Hundreds of Calgarians from all walks of life give their time and energy to help ensure that everyone in our community has an opportunity to create a better tomorrow.
At the helm of our yearly campaigns sit the campaign co-chairs, a pair of volunteers who bring a passion for community building and a strong desire for social change. The co-chairs lead and inspire the United Way team in reaching our campaign goals over one-year terms.
In 2022, we welcome Jonathan Wright, President & CEO of NuVista Energy, and Lara Conrad, the Chief Development Officer at ARC Resources Limited, as our campaign co-chairs. As Campaign Co-chairs, Jonathan and Lara will help lead our city-wide fundraising efforts for the 2022 United Way campaign. This year’s campaign will focus on those most affected by the pandemic with support for mental health and basic needs.
Jonathan Wright has been a dedicated volunteer, and United Way of Calgary and Area supporter for many years. He previously served as an Account Executive and Chair of the Oil & Gas Division and spent time on the Major Donor Cabinet. Jonathan is passionate about Gift of Securities and Planned Giving and has been a trusted advisor on key initiatives through one-on-one conversations.
Lara Conrad has been a long-time United Way supporter and volunteer, most recently serving as Co-chair for the Leader’s Cabinet. Lara is dedicated to increasing individual awareness of community needs, focusing on lasting social change. Lara encourages her team at ARC Resources Limited to give “time, talent, and treasure” through their United Way campaign.
What drives someone to give their time and energy to lead a year-long campaign? We sat down with both of our co-chairs with five questions about who they are, why they love our community, and why they choose United Way.
1. What is your favorite thing about Calgary?
Jonathan Wright: Two things: Calgarians’ western friendly can-do attitude that makes it just feel like home … and the amazing Rockies.
Lara Conrad: I came here for the mountains and stayed for the people, as Calgary is such a welcoming community!
2. What makes you smile?
JW: The innocent and uninhibited questions of a young child.
LC: Sunshine – another great reason to love Calgary. Did you know that Calgary is the sunniest major city in Canada, averaging 333 days of sun each year.
3. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
JW: My Father. Serious academic, serious supporter, always made me appreciate all that we are so fortunate to have when others sometimes have so little. I learned my charitable ways from him.
LC: My grandad. He was born in London in 1900, so he lived through both world wars, cars becoming commonplace, the advent of the computer and the internet. He stayed fit throughout his life, lived to 101, was fiercely independent, and was always interested in new discoveries, even reading Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” when he was in his early 90’s. He was never scared of hard work or trying something new and was incredibly supportive of my husband and me branching out on our own with our move to Calgary.
4. What excites you about United Way?
JW: The incredible impact which the United Way makes. The significant funds raised, coupled with intelligent research and targeting programs to help our fellow Calgarians, are unmatched. It also is a serious demonstration of the deep generosity of Calgarians.
LC: The power of bringing people together to create a positive impact. It sounds simple, but creating the structure and processes to improve Calgary year over and continuously doing it well is incredibly hard work that the United Way team does so well!
5. What kind of future do you want United Way to play in Calgary?
JW: Keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Finding new ways to help those in our community that need it most. A hand-up, not a handout, so no one gets left behind.
LC: Continue to be part of the city’s social fabric so that all Calgarians feel welcomed, supported and can be proud members of the Calgary community.
We welcome Jonathan and Lara to their new roles and look forward to another year of impactful work.