Meghan Unterschultz

Top 40 Under 40 2017

Photography Aaron Pedersen

Age: 37

Job Title: Associate Executive Director and Vice President of People and Culture, Francis Winspear Centre for Music and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

Why She’s Top 40: She’s made a mark on the city through her work with non-profits and passion for volunteering

Years ago, Meghan Unterschultz was a research assistant in religious studies, interviewing everyone from Satanists to Sikhs. One of her subjects told her, “Your temple is wherever you happen to be standing at the moment.” Reminiscing today, the quote reminds her of her mother, who always says, “I’m happiest wherever I am.”

Unterschultz credits her mother, the former executive director of the Stony Plain Multicultural Heritage Centre, for the life she’d go on to build. She had Unterschultz volunteering at 10 years old, playing a pioneer girl dressed in a pinafore for a local museum. Then her father, suffering from multiple sclerosis, lost his job when his employer moved to a building without an elevator. All of this kindled an interest in disability rights, feminism and social justice, all of which led Unterschultz to the non-profit sector and a life of volunteering.

Her calling has amassed Unterschultz a long list of achievements; the play she wrote for the United Nations alongside her drama group, the communications business she founded and ran for four years, her time in the community wellbeing working group under the Mayor’s Task Force for the Elimination of Poverty and her work on the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton. She also sat on the board of Parkland Turning Points Society, which provides counseling for victims of family violence. Today she sits on the board of Goodwill Alberta and is a Big Sister mentor, on top of her role at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music.

“It wasn’t until I was working in the non-profit sector that I felt like I finally came alive in my work,” Unterschultz says. “I guess you really do grow up to be your mother.”

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