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Lakehead University Magazine Spring/Summer 2004

Other Voices

Visions to Reality

By Lisa Beckwick

“My years of studying business at Lakehead University prepared me well for the teamwork and partnership that are involved in intensive, broad-based projects such as this.”

I LOVE Thunder Bay.

Over the years, I have had the option of relocating for work, and so have had to consider whether or not I really wanted to leave Thunder Bay. Why have I made a conscious decision to stay? Because I revel in the fact that I can spend hot summer days at my cottage (or, as we say, camp), be part of the excitement of the Blues Festival and Dragonboat Races, and attend professional performances at Magnus Theatre or concerts at the Auditorium. My boys can receive the highest standard of education from JK to post-graduate degrees, and yet go skiing at Loch Lomond and Mount Baldy, within minutes from our home.

There are no limitations to living the life you want in Thunder Bay.

As Thunder Bay’s Fast Forward Coordinator, I am helping to ensure this message is heard and that our community fulfills its potential. Fast Forward is a community development plan created through an extensive consultation process. Our long-term vision is being implemented by over 70 community partners, of which Lakehead University is one.

On the extraordinary shores of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay, rich in people and resources, connects to the region of Northwestern Ontario and to the world. Affordable and accessible quality of life, respect for diversity, safe neighbourhoods, and economic opportunities make Thunder Bay a healthy community in which to live, work, and play together. Fast Forward strategically focuses on three directions: Quality of Life, Diversified Economy, and Regional Networks.

Last year, over 20 Fast Forward partners invested in the development of a multimedia promotional tool to showcase Thunder Bay’s attributes. It was time to reinvest in our community, and to promote ourselves more aggressively to new markets.

The multimedia package includes a 14-minute video, CD-ROM, and Ambassador's package designed to showcase the real opportunities we have to offer newcomers. As one colleague remarked after watching the video, "I'm from Thunder Bay and I want to move here!" The purpose of this marketing program is to encourage businesses to invest here, tourists to visit, students to come and study, and people to locate here.

My years of studying business at Lakehead University prepared me well for the teamwork and partnership that are involved in intensive, broad-based projects such as this.
The multimedia project required an intense degree of consultation across
a wide spectrum of expertise and interests, particularly as we were trying to represent the community equitably. Diplomacy, tact, and the ability to accept the greater good for all are key in a community development initiative. These types of undertakings involve a lengthy consultative process and are generally visionary, long-term, and process-oriented. But, by garnering broader support and endorsement, as in this case, the end result is a far superior product.

Where do we go from here?

I have a passion for our community and believe in all of its possibilities.
I want to ensure that my children have options. I want them to have
the opportunity to not only receive their post-secondary education in our community, but to secure jobs in their field of expertise upon graduation. I want them to be able to be minutes from their cottage and to raise their families. I want to see our education/biotech cluster grow, our environment protected, and our health care system be internationally renowned. I want to see new businesses flourish and jobs created. I want Thunder Bay to be as vibrant and successful as I know it can be.

It is a superior place to live, to work, and to play.

Lisa Beckwick (BAdmin'83) was nominated for the Northern Ontario’s Influential Women Award for 2002, and received the 2003 President’s Award for the Thunder Bay Business Women’s Network. For more information on the multimedia promotional tool, call the City’s Tourism and Economic Development Division at 1-800-668-9360

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