Right now in Calgary, we don’t all seem to agree on the direction for the future of the city. That’s often viewed as a negative situation. But one reason we don’t all agree is that there are more of us at the table. A wider range of Calgarians than ever have a voice and are getting involved in helping to answer the questions. So although we may not all agree on what will make this city better, it is a positive thing that we have such a huge range of people working on it.
In 2019, we had the highest number of Top 40 Under 40 nominations we’ve ever had in Calgary — approximately 800 across a wide range of communities, industries and types of success. It’s a positive indicator of the health of the city.
After our nominations close, our editorial team shortlists from the initial pool of candidates down to just under 70 nominees we send to our judging panel. Drawn from Top 40 alumni and the business community, our judges provide a wide range of experience to help us select the final Top 40 Under 40 for the year. We really couldn’t do it without their help.
One of the things that has stood out to me about the Top 40 Class of 2019 is how many of them are working to create bridges between communities and to help make not only a better city, but a city that is better for all Calgarians.
Nabeel Ramji is helping to build a more accessible city, which will make life easier not only for people in wheelchairs, like himself, but for parents with strollers, small children and anyone with mobility issues (which is the vast majority of us at some point in our lives). Dr. Marshall Ross has created an opiate overdose protocol being used by emergency doctors across the province, improving life not only for addicts, but also for emergency room staff. Jung-Suk Ryu has already helped to grow the capacity and sustainability of Indefinite Arts Centre now he’s trying to transform it into the National accessArts Centre, a national centre for artists with disabilities. Isis Graham is both highlighting and building opportunities for Alberta’s electronic musicians, while Curtis Running Rabbit-Lefthand is doing similar work to support young Indigenous musicians. Dr. Fareen Zaver is building online curricula and communities to help support medical students, so they don’t have to struggle as much as she did. And Bill Alexander is aiding reconciliation by sharing Indigenous cuisine locally, nationally and internationally.
These days it is easy to find the bad-news stories. But with Avenue’s Top 40 Under 40 you will meet the Calgarians working to solve the problems. The Top 40 Under 40 is the good-news story of the year.
I know that for some, reading the Top 40 can be a bit disheartening — how can these people possibly achieve all these things? Do they somehow have more hours in the day than the rest of us? But I hope you can also see the inspiring sides to their stories and feel uplifted in knowing that these people aren’t just doing great things, but doing great things here in our city. And if you know someone we should have featured, don’t hesitate to act on it: nominations for next year’s Avenue Top 40 Under 40 are open now at Top40Under40.com.