I’m Erin Stevenson and I’m a City Councillor for the City of Spruce Grove. I ran for the first time this past October and was successful as one of six councillors (and four new!) Thank you for visiting my website.
My little website is all about getting to know me and how I expect to serve and represent the residents of Spruce Grove.
My Spruce Grove Story
My connection with Spruce Grove goes way back. My parents moved to Spruce Grove in January, 1980 and were the third family to move into Grove Meadows (back then it was the newest subdivision in the town).
I grew up in the town and was lucky to be one of the 10,000 residents here when, in 1986, Spruce Grove- with George B. Cuff as Mayor, went from a town to Alberta’s newest city.
I attended K-12 in the Grove as a french immersion student (Queen Street Elementary School, Woodhaven Junior High School and Spruce Grove Composite High School) and attended the United Church and Christian Fellowship Churches. My parents were active in the church and my mother was the choir director while my dad showed up dressed as a blue songbook (Psalty the Songbook) for many of our church musicals. I have pictures…
I was active in the community- CGIT, Edmonton Journal games, peer support, volleyball player, piano player, youth group, active in band and student politics (I was co-President of our student council in high school). I am also the high school valedictorian for the graduating class of 1994. My first job was as a cashier at Safeway, one of the better paying jobs for us headed to college and university and needing to pay our way through school.
I moved away for my NAIT radio practicum in 1996 to Kelowna but only for a few short months. I moved back for work and to go back to school, and lived here in the Edmonton area until I moved to Ottawa in 2001. When I moved back 2003, I bought a condo in west Edmonton where I lived for 8.5 before buying a house in Greenbury in 2012 and moving in to my new house in June, 2013.
My parents still live here (37 years and counting) as do both my brothers and my nephew. My sister, her husband and kids lived here for years before moving to an acreage not far from here. We all grew up here, we all see Spruce Grove as home and I certainly want every generation to experience Spruce Grove for what it has to offer us, now and well into the future.
I live in Greenbury and my brother (he’s a full-time single dad and I am super proud of him) and his son Liam (7) live with me. The family is complete with the additions of the two crazy furbabies, Marley (3) and Dexter (1).
My Political Experience
While this was my first time running for municipal politics, it is not my first experience in politics. While I was a student at MacEwan University (when I went it was still know as Grant MacEwan Community College), I ran for and won the position of VP Academic for the Students’ Association (SA). I ran a second year and won and halfway through that term, took over as President of the SA when our President resigned. I ran a third time for President and won that election too. I served 3 years in the students association and continued my political life moving to Ottawa in 2001 to work for the Canadian Alliance of Students Associations (CASA). While a student leader at MacEwan, our SA joined CASA, a student led organization that lobbies the federal government on post-secondary issues. I worked there for 2.5 years before returning home to Alberta.
While serving as a student leader, I gained a tremendous amount of experience at all three levels of government (four if you count student politics as its own beast). I’ve presented to Edmonton City Council regarding the U-Pass initiative, I’ve met countless MLAs and ministers on post-secondary issues and I’ve met with and worked alongside MPs, cabinet ministers and even former Prime Ministers on issues that CASA lobbied for.
I was also a member of the MacEwan Board of Governors while I served as President. I sat on numerous committees- academic council, financial aid appeals board, executive member of our provincial lobby group and more.
I consider myself a lifelong learner and I’ll be one foot in the grave and still taking a course or two, I’m sure. My curiosity for knowledge keeps me busy taking some type of program. It’s not unusual to hear about me taking another program while I work and keep up with the rest of my life. Let’s work backwards on this one, shall we?
In the summer of 2017, I completed my program at Cornell University. It is the Women in Leadership certificate program and I learned a tremendous amount about women and the barriers they face in their business life. But so too come the opportunities and finding ways to bring the “take care” and “take charge” skills to our leadership positions.
In 2016, I completed the Award of Achievement in Data Analytics (certificate) from the University of British Columbia (UBC).
In late 2015, I completed my Master of Arts- Integrated Studies degree from Athabasca University, graduating in early 2016. I had two focus areas (majors): Work, Organization and Leadership & Writing and New Media. I enrolled in the program full-time and completed my masters degree in two years rather than 4-5 years doing it part-time. I continued to work full-time while I went back to school. There may have been a few “what am I doing?” moments sprinkled in there, but I’m happy I did complete in two years so I could move on to other learning opportunities.
In 2008, I graduated with a Bachelor of Professional Arts degree in Communications Studies from Athabasca University.
In 2000, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts diploma (with a focus on the social sciences) from MacEwan University (at the time, College).
In 1996, I graduated from NAIT with a diploma in Radio and Television Arts. My focus was in radio.
My Work Experience
Currently, I work as the Manager of Marketing and Social Media at Athabasca University. I’ve held this position for the last 3.5 years and continue to find it challenging and rewarding work.
There are a few jobs to list so rather than going into great detail as if this were a CV, I’ll highlight the type of work I’ve done.
I’ve worked in the public sector, both for the Government of Alberta and in my current position at the university. I’ve worked at non-profit organizations including an international association headquartered out of Scotland (I was their only Canadian employee). I’ve worked for private companies– from start-ups companies right to a giant mining company with their head office in Edmonton. I’ve also been a business owner, having owned my own marketing and communications company for a few years before an accident took me out physically for 6 months to recuperate.
My experience in nearly all types of jobs has given me a breadth of understanding and recognition of various work environments and challenges. But one thing remained the same, Alberta is full of hard workers, more progressive and understanding that we can be led to believe and we are resilient, talented and full of ideas.
I have a love of wine. In 2011, a group of friends and I started a wine club, aptly named “The Grape Escape”. We meet once a month and it’s a great way for us to keep connected, have some adult time without the kids and we learn about wine and food and how important it is to have close friendships. We’ve met every single month, our membership is over 30 people and there is no end in sight to this get-together!
Because of my love for wine, I completed the first level in the International Sommelier Guild course so I know a little bit of what’s in the glass!
I am also a certified Organic Master Gardener. I am certified through GAIA College in BC in partnership with the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain. I took it originally so I wouldn’t embarrass myself when developing my backyard. I’m glad I earned the certification and all of my gardens are chemical free and thriving!
I am an avid hiker. Every year, I take on a multi-day trek in the mountains with friends. We’ve completed Berg Lake, Tonquin Trail, and Skyline. However, my biggest multi-day trek to date is the Everest Base Camp trek I did in 2011. Over 300km, 22 days and every type of weather condition you can have. It pushed my limits but I persevered and it’s honestly one of my proudest moments of my life.
I try to hit the gym regularly and am a practitioner of hot yoga (here in Spruce). I will try any sport once but once you get to know me, you’ll understand I have an uncanny ability to hurt myself and do it spectacularly.
My greatest love is travel. I suffer from Wanderlust! I love traveling the world with my friends and even solo. I’ve visited over 30 countries so I have approximately 170 to go! I always come back with a sense of wonder, awe, a love of cultures and people and gratefulness that I do live in the greatest country in the world. When I have the change and the means, I’m off to explore a new part of the world I’ve never been to before.
When time permits, I like to volunteer in our community, the most recent one being the Tour of Alberta. I had the pleasure of checking all the volunteers in, and then sticking around to see the race! I have volunteered at wine tastings, music festivals, numerous events at the university and more.