Kate McKenzie | Top 40 Under 40 2020

Kate McKenzie creates films that share inspiring stories of hope and resiliency, and also helps entrepreneurs thrive through ATB X.

Hair by Michelle Truong, Diva Salon Spa; makeup by Kristy Bond, Artists Within. Photograph by Jared Sych.

Age: 36

Job title: Director of Worldviews Productions and Manager at ATB X

Why she’s a 2020 Top 40 Under 40: Kate McKenzie creates films that share inspiring stories of hope and resiliency, and also helps entrepreneurs thrive through ATB X.

Junior high teacher turned filmmaker Kate McKenzie is open about her years-long battle with depression. It’s part of the reason she created Worldviews Productions, a film company focused on stories of hope amongst challenges and struggles.

Her first feature-length documentary, The Secret Marathon, sold out two theatres during the Calgary Underground Film Festival — a first in the festival’s history.

The film documents the stories of women who run in the Marathon of Afghanistan.

“Many of the women that participate in the marathon, this is actually their first time running outside,” says McKenzie. “[Normally] when they run outside, people throw rocks at them, call them a prostitute or send them threatening messages.”

The marathon’s location is even kept a secret until the last minute to prevent terrorists from attacking participants.

After filming The Secret Marathon, McKenzie started The Secret 3k run/walk. This year, The Secret 3k was hosted in 16 locations across Canada and half the proceeds went to Girl Guides of Canada, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and the Marathon of Afghanistan itself.

McKenzie’s message of positive storytelling has resonated with audiences. She has travelled throughout Canada to produce short documentary films about unsung heroes and has conducted 25 workshops and presentations to 750 people across Canada to promote the power of sharing positive news. She was also invited to share her experience and findings through a TEDxYYC talk.

McKenzie also manages ATB X — an accelerator program for growth-stage businesses.

“I love that I get to help entrepreneurs as well as tell amazing stories of cool people doing awesome things. I kind of feel like I have the best job ever.”

This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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