Class of 2021
With a background in business administration and customer service, Kallie Piercey can be seen working alongside her mom at Surekha’s on the Snye and working with the community and fellow business owners to further the growth of Fort McMurray.
She recently chatted with YMM about her career, motivation, and her perfect day in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.
YMM: Describe your perfect day in YMM.
KP: My perfect day in YMM is a hot summer barbeque, surrounded by friends and family, with a cold drink in my hand. I live for the sunshine and spend a lot of time soaking it in during the warm months. I’m lucky enough to have grown up most of my life in Fort McMurray and have developed a close group of friends over the years. We have multiple generations of parents, grandparents, spouses, and children that get together every chance we get. I think about this often and it’s something I am truly grateful for. As I get older, I realize not everyone is lucky enough to live this close to their family, have wonderful in laws, or to still have best friends of 10+ years. To be surrounded by so much love and support is a true gift. Especially over the last few years, I have grown to really appreciate true value of community and friendship.
YMM: Who is your hero?
KP: My hero is definitely my mom (Surekha Kanzig). I know it sounds corny, but she really is. She’s amazing, strong, and I look up to her so much. The barriers she has overcome in her life, both personally and professionally are profound. She has always taught me to take care of myself, continue to learn and grow, follow your gut, and if you don’t know how to do something – figure it out! She has mentored and made a difference in so many lives, and she’s full of wisdom and great advice for anyone who asks. She puts her whole heart into everything she does. Watching her work so hard at the restaurant, day after day, and against so many obstacles is tough. But when I see how much people support and appreciate what she is doing, and what she brings to the community, it helps make it all worth it.
YMM: What is the most rewarding part of your career?
KP: I love talking to people and building relationships. In my previous career, and now with my mom at Surekha’s on the Snye, I have learned how much I love customer service and personal relations roles. I love meeting people, hearing their stories, and learning about their lives. I’m thankful for the unique opportunity I have at the restaurant to be part of special moments, celebrations, and to help support other small businesses. We all have the power to make an impact in someone’s life through small moments of kindness and conversation; I try to never take that for granted. You never know what people are going through or what battles they are fighting. If I can make you smile, make you laugh, or just overall help make your day a little bit better – that is very rewarding for me.
YMM: What motivates you?
KP: It is very motivating to be a part of this community and to work towards a better future for Fort McMurray. My mom took a huge risk opening the restaurant after the wildfire when there was a lot of uncertainty around the future of YMM. She believed deeply in developing the waterfront to create a beautiful space for our community, and to show off the best of Fort McMurray to the world. Surekha’s on the Snye positively affects so many people and other businesses in our community. Entertaining visitors from all over the world, and having famed guests rave about their meal and experience is especially exciting for us. It makes the struggles and hard times worth it when you see how much the restaurant is appreciated, and the difference that one family can make in a community. Looking back on where we started, and how far we have come is very rewarding; it motivates both of us to keep learning, growing, and be better each year.