Global Woman of Vision: Lisa Holmes
Her passion for public service drives her work and volunteer life.
January 9, 2017
photography by Fred Katz Photography
Lisa Holmes’ passion for public service began in the small town of Hanna, Alta., where she grew up. Her parents made volunteering a priority and were consistently giving back to the town — and that mindset had a huge impact on her. “We [Holmes and her siblings] learned to embrace loving your town and giving time. I believe that is one of the reasons I chose a position where I can do that in a great way,” says Holmes.
While she lived with her husband and two boys in Edmonton for over a decade, Holmes eventually moved with her family to Morinville in search of a small town atmosphere. She got involved in the community immediately: within a year, she ran for council, and within three years, Holmes, at 32, was elected mayor. However, that’s not the end of Holmes’ responsibilities — she is also the president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, which represents 34 municipalities.
Between her two roles, she deals with challenges like managing Morinville’s rapid growth and championing child and youth initiatives, and serves on committees focused on everything from increasing women’s participation in municipal government to community safety and crime prevention. The relatively small size of Morinville has given Holmes the ability to have a greater say than if she were in a larger municipality, and she fully believes that changes implemented somewhere like Morinville can have an impact on a much larger scale as well. “The way the world works now is you can come from anywhere, any small town, village, summer village in Alberta and be able to influence change,” she says.
When her term as mayor ends, Holmes is uncertain about whether she will be running for public office again, but one thing is for certain — whatever she continues to do, it will involve serving the community. “Because I believe in community service so much, I know that no matter what just giving back is my mantra and I’ll always have opportunities for that,” says Holmes. She’s finishing up her Master’s degree in Leadership, and looking with excitement at all the challenges to come. “I think that people want to do everything so quickly,” says Holmes. “Things come to you if you take risks and if you jump in with both feet, out of your comfort zone.”