Changing the Climate


Under the banner of "Changing the Climate", communicators and leaders from all sectors will converge at Keyano College on January 17th for the third annual Community Image Summit.  This incredibly important dialogue builds on the efforts of the Community Image Steering Committee that was struck in 2006 to address the imbalance in coverage we were receiving from many of the media outlets that were covering our exponential growth.  That representative group, comprised of 16 to 20 individuals, worked with an agency called Grey Vancouver to create the original Big Spirit campaign. The big spirit idea still resonates over a half decade later and often weaves itself into the language we use to talk about our hometown. It is also the name of a publication that does a tremendous job highlighting the incredible people and stories that emanate from our region.


Last year's gathering of communication practitioners were joined by the Leadership Wood Buffalo class for an awesome day of dialogue and discovery, pitched in an un-conference format.  This year's event will be a little different, going from discussion to planning to implementation, all within a single afternoon.

A dinner social will be capped off by the Global Address in the evening featuring a panel discussion with Seamus O'Regan from CTV News, Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea (GBS), and Her Worship Mayor Melissa Blake from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Inspired by the fact that O'Regan and Doyle are both fierce proponents and champions of Newfoundland and Labrador, effectively using their celebrity to create positive brand equity for their home province, the Global Address discussion will explore lessons learned, past and current challenges, and ideas for changing the climate of understanding about Wood Buffalo. It is going to be an unforgettable conversation capped off by a few tunes by Mr. Doyle, the leader singer of GBS.

Who should attend the Community Image Summit?  Do you have to have a marketing degree or communication role to participate?  Absolutely not.  We expect to have keenly interested people from all three levels of government, industry, media, nonprofits, and the public sector.  If you have passion and/or interest in our community image issue, then you should attend.

To book a ticket to the Global Address, or to sign-up for the full package that includes the Community Image Summit, dinner and the event featuring our fearsome trio of celebs, click here.  There is a little check box you'll need to click if you want the $100 package price for the full meal deal.

As I shared during this morning's media announcement, speaking on behalf of Mayor Blake: "We have a bold vision of our future, to emerge as A GLOBAL MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING IN THE NORTH.  Fundamental to the plans we have adopted and supported by the billion dollar budget we approved on Tuesday night is ACTION. This Community Image Summit and the dialogue that will happen between Mayor Blake, Alan Doyle and Seamus O'Regan will catalyze the incredibly positive things that are happening and will be happening over the next few years into strategic ideas that could help re-position Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo in the minds of fellow Albertans, Canadians from coast to coast, and people around the world."


"Ian Hill suggests that Wood Buffalo has the potential to be the Athens of the 21st Century.

The Nexus North initiative is tapping into the truth that we co-exist with 'the single largest industrial project in the history of mankind'.


Hometown the Musical, opening February 15th, is going to hit that emotional sweet spot that will help illuminate why so many people come here on the proverbial two-year plan, but end up staying for their working life."



"I have a dream," began Martin Luther King Jr. in that famous speech from 1963. His dream was of justice, freedom and equality for all.  My dream for Wood Buffalo isn't quite that expansive, but it is a dream nonetheless.  I imagine, and long for the day, that when the names of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo get dropped in conversation on some busy street corner is some major metropolis halfway around the world, that instant associations occur with unparalleled natural beauty, opportunity and unfailing big spirit.

And much like New York City has successfully re-branded themselves as one of the greatest destinations in the world, I believe that we have the people, potential and natural assets to do the same here. The Community Image Summit is an important step in helping us reach this achievable dream.

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