Rebecca Morley | Top 40 Under 40 2018
photograph by jared sych at the YWCA Inglewood show suite at West Canadian Digital Imaging; Hair and makeup by Tamsyn Gagne, Kira Gregory, Amy Maetche and Michelle St. Croix (Artists Within)
Why she’s a 2018 Top 40 Under 40:
With her financial acumen, drive and community spirit, Rebecca Morley is shaping some of Calgary’s most important organizations, including the new $60 million home of YW Calgary.
For an indication of Rebecca Morley’s relentless perseverance, consider how she landed her first job after graduating from university on the East Coast. Morley knew she needed to stand apart from the pack of more qualified applicants if she was going to get the job as a research associate with TD Securities. So after her first phone interview she followed up with the hiring director. Religiously. “I called him every week for eight weeks,” she says. “I would have gone anywhere in the world for that job.”
Thankfully, it brought Morley back to Calgary, her hometown and a city where the accomplished financial analyst, volunteer board member, athlete and mother of two daughters has put her determination to work in quite literally shaping the city.
Case in point: the new $60 million YW Calgary building currently under construction in Inglewood and which came about under Morley’s leadership as chair of the YW Calgary board from 2016 to June 2018. The project began in 2012, around the time Morley joined the board as a member. During her tenure she was closely involved with the sale of the YW’s downtown site, one of the largest land transactions in Calgary’s recent history, and helped to successfully lobby municipal, provincial and federal governments for project funding.
The YW Hub will open next spring and will eventually provide homes for 100 vulnerable women and 90 childcare spaces as well as counselling services, a gym and community kitchen. The project, completed by an all-female board, executive and architecture firm, will also be left with operational funding projected at more than $25 million. It is a significant first for Calgary, Morley says.
“It’s a great message to men and women in Calgary about the things that can be accomplished when we get together,” she says.
It’s an even bigger feat considering Morley managed to pull it off while also acting as audit committee chair for Birchcliff Energy Ltd., parenting two active daughters — both ski racers — and training for Ironman Canada, which she completed for the first time this past summer despite being hit with two flat tires during the cycling portion of the race and record-breaking heat. “It didn’t unfold exactly how I imagined,” she says, “but it was magical.”
She is quick to point out her accomplishments didn’t come without help and advice along the way. “It’s okay not to know what you’re doing all the time,” she says. “And it’s okay to ask for help.” Just don’t let that get in the way of putting yourself out there. “You’ve got to put your hand up,” she says. “Sometimes you get picked.” —Jessica Barrett