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Henry Sikora

Organization: Community Futures West Interlake

Position: General Manager


When I was first hired in the field of economic development, it was as the executive director of the Town of Dauphin (then Town, now City) economic development department. It was a very lonely position. The RDC’s existed and met regularly, but they were a closed group; and what is now known as CF Manitoba was just being formed to serve the needs of Community Futures. As a community development officer in 1993, there were not even a handful of us in all of Manitoba. And you pretty well worked in a vacuum. No internet back then. I have always believed that Economic Development is not a competition, but rather doing the best with what you have – what are your strengths and how do you build on them, and what are your weaknesses and how do you deal with these (basically SWOT analysis). As such, I am not in completion with Brandon, Flin Flon, Winnipeg, Selkirk or anyone else. My opportunities and challenges are my own. I also believed that my community could only grow if the region grew, and if Manitoba grew. Growth, unless it is resource exploitation, seldom happens in isolation. So the more of us doing economic development in Manitoba, meant that there should be more opportunities for my community; the more I was connected to the development world and government, the more sharing and generation of opportunities. The more I could learn and share, the better I could do my work. EDAM gives me opportunities to learn, to mentor, to gain knowledge, to network, to be connected. Yes to be connected – and it is really interesting to me that this is what the internet, cell phones, emails, blogs, Facebook and all the new social media offers everyone today. As a community developer, I could do more, do it better and be more successful. Lofty goals for EDAM, but I think it has been mostly successful.



Colleen Engel

Organization: Town of Teulon

Position: Community Resource Officer


I joined EDAM as a way to stay in touch with others in the profession and learn how to actually complete some of the ideas that were floating around inside my head! It can be lonely as Henry says! I was trying to direct my position more towards community development but needed some input/direction. I find the forums an excellent way to stay in touch and to meet people doing the same type of work. I enjoy being part of the organization and working to increase our presence!



Tammy Hudyma

Organization: Community Futures East Interlake

Position: General Manager


Networking and gaining a provincial perspective has invaluable to me in my position. Being on the board and participating in projects/seminars that EDAM has been involved in has enabled me to have a wide network of individuals to call on a wide variety of topics. Learning from my peers has been one of the biggest advantage of being an EDAM member.



Deanna Fridfinnson

Organization: Community Futures East Interlake

Position: Economic Development Coordinator


The ultimate challenge of a newbie is to fit in with the crowd. This is not a challenge when you are connected with professionals that make you feel like they have always known you. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

EDAM opens communication to share experiences and pass on resources to other professionals. They provide experiential training to re-energize you.

Learn it – Use it – Share it – Pass it on!!



Ian Goodall-George

Organization: Manitoba Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs

Position: Regional Consultant


What has EDAM meant to me? Quite simply it was the single greatest networking, confidence building and skill development opportunity I’ve ever had. It provided me an opportunity to met people and go places I never would have had an opportunity if I wasn’t an active member. Within my first week of starting my first job I was sent to an EDAM forum by my boss. When I asked him what I was supposed to do there, he said one word. Listen. Listen to what people are saying, listen to what they are doing and most importantly listen to who they are because they will be the people who you will rely on for advice, assistance and support.

My boss was right. In the +10 years I was an EDAM member I met many people, made many friends, and learned why Manitoba is such a great Province to live and work in.



Maurice Bouvier

Organization: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

Position: Executive Director


EDAM has been a valuable tool for me as an economic development professional. The opportunity to learn as well as network, share and collaborate with colleagues has been invaluable.



Lindsay Dandeneau

Organization: Manitoba Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade

Position: Business Consultant


While my first words were not “community”, ”leadership”, or “collaboration”, economic development was spoken about so much in our house that these words resonated with me like the chorus of a song. And so at the age of 21 my journey as an EDO began. And while I often felt like the new kid on the block; too junior in my position to make a real contribution and too young to gain the respect of my colleagues – EDAM was there. I immediately felt like I was part of a community; a community of people like me who cared so much about their communities that they would dedicate their life’s work to it. I was like a sponge and in a few short years I grew the confidence that I needed to serve my community in the best way I could.

Thank you EDAM for the opportunity to get to know and learn from such a diverse group of people and to really appreciate why Manitoba, from all corners of the province, is the best place to live, work and raise a family!



Ken Reimer

Organization: Community Futures Heartland

Position: General Manager


As a new Economic Development Officer out of University, I didn’t have an EDO manual to look things up in, I didn’t have a contact base of other EDO’s, and I certainly didn’t know the industry at all. Then I went to some EDAM events, and things started to fall into place. Instantly I had a huge network of contacts across the Province to ask advice from. I had fellow EDO’s that have “been there, done that” and became my “manual” for information. Taking part in EDAM functions has led to many insightful and beneficial relationships that continue to this day. The learning, networking, and sharing events that EDAM puts on cannot be found anywhere else in the Province. Each EDAM member brings their own strengths to the association, and sharing those strengths leads to stronger communities across our Province. I have also had the privilege to serve on the EDAM Board of Directors, and they continually strive to bring value, relevance, opportunities and knowledge to the people involved in creating stronger and more vibrant communities. As long as I am in the field of Economic Development I will be an EDAM member.



Lana Cowling-Mason

Organization: R.M. of Woodlands

Position: Community Economic Development Officer


When I started in Economic Development, it became clear that this career was going to involve a great variety of projects. Building a network of peers that had experience in various projects was very important. EDAM has allowed me to develop that network of contacts that I can call on for information and experience. The networking, combined with the training opportunities offered at the Forums are a valued resource for me and anyone else working in the field.



Lesley Gaudry

Organization: R.M. of De Salaberry

Position: Economic Development Officer


Being a member of EDAM is so much fun. The organization hosts Fall Forums that are engaging and interesting. Being new to the profession, it was so helpful having a team of experienced EDO's to turn to when I needed further information about a particular subject or project. The EDAM executive and Shelley and her team make it easy to stay informed and connected.



Pat McCallum

Organization: Arborg-Bifrost Community Development Corporation

Position: Economic Development Officer


Being new to rural economic development, my membership in EDAM has been invaluable! Not only am I able to attend excellent, informative workshops, but I have been able to network with people in other communities who have the experience and knowledge that I lack. I'm very pleased with how willing everyone is to share their opinions and wisdom. Although I work in a one-person office, I feel that I am part of a much larger community through EDAM.



Edward Suzuki

Organization: Economic Development Winnipeg

Position: Senior Manager


I was introduced to EDAM about 10 years ago and the purpose was to develop a network of peers in the economic development profession and learn. Needless to say, it is been an evolving and challenging field to work in. Without the support from an organization like EDAM, my professional development would have been difficult to achieve. EDAM has given me the opportunity to see how others grow and what obstacles they face. Equally important is the fellowship that has evolved that has helped me deal with my day-to-day activities. Whether you are from an urban or rural setting, our challenges remain the same. It is the people you will meet and collaborate with that will help you grow, from those who have the experience to those who have the new and invigorating ideas. These are the people of the Economic Development Association of Manitoba.



Joel Lemoine

Organization: CDEM

Position: Financial and Business Advisor


During the past 10 years as a Financial Business Advisor and a member and board member of the Economic Developers Association of Manitoba (EDAM), the organisation has allowed me to meet individuals that work in the same field as I do. The Association has given me the opportunity to connect with Economic Development Officers, both federal and provincial government representatives, municipal representatives and other economic developers to share best practises and exchange ideas to better the sustainability of our communities. Being a member of EDAM provides me with a network and a link with the economic development profession across Canada.