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With five simple steps, Calgary Economic Development President and CEO Mary Moran has provided an inspiring and innovative way for people to help build a better Calgary.

Moran provided a path forward from the current downturn in her keynote address at Calgary Economic Development’s annual Report to the Community emphasizing the need for economic diversification, shared prosperity and sense of community.


Here is an excerpt from her speech to 700 leaders from business, community groups and government on May 17 urging everyone to step up and get involved:

  1. Advocate for the energy sector: If you don’t know much about the industry - educate yourself and then educate your friends across the country – whose lives have likely been influenced by the energy sector. Promote that this is one of the world’s most highly regulated industries, encourage support for pipelines, and help change the narrative to conversations about renewables and fossil fuel not renewables “or” fossil fuels.
  2. Support your local businesses:  If you need to use a printer, architect, consultant, a caterer or hire a video production company – look at your local businesses. Even shifting 10 per cent of your spend can help some of our smaller businesses during these times. Calgary has amazing talented people here and supporting these businesses will help Calgary prosper.
  3. Hire a student: If you’re in a growth position and can hire, I encourage you to look at the bright talent pool coming out of our universities and colleges. For those of you with tight budgets but plenty of work – consider a work term or an internship. At Calgary Economic Development we just hired two bright interns this summer. They’re smart and understand that, during this downturn, work experience is key to their future opportunities. 
  4. Diversify your business: If you’re among the 85 per cent of Alberta-based companies that only conduct work in this region, organizations like ours can help you expand to new markets through our trade program at our Global Business Centre.  If you’re struggling as a regional player, then we encourage you to consider pivoting to other value-added opportunities. If we are unable to help you then we have many great partners that can help you achieve these goals too. 
  5. Embrace innovation: This applies to government, all levels of education, large businesses, start-ups, and even mom-and-pop shops. Innovation is our future. The good news for Calgary is we have all the right ingredients – including a trail-blazing, technology-driven workforce (sprinkled with an emerging creative base), great schools, rigorous research and development, inspirational places and spaces to collide and collaborate, improving policies designed to attract more (non-energy) investments, an abundance of resources and last not but not least - a can-do attitude like no other city. 


Innovation was a key topic during a panel discussion about Tomorrow’s Calgary moderated by Deborah Yedlin of the Calgary Herald with Arlene Dickinson, chief executive officer of Venture Communications and District Ventures; Brad Zumwalt, a partner at Zinc Ventures; Bryan de Lottinenville, the chief executive officer at Benevity Inc.; Aproorv Sinha, research manager at zEroCor Tubulars Inc.; and Stephen Kaufman, general manager of corporate technology for Suncor Energy.

“When you have a critical mass of forward thinkers that acts as a catalyst,” Sinha said.

In a city renowned for its active lifestyle and can-do attitude, a few steps in the right direction will build on our innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial energy in Calgary.

CED 05 17 2016 0269 NB1 6504

Check out the full presentation here:

Photos by: Benjamin Laird

BY Stephen Ewart

Manager, Research & Strategy

Research & Strategy

Stephen joined our Communications team in 2016 from the Calgary Herald where he was a columnist on the energy industry. He had previously worked in communications roles with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Cenovus Energy, Encana and Precision Drilling and in journalism with The Canadian Press and the Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick.

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