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WBEDC’s Inaugural Momentum 2019 Conference Focuses on Branding Strategies

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The Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation’s (WBEDC) inaugural Momentum 2019 conference saw a full house of business and community leaders. The event took place on December 3, 2019 at Shell Place, and “telling our story,” together emerged as one of the primary themes in addition to how can we work together to awaken Canada to the importance of Fort McMurray?

“We have to stop letting others tell our story,” said Kevin Weidlich, President & CEO of WBEDC.

“We are sharing the vision for 2020 and beyond. This conference is a check-in with the community on how we are doing, and the big purpose for the event is to address the image and reputation of our region. We need our community’s help in telling our story. Now is the time to establish a creative strategy and execution so that Canada will see Fort McMurray in a different light,” explained Weidlich.

A panel featuring Karim Zariffa, Oil Sands Community Alliance Executive Director, RMWB CAO Annette Antoniak, former WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky - moderated by Weidlich also discussed similar strategies while addressing current economic issues.

Gregg Saretsky, Board Chair, WBEDC and former CEO WestJet felt the conference was a source of much-awaited positivity.

“The feeling from Momentum 2019 is one of optimism. It’s been a while the region’s had this feeling. We have a few large projects underway, so we are starting to see some green shoots. I think the feeling around the room is of optimism to help tell our story better, and bring more people to the region. We need to develop our sport tourism, bring those hockey and baseball teams, which will benefit everyone. We have to remind Canadians we are the economic engine of Canada. We need to boast.”

Weidlich hopes to make Momentum an annual event.


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.