The Business of Nature by Kelsey Lovell
As Founder and President of REAP (Respect for the Earth and All People), a Calgary-based business association focusing on improving communities and the environment, STS alumna Stephanie Jackman '90 is working to create a greener and brighter economic landscape in Calgary, one business at a time.
Stephanie attended STS for Grades 7 to 11 and it was at the school where she developed her sense of leadership and responsibility. Stephanie credits the Outdoor Education (OE) program, the Agencies program, and the opportunity to take part in Speech Day as foundational to the work she does today.
"These ways of engaging with nature and community were all normal and just the way you operated as a global citizen at STS. But they're not things that everybody embraces or does on a regular basis. They very much became a part of who I am," Stephanie explained.
Stephanie completed a journalism degree at Carleton University in Ottawa but soon realized that it wasn't reporting she was drawn to, but telling stories. It was then Stephanie made a switch to business and marketing attending Thunderbird School of Global Management and earning a Masters of International Marketing. She accepted a job in advertising after graduation and soon transitioned into brand planning where she helped businesses understand their customers better in order to form deeper connections. She founded a consulting business with this focus, called Blueprint Brand Strategies, and a few years later took on a role with Venture Communications where she assisted in the creation of their brand planning division.
When Stephanie had what can only be described as a career epiphany in 2005, REAP was born.
"Through my career I've had this evolution towards using story and curiosity to create greater connection in our personal and business relationships. At the highest level, REAP shares stories of what is possible to build a new economic model that moves towards greater connections with ourselves, with each other and with the environment."
REAP began, in the early days, as a rally cry to local businesses. Stephanie wanted to find a way to diversify Calgary's economy by using business as a force for positive change.
"REAP is about educating people about better ways of conducting business, and more inclusive ways of building economy and communities. It's consistent with the values that I internalized during my time at STS and have carried through to the work I'm doing," said Stephanie.
As REAP has solidified itself in Calgary's business market, Stephanie hopes to keep the momentum going by promoting discussion of what the responsibilities are of our business leaders, citizens and students in creating a world that works for everyone and lives in harmony with nature.
"Momentum is about forward progress. It's about win-win and making sure we're all moving in the same direction in a way that isn't leaving people behind," explained Stephanie.