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Spring 2016

Newsletter Archive


Greg's Reflections on his Time at Miistakis

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What a great honour it's been to have worked at Miistakis for the past 12 years.

I remember the day I came to interview for what was to become my job. I had been looking for work for several months, holding out for something that really felt like a good fit. I knew about Miistakis and the great work they do, and when I read the job posting, it literally sounded like my dream job. I put on a suit for the interview (something my colleagues have never let me live down!), sat down with the entire Miistakis staff, and laid my cards on the table. I told them, "If I could close my eyes and conjure up the dream job for myself, it would be this job." I was being completely honest, but I realize now that it might have been perceived as me laying it on a little thick. Lucky for me, Miistakis decided to give me a shot. How fortunate - and indeed, how rare - to come more than a decade down this road, and to still feel the same way.

I've been so blessed to share an office and a vision with some of the smartest, hardest-working, capable, and fun people that I've ever met in my professional life. It's really cool when some of the people you admire the most are your co-workers. Every year with the release of the Miistakis annual report, I'm astounded that a handful of people could produce so much high-quality work. Over the years, countless people have remarked after coming for a meeting on how fun and welcoming our office culture is. Our offices have all been a little tough to find; many have mentioned that they knew they were getting close because they could hear uproarious laughter. Part of the secret to our success has been that culture that we all create and maintain with each other. How lucky am I to have called that happy, welcoming environment home?

And what a privilege it's been to work in collaboration and partnership with so many great people, and to be entrusted with helping them find solutions to complex, challenging, multi-faceted problems. From individual landowners in rural Alberta, to municipal staff and councils, to regional partnerships, to provincial agencies, to industry, to conservation groups, to academic collaborators, the overwhelming majority of my project partners have had these traits in common: they care deeply about the landscapes they're responsible for; they want to better understand the consequences and trade-offs that come with different land use decisions; they're willing to compromise with other stakeholders and to identify mutually acceptable solutions; and they're incredibly knowledgeable, articulate people. What a great source of inspiration! The credit for any success Miistakis has achieved should be shared equally with all the people that make our work both possible and worthwhile. 

It's only the circumstance of life that has ended my time at Miistakis; my family is moving back across the country, and we can't take Miistakis with us. There's lots more work to be done, and I have every faith that the remaining (and future) Miistakians will continue to do great things.

For myself, I'm so proud to have been a part of Miistakis. It truly was a dream job, and I count myself very lucky to have landed it, and held on for the ride. It (almost) made it worth wearing the suit!

To everyone I've met - colleagues, partners, students, faces in the crowd - through my work at Miistakis: you've made my job a pleasure, and made me feel like my efforts were worth something. From the bottom of my heart - thanks!

Hasta la victoria,