Rona Fraser

Top 40 Under 40 2013

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 39

Job Title: President of Event Energy and Director of Development at the Nina Haggerty Centre

Why She’s Top 40: She runs a successful event company while also working to keep the love alive at the Nina Haggerty Centre.

What Do You Like Best About Edmonton?: “The people are so gracious and so outgoing and willing to get out there and make a difference.”

Rona Fraser is a lot of things: Half-marathon runner, Sunday school teacher, mother. But above all, she’s a planner. That’s why she’s dedicated her work life to not just one job, but two.

Through her company, Event Energy, Fraser’s raised more than $1.8 million for local not-for-profit organizations, ranging from the Canadian Cancer Society, to Ronald McDonald House, to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.

But it was her work at Event Energy that led her to her other job, as director of development at the Nina Haggerty Centre, a facility that works with adults with developmental disabilities through various forms of art, including painting, dance and glasswork. She became involved with the centre 10 years ago when she was hired to plan the launch of the organization. About one year ago, the centre hired her to work part-time, raising money and awareness. “I’m in love with the Nina Haggerty Centre and everything that they do,” says Fraser. “The difference they’ve made in people’s lives over the years is so inspirational to see that I want to be a part of it in any way that I can.”

Her voice quickens when she talks about “Shane,” someone she sees daily at the facility. Although Shane can’t speak, he’s found a way to connect with people at the centre through his art, says Fraser. He even sells some of his pieces – 50 per cent of proceeds from the work at the centre goes to the artist, while the other half goes towards the operating costs of the centre. “He walks around with the sense of pride that he’s an artist now and there’s just this sense of happiness when he’s there that just exudes off of him,” explains Fraser.

Fraser also aims to bring awareness to the centre’s goal of raising $250,000 through its latest campaign, Keep the Love Alive. So how does she decide with which organizations she’ll work? “It’s definitely the places that I can make the most difference and that I feel that I can have an impact on what they’re doing.”

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