Alison Jackson will take on the role of managing partner with EY in Calgary this summer. Wil Andruschak, © Postmedia Content Works
Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
EY’s new managing partner in Calgary has a key message for the many local clients of the business services firm.
“We’re in our fourth year of an economic downturn related to commodity prices,” says Alison Jackson, who will take the helm of EY’s operations in the city this summer.
“Everyone knows that well, but what I see is that Calgary has a unique entrepreneurial spirit.”
While it’s long been associated with its oil and gas sector, the city is undeniably going through a transition phase, one in which green shoots are sprouting up from innovative entrepreneurs launching startups in tech, agribusiness and other sectors unrelated to energy.
But whether it’s an established oil-and-gas firm or a fledgling software company, all share the same drive, she says.
Jackson should know. She has been working with businesses of all sizes in the city for about a decade. She also experienced this kind of economic transition when she worked in Kitchener- Waterloo, Ontario.
“It’s an area that went through a trying transition period from a traditional manufacturing economy to a high-tech hub,” she says about the region in Ontario that gave rise to one of Canada’s greatest tech success stories.
“So I’m really excited about taking the reins at a time when this city is looking to diversify its economy as well.”
EY is certainly well positioned to help — as one of the world’s leading business services firms, it is able to bring a global perspective to the local market.
“Our role is to bring new ideas, offer a fresh mindset and ask challenging questions,” she says. “We often show clients what’s happening elsewhere in Canada, or around the world, in other business sectors that may not be as prevalent in Calgary.”
The company plays a particularly important role in helping companies adopt new technologies.
“Saying ‘technology transformation is important’ is like motherhood and apple pie these days,” Jackson says. “But the piece where we differentiate ourselves is that we’re focused on adopting these technologies, too.”
EY’s experience with innovations such as process automation help it assist clients that are implementing similar technologies to eliminate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency.
But EY doesn’t merely focus on helping businesses innovate, compete and grow. It is a central figure in the community, too.
“We’re a huge supporter of the United Way,” says Jackson, who is also a board member with the charity.
For Jackson, EY’s role with both business and the community is aligned.
“It’s all about making Calgary one of the best places in Canada, if not the world, not only to do business, but to work, live and play.”
This feature was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.