Founder and President, kg&a
Sector: Private Sector
Magic Moment: I was a consultant for the City of Toronto and we had commissioned a demographic study of Toronto’s changing population. We needed the report to help leverage resources and support, but it was collecting dust. I contacted the Toronto Star and their first demographics reporter, Elaine Carey and the next weekend the headline on the cover of the Toronto Star was “Minorities set to be Majority – 52% of Toronto non-white.” The headline became a catalyst for change and city council took notice. So did I. And I begin to realize the power of media.
Key Influence: My Aunt. One of my first, and most impactful mentors is my aunt who worked at B+H Architects and later founded her own successful design firm in Toronto. My aunt was my introduction to the world of design but more importantly she taught me the nuances of being a woman in business.
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: I think we’re having fractured conversations that are impeding our ability to really drive change because they are impeding our ability to build a cohesive and strategic narrative for the region. The resilient growth in the GTA should be recognized as a singular success story. That’s not to suggest that we aren’t without our faults and failures. But when you take a long view at the change that has happened in the GTA over multiple decades, it’s hard to find a suitable comparison in North America. We have the expertise locally to address the gaps and if you engage with all the disparate parties involved in development, it’s evident that we also have the willingness. But we’re stuck in our own bubbles. We need more collaboration and to break down walls between the industry and the general public. Engagement doesn’t have to be confined to zoning applications. There is an opportunity and need to build better relationships between the private development industry and the public at large.
Secret Talent: I’m a long-distance swimmer.
On Championing Others… At kg&a we’re in a position to help our clients tell their stories. One story we always love telling is all the exciting ways woman are driving innovation in real estate. There is a growing number of smart, inspiring woman in positions of leadership, ranging from entrepreneurial self-starters, to senior executives at large corporate firms, from sustainability experts, to planners and designers. We’ve most recently helped tell the story of the all-female development team working on Reina Condos. We’ve highlighted the senior leadership at B+H. We’ve profiled female entrepreneurship at Q4A. And we’ve helped program a panel of female thought leaders in the realm of sustainability with the ULI earlier this year, to name a few.
One word that captures you: Singular. I never like doing the same thing twice.