In addition to being a long-time Poppy Barley customer (4 years and counting!), Nancy is a natural leader with a curious mind who has helped to shape how Edmontonians move with and interact with the city. As the Vice President of Urban Planning for the Edmonton-based global design firm Stantec, Nancy is passionate about creating better and more livable cities that reflect the lives and the needs of the people living in them.
“Always look forward. You can’t change the past,
but you can change your future.”
“Always look forward. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future.”
Vice President, Community Development, Stantec – Urban Planning and Urban Places Canada
What I’m reading:
There There by Tommy Orange.
What I’m listening to:
Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa – 2018 Polaris Music Prize winner – recommended by my son.
Workout of choice:
Cycling – outdoors and spin classes. And lots of walking.
What I’m doing when I’m not at work:
I’m a “foodie”. I love to cook. My ideal Saturday is planning and executing a great meal for friends. From finding the freshest and most unique ingredients at the market to sourcing out the best wines. At the moment, the Pearl Morrissette winery in southern Ontario is one of my Canadian favourites.
What is one thing about yourself, that people will be surprised to hear?
As urban planners, one of the things we do a lot of is “public speaking”. I’m much more comfortable with it now but didn’t enjoy it at all when I started.
What’s one thing would you like to see a change within the industry you work?
Like many industries today, the land development business still lacks a lot of women in leadership roles. It is changing and we have made some good progress, but we are not there yet. Having more women in leadership roles is the “right” thing to do but it is also a way to ensure better design outcomes in “city-building”. Our communities are diverse – made up of individuals with many different backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. There’s a lot of research that clearly demonstrates that diversity is very important for success in both business and designing communities. As urban planners, we work to bring this approach to city-building.
What woman or women, have impacted your life the most (personally or professionally)?
This is such a tough question to answer. There are so many women that have impacted my life in different ways at different times.
For example, Michelle Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (great movie on her career and life – “RBG”). There are also women in the city-building world that I admire as ground-breakers in innovation – a good example is Janette Sadik-Khan, who transformed New York City’s streets for pedestrian, cyclists and green spaces.
I’m also in awe of the many talented and smart women that I work with every day. They bring such creative thinking and enthusiasm to what they do. This inspires me on a daily basis.
This summer I met a young woman who is a Syrian refugee. She and her husband, and their 4 young children fled their home in Syria and spent 2 years making their way to Canada. Their difficult journey included all sorts of hardships and challenges. She spoke no English when they arrived in Canada. This kind of an experience would be hard enough as an individual, so completing it with four young children in tow is even more extraordinary. Her courage and sense of calm were inspiring to me.
One piece of advice you would give your younger self
“Always trust your instincts”. I have learned that it is important to listen to your “inner voice”.
Your motto or words you live by?
Always look forward. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future.
As an avid Poppy Barley fan for many years, what does Luxury for the People mean to you? How do you connect to it?
I really like the philosophy that Poppy Barley embraces as part of their brand. There is social responsibility and ethical values integrated into how the company operates. That is important to me in my work life, and it is part of our values at Stantec. Poppy Barley is genuinely and deeply connected to the community in Edmonton, and to the community in Leon, Mexico. I love the combination of style, function, and craftsmanship in the products. This is such a wonderful success story that has come out of the vision and hard work of these two talented young women and entrepreneurs. What is not to love and connect to??