“Igniting the potential of rural communities with inspirational & practical lessons. A must for communities looking to grow with purpose by engaging citizens & leveraging assets you already have.”

Alaina Lockhart

Canada’s Rural Community Champion

Alaina Lockhart is an entrepreneur, a former politician, a community volunteer and a true champion for people living in rural towns and villages. During her 20 years of working in and for rural communities she has gained real life experience and lessons that she’s now bundled into a series of keynote speeches and workshops that will transform communities no matter their size. While serving as the first woman ever elected as the Member of Parliament representing the federal riding of Fundy Royal in New Brunswick, Canada, she was a major force for rural Canada leading the charge to create the Atlantic Immigration Pilot that has resulted in the highest population growth rate in rural Atlantic Canada since the 1970’s, making changes to the federal infrastructure funds to include a specific carve out for rural communities, developing a National Tourism Strategy that recognizes the economic potential of investing in rural tourism, and being a strong voice for rural connectivity resulting in a historic $5 Billion investment that will see 100% of Canadian households connected to high-speed internet by 2030.

Alaina Lockhart and her husband are now owners of a microbrewery that has turned into a real attraction for visitors, inspiration for other local businesses, and one more reason to consider moving back home to the Town of Sussex. Alaina Lockhart tells an engaging and inspiring story about her journey from young professional, to entrepreneur, to municipal councillor, to member of the Government of Canada. A journey that ignited her passion for the potential of rural communities. Alaina Lockhart continues to be a community builder and is now a consultant developing positive stakeholder results with her IGNITE Community Growth Model – a values and opportunities based approach to community growth and rural sustainability.

Topic Presentations

Now more than ever, people are evaluating what is important to them and how they want to live their next chapter. It's the perfect time to engage citizens, fine tune your community's vision, and co-create a plan for the future. A plan that makes a positive difference in people's lives. A plan with purpose. Meet your guide, rural dweller Alaina Lockhart. She has had the opportunity to live many places around the world but chose Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, to live, work, and raise a family because she believes in the power of community. This session will give community leaders the confidence to engage the people they represent, map and leverage all available assets, and start co-creating a community moving forward with purpose. The future is bright for communities that recognize today's challenges and embrace them as opportunities. In this engaging and thought-provoking keynote, Alaina will inspire you to be the change-maker your community needs to make sure everyone knows why it is indeed a great place to live.

We all agree that young people are the future of our communities. However, far too often we look at youth migration as the root cause of rural decline. Is that true or just an easy out? Alaina Lockhart presents a thought-provoking keynote that brings to light the advantages of creating a culture in your community that engages youth, encourages them to explore, learn, and go out into the world. A community that focuses on giving them the very best start, pride in place, and confidence to go out into the world and to consider coming back home. Communities that focus on building a place that is welcoming to both newcomers and those who want to come home have a much higher chance of success. Success that is measured in respect to quality of life.

The catalyst you need to move your community forward may be hiding in plain sight. With the right approach and a little effort you can tap into an amazing pool of skills and energy that will take your efforts as a leader to the next level. How often have you seen an individual or a group in your community accomplish an amazing project, raise awareness about an issue, or mobilize a hundred volunteers? It happens all the time yet it’s not a natural reflex to turn to these very people to lead in formal ways in our community. The good news is that your community can be different. Alaina's keynote walks the audience through specific ways they can harness the power of citizens to not only mobilize grassroots efforts, but to take on roles on boards, in the council chambers, and other growth movements. That means re-thinking everything from time commitments to time of day and you can do it!

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