Amber Niemeier

Top 40 Under 40 2016

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 36

Job Title: Director, Communications and Advocacy YWCA Edmonton

Why She’s Top 40: Her passion to inform and engage the public about the YWCA Edmonton’s programs and advocacy for women and girls is effective enough to stir people into action.

Guilty Pleasure: “I like many fine Scotches. I am one of the first people to ever have a passport at The Bothy (wine and whisky bar).”

Amber Niemeier grew up in Mill Woods with her three sisters and single mother in a neighbourhood with a lot of low-income housing. Niemeier says she was too young to understand the details, but knew when female neighbours came by to shed tears at her mother’s kitchen table, that there was a great deal of strife around her.

She and her friends labelled themselves “Mill Woods Heroes” for growing up in the rough neighbourhood and coming out of it all right.

“We all pulled together. My mom always instilled in us to be kind and understanding.”

She ran with that advice and started at YWCA Edmonton in her early 20s as a communications assistant.

“Most of the education that I have for doing what I do, I learned at the YWCA.” She credits the charity’s women for giving her every opportunity possible, such as sitting on boards and travelling.

“I’ve been able to do some crazy stuff because my answer is always ‘yes.’ It may turn out well, it may [not], but I’m going to give it a shot.”

Saying “yes” led Niemeier to be a Canadian YWCA delegate for the 56th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She presented YWCA Edmonton’s position to YWCA Canada, opposing human trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. And she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Service to Canada.

Collaboration with other charities, government agencies, private sector and the community is a big part of her job as well. These partnerships improve existing programs and better serve Edmonton’s women, girls and families. 

“My philosophy in life is to conduct yourself so that at the end of your life you know that you are leaving this world a little better than you found it.”

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