Hometown Advantage Webinar Series
Welcome to the Hometown Advantage webinar series! Each webinar in this series aims to create a space for economic development professionals to meet, share insights and challenges, and learn from their colleagues. The one-hour sessions each focus on a specific economic development challenge and are led by economic development professionals.
Besides hearing from leaders in the profession, participants have the opportunity to join breakout sessions to share their thoughts on the topic and hear from their peers. Register for one of the upcoming webinars below.
How to be Successful at Economic Development Without Blowing the Budget
Economic developers are not often in the position where they have too much money to do the work they need to do. So, what are some tricks for doing economic development on a shoestring budget – especially when you’re trying to get multi-year projects off the ground? Join business development lead, Heather Hallgrimson, for a lively discussion with Deb Brown and Becky McCray from SaveYour.Town on how to save money while being effective at your job. Deb and Becky will share actionable, pragmatic ideas that apply to a wide variety of contexts. Both Deb and Becky have world-class ideas and the unique ability to communicate them clearly and with a lot of energy. Register today!
Deb grew up on a farm outside of Geneva, Iowa, population 141. Her first entrepreneurial venture was raising a hog. You’d find her either with her nose in a history book or out exploring abandoned houses and buildings. Funny, things haven’t changed much, she’s still working on filling empty buildings in small towns.
A wealth of experience includes leading a small town chamber of commerce, foreign casualty insurance underwriting, bartending, retail management, selling knives, and working with small towns. Deb has lived in tiny towns, small towns, small cities and a major metro city. Yet, she’s come home to a small town, Webster City, Iowa, and travels to many others to help. Deb is a relentless optimist and knows how to build possibility in your small town. Better yet, she inspires you to take small steps towards a brighter future for your community.
Becky believes small towns have a future. She watches the global trends in the economy, technology and society, then she delivers practical steps rural people can implement right now to shape the future of their town. Her advice is based on her real-world experience as a lifelong entrepreneur and cattle rancher.
Becky’s career in small towns includes work as owner of retail stores, as city administrator for a municipality of 990 people, as an executive with rural nonprofits and as a teacher of computer and business classes. In 2004, she ran for state legislature, losing by just one vote per precinct. She believes we learn from both our successes and our failures, even when those failures are printed in the local newspaper. She makes her home in Hopeton, Oklahoma, a town of 30 people. She doesn’t just talk about rural issues; she lives them.
Deb and fellow co-founder for SaveYour.Town, Becky McCray believe small towns can be saved – including yours! They also know that no one is coming to do it for you. You’re going to have to step up, and they want to help.
The webinar is free and takes place Wednesday, May 11th, 12 – 1 pm MDT
Regional Synergies Webinar Series
In this discussion series, Co-operatives First speaks with business and community leaders that have formed regional partnerships. In particular, we explore rural and Indigenous partnerships across western Canada. The goal is to discover how members of neighbouring communities come together to share resources, knowledge, and a vision to create opportunities where not only the individual community, but the region can share in the benefits of working together.
Episode 1: South Island Prosperity Partnership
For the first webinar in the series, we sat down with leaders from South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP).
SIPP is an alliance of over 70 public and private-sector partners in Greater Victoria, including 11 local governments, nine First Nations, three post-secondary institutions, nine industry associations and nonprofits, and more than 30 major employers. SIPP’s goal is to bolster the region’s economic and social prosperity. To do this, they create high-quality, household-sustaining jobs, so that more families can afford to live, work and build a life in the region.
The webinar took place on December 8th, 2021.
Kear Porttris, South Island Prosperity Partnership Board Director
Director, Indigenous Relations, QM Environmental
Elysia Glover, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, South Island Prosperity Partnership
Episode 2: Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance
Prince Albert Saskatchewan, known as the Gateway to the North, has a long history with Indigenous communities, not only in the vicinity but to communities throughout Northern Saskatchewan. Through a partnership to generate economic activity, the City of Prince Albert and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation have built a relationship and continue to create business opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
Please watch the discussion with Gary Merasty, CEO of Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies and Ashley Charles, CEO of the Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance and learn what opportunities the partnership is creating and how they approach relationship building.
Gary is the Chief Executive Officer for the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Group of Companies (PBGOC). He brings years of diverse leadership experience gained from senior roles leading northern enterprises serving two terms as Grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council and as a Member of Parliament. He has also sat on numerous for-profit and non-profit boards ranging from a multi-billion dollar publicly traded board to a community-based board focused on mobilizing northern and Indigenous talent into our Canadian workforce. Gary is originally from and raised in the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation community of Pelican Narrows in northeastern Saskatchewan.
Ashley is a well-known advocate for creating economic development opportunities and serves as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for PAREDA (Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance) connecting City, Municipality and First Nations in fulfilling the PAREDA vision which is long term, shared economic prosperity across the Prince Albert region.
Before Ashley joined PAREDA, she served in various capacities revolving around Community Economic Development in areas of Education and Training, Human Resource Management, Management Consultant and General Management predominately in the Natural Resource and retail sectors. A key focus of her work has been social responsibility to improve relations with and for the benefit of the Indigenous communities in Northern Saskatchewan with Cameco, Silver Standards Resources and SaskPower.
Ashley earned a Business Administration diploma through a joint partnership program between the U of S and U of R. She then continued her education to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through Cape Breton University, specializing in Community Economic Development. Ashley is a proud mother of two.
Watch Past Webinars
Getting Creative with Business Succession
Besides the “silver tsunami” of retiring baby boomers and the ensuing business transitions coming with it, the pandemic has caused most small businesses to rethink their strategies or business models. In this webinar, we’ll talk to two experts with hands-on experience with business transitions and revitalizing existing ones. If you’re an economic developer worried about main street businesses or how to manage business retention and expansion in the age of business transitions, you’re not going to want to miss this episode.
Alison Anderson, Founder and CEO, Succession Matching
Dan Ohler, Professional Relationship Coach & Employee Ownership Specialist at Dan and Carol Ohler, Relationships by Design
The webinar took place Wednesday, March 16th
Finding Win-Wins: the when, where, and why of partnerships
Partnerships can bring overworked and short-staffed economic development offices and officers a lot of value and capacity. But not all partnerships are of the same quality, and some can bring more headaches than they’re worth. Watch this insightful discussion about when to seek out partners, what to look out for in a partnership, and why you might choose one partner over another.
Featuring: Bev Thornton, Executive Director, Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance and Sandy Elzinga, Manager of Community Economic Development, Community Futures Boundary
Hosted by Heather Hallgrimson, Business Development Lead for Co-operatives First, on November 17th, 2021.
Investment, funding and financing: Finding money for economic development
As economic developers, it may often feel like you have to beg, steal, or borrow to get the money you need to do economic development projects. In this webinar, we speak with a panel of economic development professionals who’ve been through it all. Watch it now to learn how they manage to finance projects and the strategies they used to find the money they needed to get projects funded.
Featuring: Lauren Johnson, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Shaunavon and Lana Cowling-Mason, General Manager for Community Futures West Interlake.
Hosted by Heather Hallgrimson, Business Development Lead for Co-operatives First
Arts, Culture, and Economic Development
Art and economic development may not seem like the most natural of strategic partners, but rural communities are turning to arts and culture to attract visitors and businesses alike. In this recorded webinar, Heather Hallgrimson, Business Development Lead for Co-operatives First, speaks with three experienced economic development professionals who have leveraged arts and culture in their communities to promote their hometown advantage.
Fostering Innovation in Rural Communities
Heather Hallgrimson, Business Development Lead for Co-operatives First, and two economic development professionals explore ways to foster innovation in a region through community economic development strategies.
Remote Workers and Covid-19 Trends Impacting Economic Developers
Heather Hallgrimson, Business Development Lead for Co-operatives First, and two economic development professionals dig into how trends set in motion by the pandemic are impacting economic development and discuss how to respond.