Adam Legge, MEDes’99, knows what it takes to be a young leader in a robust city.
“You have to be really curious and ask a lot of questions, but also find the balance point between being open-minded and [having] a firm belief in what you stand for and where you need to go,” he says. “You need to bring diversity of opinion and perspective around your table. Find ways to help people do their best. And, be humble and admit error.”
In particular, he emphasizes the value of communicating effectively. “It’s not texting, it’s not Twitter; it’s honest-to-goodness, face-to-face business communications. It’s very important to have the ability to tell stories, influence, persuade and find common ground in business. You can’t do that in 140 characters. This is very much a small big city—so much of the business that happens here is relationship based.”
It’s no surprise then that Legge has spent his first year as the Chamber’s head honcho putting in plenty of face time, learning the ropes and launching new projects such as the Thriving and Uncertainty workshop series, which helps small business members address various challenges during economic instability.
Alongside that is the new iF series highlighting Calgarians who have “had an ‘if’ question about how to make something different or better and have then devoted their careers or passions trying to make it reality,” explains Legge. iF aims to raise awareness about the remarkable things happening in Calgary; share personal journeys to find ways to replicate success; and spread the word so Calgary becomes recognized as a place of innovation, risk-taking and excellence that people want to explore.
Raising Calgary’s profile as a global hub means going beyond just a strong business environment. Legge points to the University of Calgary’s part in cultivating top research and education. “Great professors and great students want to be at great universities. That greatness acts as a magnet for more greatness. Post-secondary education has a huge role to play in broader economic and community development.”
Ultimately, Legge strives to trail blaze in a city that does the same. “I don’t want to live somewhere where we just rest on our laurels. I want to be in a city that continues to take risks and innovate; one that aspires to more greatness. We have that here. I think that’s what creates the energy and vibrancy you feel in Calgary. Calgarians are not typically satisfied with the status quo and so there’s always that desire and willingness to do more and do better. That’s what passionate and energetic people are drawn to. Yeah, that’s what I look for in my city.”