You won’t see Krista Balsom’s face at the municipal council table, nor will you see her in the provincial legislature. But though she’s not the face of politics in Fort McMurray, she is one of the voices behind two of the region’s most successful political campaigns: that of new MLA Don Scott, and city councilor Christine Burton.
Balsom played a key role as campaign manager for Don Scott as the local lawyer sought the MLA seat for the freshly-minted riding of Fort McMurray Conklin.
“I thought the most important thing was to highlight Don and his commitment to this community – that, and work hard every day, all hours of the day, to get the message out that he wanted to be a strong voice for this region in government,” says Balsom of her successful strategy that saw Scott, a relative political newcomer,defeat former mayor Doug Faulkner.
Her assistance on Christine Burton’s campaign saw the local businesswoman take a coveted seat on councilin the midst of stiff competition, bringing some much needed balance to municipal government.
“Christine Burton was, to me, an excellent example of a strong female leader wanting to take a larger role in the development and quality of life of this region,” Balsom says. “I was impressed with her passion for notjust the arts in our region, but for the overall quality of life and the responsible growth of this community.”
Balsom, a graduate of the University of Ottawa, is an active volunteer in the community. She co-founded the highly successful Centre Stage event which brought women from across the region together to support Unity House. She says the function was a good fit for the character of Fort McMurray, and her own beliefs on women in leadership.
“There are an incredible amount of women n a leadership position in the Fort McMurray community and I think that this will only continue to grow in coming years. Events like Centre Stage celebrate this true leadership from all angles of the community to help nourish and hopefully inspire more women to get involved and take action,” she says.
Balsom practices what she preaches. Recently, she launched her own communications business which will bring a new publication, Your McMurray magazine, to the community. “Fort McMurray is the best place to start a new business. It really is the land of opportunity for young people,” Balsom says. “I’ve alwaysbelieved that to make something happen, first you have to dream it. This magazine has been a dream of mine for a while now, and I know that in this town, big dreams are often big realities.”