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.
Watch Past Webinars
Building Futures Scenarios for Rural Western Canada
Are you interested in gaining insight into the future of rural communities in Western Canada? In 2023, Co-operatives First gathered a team of 21 economic development professionals and rural-living enthusiasts to complete an 8-week intensive scenario-building activity, resulting in the creation of 4 distinct possible futures for rural Western Canada. Led by the experienced Certified Foresight Professional Mary Doyle, we gathered data and insights of what rural life in Western Canada could look like 10 years from today.
This webinar provides an opportunity to learn about the practice of foresight and how it can be used to inform futures scenarios.
Ways to do Food and Grocery in Smaller Centres
Many people in rural or remote communities want to add more options for fresh local food, but people who live in these communities know that you sometimes need to get creative in smaller centres. In this webinar, we will feature ways that communities in western Canada have bolstered their local food system with co-operative solutions.
Kevin Raymond, Executive Director at Primrose Lake Economic Development Corporation (PLEDCO) and president of the Île-à-la-Crosse Co-op Association
Caroline Brindle, Founder, C. Brindle Consulting Group and Vice-Chair of Squamish Fresh Co-operative.
Opportunities for Scaling Home-based Businesses in your Community
Home-based businesses bring creativity and variety to a community. Whether it’s woodworking, baking or something completely original, these little businesses provide heart and character not found in larger companies or big box brands. But operating on their own can be somewhat limiting for the entrepreneur. This webinar explores ways these intrepid business owners can scale while maintaining their unique character and independence.
Aging in Place: Seniors Housing in Rural Communities
Providing proper housing and care for seniors in rural communities is a growing concern for many regions. In this webinar, we speak with Monique Chenier, Economic Development and Tourism Manager at Sunrise Corner Tourism & Economic Development, and Harvey Douglas, a Board Member with the Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Cooperative. These two leaders from rural communities talk about their local solutions.
Emotional Resilience and Effective Stress Management
The last few years have been challenging to say the least. Business owners, economic developers, community leaders, and everyday citizens have weathered an emotional storm, and many are burnt out. In this webinar, emotional intelligence expert Hayley Hesseln discusses building emotional resilience and effectively managing stress. Dr. Hayley Hesseln has dedicated her 20-year career as a university professor to teaching and learning. She is an economist and professor at the University of Saskatchewan with extensive experience working with Indigenous communities in the North. Active in education in the North, she has served as a Research Associate for the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the University of the Arctic. Dr. Hesseln co-founded EI ADVANTAGE and is responsible for its curriculum development. Dr. Hesseln is Vice-President of EI Advantage, a coaching and training firm specializing in emotional intelligence. Dr. Hesseln is an alumnus of the Royal Roads University Executive Coaching program in Victoria, BC, Canada and a Member of the International Coaching Federation.
Cultivating Welcoming Communities
Immigration provides numerous benefits to a community. For example, it can help fill labour shortages and strengthen the long-term vitality of your community. But it’s essential to have newcomer services that make people feel welcome and support their social and emotional health and well-being. Ensuring housing is available and creating opportunities for connection and belonging are two examples of how to cultivate a welcoming community.
Wendy Petersen, Community Development Analyst, Community Futures Westman and founding member of Hand in Glove, a community-based cooperative that provides newcomers with an opportunity to earn an income, meet new people, and learn new skills. Read their story HERE. Ariel Haug, Gravelbourg Economic Development Officer, baker, artist, and member of the Gravelbourg Artisan Co-operative.
Leveraging your local assets: How to use what you have to create exceptional tourism experiences
Playing to your strengths is a time-honoured strategy for economic developers. For rural economic developers, it’s especially important to leverage every asset your town or region has to claim a stake and make a difference. Strapped for time and money, attracting investment and growing local businesses is a lot more than a full-time job. It’s a passion that attracted the best and brightest amongst us. In this webinar, we’ll speak with two economic development professionals with a talent for turning local assets into an exceptional tourism experience.
The webinar took place Wednesday, June 15th, 2022.
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.
Featuring: Deb Brown, Becky McCray
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. Featuring: 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.
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.