Contessa Short has a grand perspective of the Wood Buffalo region, starting at the ground up from tailings ponds into her current community development and engagement position.
With a background in environmental technology, Short worked in the Tailings Reduction Operations after completing her education at Keyano College. Working in the field, she wanted to explore more into the community’s surroundings and advance in her work. So, she started training courses through the National Construction Safety Association.
“This set me on my current path with the Fort McKay Métis,” she explained. “I sat for four years as their Operations and Safety Manager, and then moved over to their community office.”
Today, Short has the Community Development and Engagement Coordinator title at Fort McKay Métis Nation. It’s a position she calls rewarding and fulfilling as she works directly with the members of Fort McKay and is able to take part in a variety of volunteer opportunities with community events.
“Wood Buffalo is more than just a community of people living in the same area. The people in this community have come together, time and time again to help one another in times of need,” she said about living in the region.
“Whether it is a single mom that needs help with school lunches for the week or renovating an entire home for a sick little girl or helping a family that has moved here unprepared or just helping a neighbour upon their return from evacuation, this is the most giving community I have ever been a part of and it makes me proud.”
Short moved to Fort McMurray from Newfoundland when she was a little girl, and graduated from Father Patrick Mercredi High School - this is where she met her high school sweetheart and set roots with her family. In 2015, they purchased their first home, where they live happily with three dogs. The couple also recently celebrated their 20th anniversary.