The neon atmosphere was full of energy at the Edmonton Convention Centre last Thursday. Edmonton Global hosted the second annual economic growth summit called forward/slash. There were approximately 1,000 attendees such as Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi; Greg Klak, general manager and vice-president of operations for the biotechnology research company Gilead; Malcom Bruce, the CEO for Edmonton Global; and Louis Cardinal, a member of the Woodland Cree from the Sucker Creek Cree First Nation, and the president and CEO of Cardinal Strategic Communications & Development and Red Earth Blue Sky Productions.
This year, the event embraced the idea of connecting, celebrating togetherness, and dreaming of the future ahead. It focused on what it called their three main pillars: forward/thinking, forward/together, and forward/momentum.
The event started at 5 p.m. Drinks and appetizers were served while attendees checked in at the front desk, mingled, and networked with one another. At 6 p.m. the refreshments were followed by an hour of panel discussions, entertainment, and awards.
“We can build to see the kind of society that we want to see.”
— Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi
“Getting the movement started was difficult, but I think we have a solid plan now,” said Bruce. Bruce talked about following the movement’s pillars and using them as a road map to guide the city’s economic growth moving forward. “We are always better when we are working together.”
“The land informs who we are,” said Cardinal. “It’s not an accident that several hundred of the most impressive and powerful people in Edmonton gathered together in Hall D.”
During the panel, the panellists talked about how Edmonton has amazing resources in technology, health care, agriculture, and energy for the business community. There was also a lot of talk about looking towards the future.
“We can build to see the kind of society that we want to see,” said mayor Sohi. “I want to see [that] everyone has a decent place to call home [and] every child in this region that wants to get education is able to get the best education that they can.”
“I feel that events like this should sponsor students,” said Taegen Lloyd, a graduate of the MacEwan nursing program, who now works for Alberta Health Services and owns her own swimming company.
After 7 p.m., there were two hours of networking combined with drinks and finger food as the evening wound down.
“Last night, we witnessed the energy and commitment that the Edmonton region has towards this shared vision for our economic future,” said Bruce. “Forward/slash is a force to inspire change, innovation, and community development. Now, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and work together to accelerate economic growth, competitiveness, and well-being across the Edmonton region. I have no doubt the forward/slash task forces will create a lasting impact over the next year – and beyond.”
Photography by Joelle Fagan.