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Diane combines insightful humour, hard research and in depth analysis to share her experiences, best practices and innovative solutions to today's complex sustainable community building challenges.

Diane Kalen-Sukra - keynote speaker
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Rob Buchan, PhD

CAO, District of North Saanich

Diane Kalen-Sukra has a passion and obvious depth of knowledge on critical matters facing our civil service cultures, governance and sustainable community building efforts. She is an engaging speaker and her message is both sobering and motivating!

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Narissa Chadwick, MA, MCIP

Senior Planner, Province of BC

Diane Kalen-Sukra has a magical way of weaving together ancient philosophy and real life experience to reveal both the challenges and the opportunities that exist for communities striving to support sustainable futures.  She boldly identifies influences inhibiting the efficient and effective function of communities and provides compelling evidence in support of an integrated approach to planning.  Her  presentation was refreshing, enlightening and entertaining.

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Julie Douglas, Communications Director, City of Campbell River

Diane  Kalen-Sukra is a big picture thinker with an infectious energy for change. Her presentation at the annual conference for local government administrators showcased both the strength of community values and the fragility of contemporary democracy. Tap into Diane’s insights to connect more deeply with the role of local government on the cutting edge of social change – and be part of tipping the balance for the better.

Donald Leitch, CAO, Municipality of Cent

Donald N. Leitch, CAO & Clerk, Municipality of Central Elgin

Diane Kalen-Sukra combines her talent for speaking with her knowledge of municipal governance to deliver a highly interesting and effective message.  Speaking on the toxic culture facing many Canadian municipalities at a workshop for Ontario municipal CAOs, Diane connected with her audience, leaving listeners motivated to pursue solutions for good governance founded on values. With a diverse background as a community organizer, media producer and senior municipal public servant, Diane brings real world knowledge to her presentation.  An inspiring call for change!

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Norm McInnis, MA, CLGM

CAO, City of Fernie

After sixteen years as a Chief Administrative Officer in Alberta, I can spot local government professionals that push boundaries and look for better ways to serve community.  I encountered Diane Kalen-Sukra when she was  a municipal CAO. The awards and notoriety of her local government, especially at UBCM, only increased my sense that Diane was special. I later heard her speak at a local government management conference under the manner of her newly minted consultancy, Kalen Consulting. Diane’s talk communicated her rigorously researched philosophy of local government and community building--a philosophy that I  wholeheartedly share. 


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Christine Callihoo, Msc, RPP, MCIP Community Climate Resilience & Adaptation Planner

Diane Kalen-Sukra’s keynote at the national conference was completely unexpected.  I was captivated by a speaker who could so beautifully weave a story timeline from ancient philosophers to present time to clearly illustrate the principles of good governance and civil society, and the crucial role that our local governments play in supporting sustainable, equitable communities. Diane is able to clearly illustrate the importance of investing in the art of living and working well together, no matter the challenges.  We are provided, in no uncertain terms, the ‘why’; now to rise to the challenge with tangible options to realize the ‘how’.  Diane is a powerful storyteller!

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Andy Wardell, CPA, CGA, MA

Director of Financial Services, District of North Vancouver

Some people have the gift of capturing people's hearts and minds when they speak. Diane Kalen-Sukra is one of those rare special talents and the stories she tells lift you up and carry you with her. Listening to Diane makes anything possible and life full of potential. Wonderful!

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Cindy Snedden, P. Eng

Executive Director,  PEMAC

It was great to meet some of this country's most committed municipal leaders and thinkers that are supporting innovation at this conference. A highlight for me was the compelling keynote by Diane Kalen-Sukra. Diane detailed the risks of the current trend of incivility and divisiveness to our capacity to collaborate, innovate and build strong, democratic communities. Her analysis was thorough, convincing and hopeful and it included a clear call to action for asset managers to play their role.

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Jag Sharma, B.Sc. MBA

CAO, Town of Newmarket

I had the opportunity to see Diane Kalen-Sukra's keynote at the Ontario Municipal Administrators conference this fall.  Suffice it to say that she made my head spin, in a good way!  Not only was she an engaging speaker, the hard hitting content and facts were relentless. 

Katherine Hebert

Katherine Hebert, Dipl. MA

Council Services

County of Essex

Diane Kalen-Sukra delivers a poignant message: Thriving communities start with us. Stand for something that aligns with your ethics. Do good work. Positive change starts with positive actions. Voting is an expression of values, it is a privilege, it is empowering - but, thinking that your job as a citizen ends at the ballot box is a grave mistake. Armchair activism is rampant and is mostly rhetoric and the only cure is meaningful action. Diane presents with enthusiasm, and delivers a passionate message about civic engagement. Through historic theories about governing and modern philosophical views, she plants the seed of intrigue and desire for action into her audience. Diane’s theories and concepts about local government are meaningful, thought provoking and inspiring.

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