It’s a long way from Random Island to Fort McMurray, but Krista Balsom has proudly made it her home.
Now, the Newfoundlander is one of the organizers of an event meant to celebrate the achievements of Wood Buffalo region’s women and to help dispel myths and stereotypes about the oilsands city.
“We came up with this concept to showcase some of the powerful women and inspirational women that Fort McMurray has to offer, and help rid the stereotypes that Fort McMurray’s such a bad town, such an oil town and there’s nothing really here to do for the families and for women and for people who really want to make this their home,” she said.
To this end, Balsom, along with Kyla Getty, publisher of McMurray Girl magazine, and businesswoman Joanne Roberts, also a Newfoundlander and director of public relations for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, are putting on CentreStage tonight.
The event features panelists from Fort McMurray discussing their life, careers and experiences there, as well as the “McMurray Girl Awards” in categories such as Entrepreneur of the Year and Women’s Organization of the Year.
Proceeds from CentreStage will go to the Fort McMurray Family Crisis Society’s plan for a new women’s shelter for the Wood Buffalo region.
“I absolutely love Fort McMurray,” said Balsom. “I’m 26 years old. The career ladder here is short, in a sense. I’ve been able to make great friends here that are long-lasting relationships and have family here and build a career here that I might not be able to get anywhere else,’’ she said.
“One of my favourite things that Premier Alison Redford actually used in the last few months, is we’re not just a boomtown, we’re a hometown. And if you look beyond the surface, there are a lot of vibrant things and multicultural and diverse things you can do here.”