Centre of Hope Rebrand

When you're a local politician you get invited to a lot of special events and the one that was scheduled for early yesterday morning was something to do with the Centre of Hope (COH).  Even as I turned the corner to get to the ballroom at MacDonald Island and ran into Mike Reid, a current participant of the Leadership Wood Buffalo program, I still had not made the connection.

The early morning presentation was indeed focused on the Centre of Hope, a vital service provider in the downtown core of Fort McMurray that is a lifeline to our homeless population, but it was also the culmination of the work that one of our Leadership Wood Buffalo case study groups had put into facilitating a re-brand of the organization.

I started putting two and two together to come up with four as soon as I noticed table after table sporting the 25 participants of the community leadership program and a healthy collection of community leaders and stakeholders.  The Leadership Wood Buffalo banners and the presence of executive director Alexandra Tarasenco were additional clues that had it not been so early in the day I may have picked up on earlier.

The fearsome five, consisting of Mike Reid, Megan Steiestøl, Moriam Sadiq, Kelsey Stefanizyn, and Lena Abassi, worked with the Centre of Hope and engaged the talents of Stefane Trottier, creative director at Fullview Design, to deliver a whole new look.

"Our co-venture with COH began with a new brand design," said Trottier, in the rollout video shared at the event. "We wanted to create an icon that would represent what they do and who they are."

"The cross integrated in the typeface of the logo expresses their strong christian values and traditions. The new Centre of Hope website is clean and user friendly. The navigation structure is clear - easy to find what you're looking for."

As Amanda Holloway, executive director of the Centre of Hope wrapped up her comments, Councillor Don Scott turned to me and asked whether the group of individuals who led this project were Leadership Wood Buffalo graduates.

"No," I said.  "They are in the current class."

The look in Don's face said everything.  He was gobsmacked.  These are inspired leaders who are absolutely making a difference.

Inspiring support and a shared vision for the future is greatly affected by how you tell your story.  The Centre of Hope now has a chest full of tools to illuminate the important and life-changing work they are doing every single day in Fort McMurray.  Their passion and compassion provide a hand up to hundreds and thousands of people who desperately require it.

As I explored the new website (Great work Stefane and company!), I found a page that has a number of images of a potential new home for this community asset.  While Dr. Wong's former office has more than served its re-purposed role as home base for COH, a new facility would be a welcomed addition to our renewed and re-imagined city centre.

I hope that some of founding forces behind Leadership Wood Buffalo run into this post and relish in the fact that the dream they made reality back in 2006 is truly making a difference in Wood Buffalo.  The pride that I feel in being a part of this program, as both an alum and board member, continues to spike, with yesterday's unveiling of the Centre of Hope re-brand marking a new summit.  With less than a week till TEDxFortMcMurray happens - another project being driven by a Leadership Wood Buffalo case study group - I know that the pride I feel will continue to soar.


  1. Beautiful post Russell. Isn't the proposed building amazing?!


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