crucial role in explaining our changing world. To learn more about the Sedna Epic Expedition and explore the sea women’s ocean education program, please visit sednaepic.com.

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The Motivator
Andrew Obrecht

A few minutes in Andrew’s Obrecht’s spin class will leave your heart racing – literally. Booming music, club-like lighting, shouts and hollers, and incredible physical exertion. That’s what YYC CYCLE is all about, and it’s an explosive experience. And Obrecht uses all that energy to harness an incredible community of positive people.

“Being a motivator is my purpose,” he says. “It’s so much more than spin. YYC CYCLE classes catalyze positivity, passion, motivation, overcoming, community, authenticity and simply happiness(!) – for every member of the YYC Bikergang. And it extends out into the community.”

That community effect is very real. Through the GIVE’R program and fundraising classes, where new riders donate to a cause – which they choose together – the “Bikergang” has raised $230,000+ for local charities and initiatives, in just three years. That’s a lot more than just a good sweat. It’s a movement.

Buoyed by the success of YYC CYCLE, Andrew and his partners will soon have two YEG CYCLE studios in Edmonton – bringing that power to more Alberta cities, and more communities.

After all, spin is all about breaking down limits. In Obrecht’s view, we are all confined by the walls we have built ourselves. “YYC is all about breaking those walls down and striving for greatness together. We work towards creating a platform for riders to elevate themselves mentally, spiritually and physically, while inspiring those around them to do the same.”

Inspiring indeed. Obrecht is happy to be at the heart of a great community. When we asked him for final words, he tapped into the momentum that seems to define him:

“We’ve only just started.”

To get motivated with the Bikergang and its community work, visit yyc-cycle.com.


The Explorer
Susan R. Eaton

Susan R. Eaton is a true renaissance woman—she’s a geologist, geophysicist, journalist, conservationist and polar snorkeler. Following in the footsteps of celebrated arctic explorers 100 years later, Eaton is preparing to snorkel the entire Northwest Passage with an all-woman team.

A senior leader in Alberta's energy sector, Eaton explores for oil and gas in Western Canada and around the world. She also explores the world’s oceans up close—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, the places where ocean meets ice and air. It’s also the place where she encounters charging 1,400-pound leopard seals in Antarctica, chatty belugas and tusked narwhals in the Arctic, and migrating salmon in the northern rivers of Haida Gwaii.

Eaton’s polar expeditions have earned her a place as one of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s top 100 Canadian modern-day explorers and trailblazers.

She’s also the founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, an international team of women that includes ocean explorers, scientists, journalists, movie-makers, photographers, educators, and medical and scuba diving professionals. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, Team Sedna will mount a snorkel relay of the Northwest Passage—all 3,000 kilometres of it—to scout, document and record the impacts of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

Since 2014, Sedna’s “sea women” have brought the ocean to eye level for Inuit girls and youth—many of whom don’t swim—using mobile aquariums temporarily populated with sea critters, and by running underwater robot-building camps. Last summer, the sea women led Inuit girls and Elders on snorkel safaris in Frobisher Bay, introducing them to the marine life below the waves in their own backyards.

The Sedna Epic Expedition inspires girls and youth to think big, and follow their dreams. Eaton speaks to groups of all ages across Canada and the United States, including K-12 students here in Calgary, about her explorations from Antarctica to the Arctic. A role model for female empowerment, she encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

As an earth scientist and polar explorer, Eaton contributes unique insights to the discussion of the interplay of plate tectonics, ocean currents, glaciers, climate, and wildlife. Her work plays a crucial role in explaining our changing world. To learn more about the Sedna Epic Expedition and explore the sea women’s ocean education program, please visit sednaepic.com.


The Innovator
Mary Anne Moser

Finding the wonder and creativity in science – and sharing it with, well, everyone.

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Mary Anne Moser

The Innovator
Mary Anne Moser

Mary Anne Moser is all about the thrill of discovery, and the wonder of nature – and where the two meet in people’s lives. She’s a scientist, communicator, artist, and teacher, and the founder of some key science communication programs in Canada, most recently Beakerhead.

Beakerhead is a thing to behold: an eclectic combination of art and science workshops, feats of engineering, culinary events, and performances of all kinds. Founded in 2013, the program has grown steadily, and in 2016, Beakerhead brought fun, funny, surprising science programming to 130,000 people.

For Moser, it’s all part of a larger calling: to explore where science and society connect. “I love seeing how the world was put together – and how humans are part of this natural environment.”

Understanding that place has been Moser’s life’s work. After completing her BSc in Zoology, she went to work for the Banff Centre, where she founded the Banff Centre Press. A decade later, she was back in the mountains at Banff to start the celebrated Science Communications program (SciComm), a deep dive into all modes of science communication, from writing to video to radio and podcasts. This led to naturally to the establishment of Beakerhead, in all its quirky glory.

Moser has also been involved in many initiatives to increase the appeal of science careers for girls and women. And she founded the national Iron Science Teacher contest, a contest that celebrates innovation and creativity in science teaching.

Above all, she wants to remove science from its shackles, and emphasize the wonder that it can bring. “Our culture seems to want everything to be black and white, but science doesn’t really work that way. An aspect of delight — if you look closely — can be found in every innovation.”

And that perspective is a breath of fresh air, indeed.

To connect with your own true self – at the crossroads of art, science, and engineering – check in with Beakerhead.com.

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The Educator
Ariam Wolde-Giorgis

Helping newcomers find their place in our fair city – and connect with community.

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Ariam Wolde Giorgis

The Educator
Ariam Wolde-Giorgis

Ariam Wolde-Giorgis grew up, for the most part, right here in Canada. She arrived with her family at age three, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before they all moved to Calgary in 1997. So Calgary is where she spent most of her adult life.

That said, her parents were strangers in a new country, and so Wolde-Giorgis has always been deeply connected to the newcomer experience. She’s passionate about helping people from across the world feel more at home here. And she began this work at a young age, working to support the growing Eritrean community in Calgary.

Community is everything, and social connections are crucial: “We know from social research that lacking social connections is as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” she says.

This community work is a calling for Wolde-Giorgis, and so she pursued her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Ethnicity, Immigration, and Multiculturalism. Today, she has more than 10 years’ experience volunteering with Calgary-based organizations. In her current role, Wolde-Giorgis works with community associations and local not-for-profits, to support community life and inclusive neighbourhoods. The main goal is to build the capacity of the leaders of the 151 community organizations and 70 other non-profits, so they can maximize their impact and create vibrant neighbourhoods.

“There are a lot of great resources in Calgary,” Wolde-Giorgis said, “but people simply don’t know about them.” Wolde-Giorgis received the Immigrant of Distinction Award (“Achievement under 40”) in 2015, and was named one of the 20 Compelling Calgarians for 2016 by the Calgary Herald.

She’s thrilled to be at the center of community work, connecting people with resources and opportunities across the city. “Calgary is an amazing place. I know that together, we can make it a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

To get a closer look at the important work the Calgary Federation of Communities is doing, visit calgarycommunities.com

Get The Look

The Innovator
Mary Anne Moser

Mary Anne Moser is all about the thrill of discovery, and the wonder of nature – and where the two meet in people’s lives. She’s a scientist, communicator, artist, and teacher, and the founder of some key science communication programs in Canada, most recently Beakerhead.

Beakerhead is a thing to behold: an eclectic combination of art and science workshops, feats of engineering, culinary events, and performances of all kinds. Founded in 2013, the program has grown steadily, and in 2016, Beakerhead brought fun, funny, surprising science programming to 130,000 people.

For Moser, it’s all part of a larger calling: to explore where science and society connect. “I love seeing how the world was put together – and how humans are part of this natural environment.”

Understanding that place has been Moser’s life’s work. After completing her BSc in Zoology, she went to work for the Banff Centre, where she founded the Banff Centre Press. A decade later, she was back in the mountains at Banff to start the celebrated Science Communications program (SciComm), a deep dive into all modes of science communication, from writing to video to radio and podcasts. This led to naturally to the establishment of Beakerhead, in all its quirky glory.

Moser has also been involved in many initiatives to increase the appeal of science careers for girls and women. And she founded the national Iron Science Teacher contest, a contest that celebrates innovation and creativity in science teaching.

Above all, she wants to remove science from its shackles, and emphasize the wonder that it can bring. “Our culture seems to want everything to be black and white, but science doesn’t really work that way. An aspect of delight — if you look closely — can be found in every innovation.”

And that perspective is a breath of fresh air, indeed.

To connect with your own true self – at the crossroads of art, science, and engineering – check in with Beakerhead.com.


The Educator
Ariam Wolde-Giorgis

Ariam Wolde-Giorgis grew up, for the most part, right here in Canada. She arrived with her family at age three, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before they all moved to Calgary in 1997. So Calgary is where she spent most of her adult life.

That said, her parents were strangers in a new country, and so Wolde-Giorgis has always been deeply connected to the newcomer experience. She’s passionate about helping people from across the world feel more at home here. And she began this work at a young age, working to support the growing Eritrean community in Calgary.

Community is everything, and social connections are crucial: “We know from social research that lacking social connections is as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” she says.

This community work is a calling for Wolde-Giorgis, and so she pursued her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Ethnicity, Immigration, and Multiculturalism. Today, she has more than 10 years’ experience volunteering with Calgary-based organizations. In her current role, Wolde-Giorgis works with community associations and local not-for-profits, to support community life and inclusive neighbourhoods. The main goal is to build the capacity of the leaders of the 151 community organizations and 70 other non-profits, so they can maximize their impact and create vibrant neighbourhoods.

“There are a lot of great resources in Calgary,” Wolde-Giorgis said, “but people simply don’t know about them.” Wolde-Giorgis received the Immigrant of Distinction Award (“Achievement under 40”) in 2015, and was named one of the 20 Compelling Calgarians for 2016 by the Calgary Herald.

She’s thrilled to be at the center of community work, connecting people with resources and opportunities across the city. “Calgary is an amazing place. I know that together, we can make it a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

To get a closer look at the important work the Calgary Federation of Communities is doing, visit calgarycommunities.com


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