Lisa Baroldi

Top 40 Under 40 2012

Photography Pedersen

Age: 32

Job Title: Director and Vision Holder, Progress Unlimited

Why She’s Top 40: Her ability to embrace the big picture and create successful movements.

Key To Success: “Seeing the connection between everything.”

Lisa Baroldi has a reputation for “making things happen.”

For example, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights contracted her to coordinate Edmonton’s 2009 Global Youth Assembly (GYA), a four-day social justice conference for young people. Baroldi coordinated the whole event and raised funds to bring in delegates from developing countries – enough of them to fill a gymnasium.

“I didn’t think of it as just a conference,” she says. “We were feeding into a global youth movement and we started calling it that.”

Baroldi can see a potential movement in anything, even the city skyline. In 2010, she founded the Designing Downtown series that brought people together from Vancouver and Edmonton for ideas on urban enhancement. The discourse convinced local downtown condo developers Regency Development (Edmonton) and Pacific Palisades (Vancouver) to imagine themselves as agents for social change and urban renewal.

She’s also used her persuasive powers to bring in a $1.2 million grant for the New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service from Alberta Justice. “The first of its kind in Canada,” she says. Two supporters of the service grant, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and Boyle Street Community Services, further engaged her to obtain a multi-million dollar contract from Alberta Human Services to provide what she terms “a game-changing child and family service delivery model” aimed to reduce the disproportionate number of Aboriginal children and youth in care.

“My role,” says Baroldi, “is to help people see themselves and what they do as bigger and better so that others do, too. This requires creating a strong vision and holding that vision … so that everyone involved is always thinking big. The result is bigger than a campaign; it’s a movement.”

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