On any given day as YWCA Banff CEO, Connie MacDonald can be found presenting to Banff town council, fundraising to potential donors, or advocating for programs and services. She can also be found helping to clear dishes in the YWCA Mountain Café. It’s this willingness to step in and step up that has given MacDonald insight into all aspects of the organization, an involvement that makes her job of two years that much more rewarding.
“You have to be curious, willing to learn, know when to ask for help and surround yourself with the best people,” MacDonald says of being in a leadership role.
MacDonald is overwhelmed by the response the Y has received in terms of support from the community, especially when it comes to events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, VINEArt, and Women of Distinction, as well as projects like the renovation of the Bow Valley Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Gingerbread House.
“The Bow Valley is a generous community and I’m constantly inspired by the willingness of individuals and businesses to share their time, talent, and treasure.”
It’s also about sharing stories says MacDonald, even though subjects like domestic violence and sexualized assault tend to be conversation stoppers at the dinner table.
“When people understand the story of abuse or violence against women in our community and we are able to create a path for them to get involved, the support follows.”
MacDonald first came to Banff when she was 17, where she worked as a ski host at Sunshine Village and a lifeguard for Parks Canada. Then after graduating from Dalhousie University with a degree in psychology, she returned to the mountains. Since then, she’s worked in Family and Community Support Services at the Town of Banff as a community development coordinator, as special assistant to the president and director of communications at The Banff Centre, and as director of people at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures.
When she’s not working, MacDonald enjoys skiing in the winter and cottage life in the summer with her husband Tom and son Casey.
“I feel fortunate to have grown up in Banff and to watch my son embrace the lifestyle that helped to shape my outlook on life. I have a supportive network of friends, a challenging job that taps my head and my heart, and a community that I am very proud of. For me, it doesn’t get any better and for this, I am grateful.”