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2021 Leaders Awards

Honouring Calgary’s Great – and Resilient – Business Leaders


Leading a business during the best of times is challenge enough. The day-to-day of managing clients and employees, dealing with regulatory and supply chain issues, anticipating future developments, ensuring growth – all of this is plenty to handle. Leading a business through a global pandemic, with the attendant and ever-changing health concerns and lockdowns is, as many can now attest, an entirely different and difficult endeavour, unlike any previously faced by Calgary’s business leaders.  

Unchartered waters, so to speak, requiring varying and overlapping survival strategies: adapt, diversify, prioritize, pivot, gain efficiency, contract. Those businesses that have been able to make it through the pandemic to today have leaders who have made countless agonizing decisions to get here – and here they are – `stronger and more resilient than ever. Looking forward to brighter days ahead. 

Our 13th Leaders Awards aim to celebrate these valiant business leaders and their historic achievements. Just one year late since, due to the pandemic and lockdowns, we were forced to postpone the 2020 Leaders Awards, for the first time ever.  

But the awards must go on, as does life, and we celebrate the men and women who not only provide great services and products to their community, but who have led the way the past 20 months.  

“The Leaders being recognized this year are exceptional in that the past 20 months have been anything but predictable,” says Trina Holland, associate vice president, Diversified Industries, ATB Business. ATB has been a major sponsor of the Leaders Awards for years. “Spanning a wide range of industries, the leaders have shown that the Calgary business community is vibrant, diverse and innovative. To be a successful leader in this environment has required levels of resiliency, patience, and unwavering optimism unlike we have ever seen.” 

This year’s Leaders have businesses in a variety of industries, from robotics to consumer products, oil and gas to media and entertainment. Together, they employ close to 7,000 people. 

“This year’s selections likely have the most diverse industry groups that I have noted since being involved in judging,” says returning judge Trevor Winkler, regional managing partner at MNP. “This does speak to the growing breadth of quality businesses in our city that are acknowledged leaders.”  

A range of criteria were used to choose the winners. “Market leadership, innovation and community engagement were foremost for me,” says judge Catherine Grygar, a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP. “A Business in Calgary Leader, in my view, has the acumen to identify opportunities and potential where others may not, has an ability to translate vision into action, and is engaged in the communities where they work and live.”  

“On evaluation of a nominee, we certainly look at that respective leader’s involvement, innovation and strategic guidance of the business as well as long-term viability of their business model,” continues Winkler. “Another notable characteristic that is evaluated would be their contributions to the local community – not just financial, but in time as well.” 

A gala to celebrate this year’s winners will be held at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre on November 24.

Click here to view the Leaders 2021 Winners.