Having a farm life upbringing with plenty of responsibility, Brandi Gartner is proud of the learning she consumed from her younger years.
“My mom is a teacher who is infinitely curious about the world around her. She instilled the value of learning and education, which continues to guide my choices and beliefs to this day,” said Gartner.
In her hometown of Norquay, Saskatchewan, she was able to participate in multiple sports and dance. However, it was when she went onto the University of Saskatchewan when she discovered her new horizons.
“From the moment that I stepped foot onto campus, I knew that school was my happy place. I gained new ideas, explored fascinating concepts, met my closest allies and fell in love. Literally, I met my husband at a Back-to-School cabaret in my final year,” she said.
While working on her graduate thesis in 2007, she moved to Fort McMurray and started working for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. And through her work, she has been granted with the opportunities to work with oil sands producers, social profit agencies and Indigenous communities.
“Along the way, I have met so many great leaders and mentors who continue to show me new ways that I can give back to my community,” she said.
Gartner’s favourite Fort McMurray moment includes the birth of her daughter but said another special time was the Closing Ceremonies of the 2018 Alberta Winter Games.
“There were thousands of athletes representing communities from across Alberta, sitting together and sharing one last moment together,” she shared. “Unlike the Opening Ceremonies, where teams stayed together in their zones and cheered with wild abandon, the Closing Ceremonies became a time where athletes intermingled and connected across team lines.”