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Focus on Leadership Stone Olafson helps Calgary businesses recover

Kim Griffin is a research and strategy consultant at Stone-Olafson.
Photo credit: Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.

Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.

It wasn’t just a pandemic. There was also a historic drop in energy prices.

Simply put, Alberta took a nasty one-two punch this past March.

And Calgary’s Stone-Olafson — one of Canada’s, leading research-based consulting firms — wanted to help. 

“It’s really been particularly devastating for organizations involved in the event-based economies, like arts and culture, festivals or even sports — anything to do with live experience,” says Kim Griffin, a research and strategy consultant at Stone-Olafson, of the challenges of the past few months.

The firm has built a strong reputation serving clients across North America over the past decade. But it’s long had its fingers on the pulse of Calgary and Alberta, in particular those aforementioned “live experience” sectors of the economy deeply affected by physical distancing regulations to stem COVID-19’s spread. 

That’s why it recently launched a longitudinal survey of Albertans regarding their plans for travel, leisure and other activities involving people gathering together. 

“Whatever we learn from the study is going to be provided to organizations free of charge,” says Griffin, adding the study will “run over several waves and data will be compiled and released throughout the year, as it becomes available.”

The goal of the initiative is to support the recovery of businesses in the experience economy and give tourism, arts and culture, and sports and recreation organizations snapshots over time of how Albertans feel about venturing out. 

“It’s really about helping these organizations recover and get ready to re-engage their audience.”

Griffin adds that Stone-Olafson doesn’t just want to provide the ‘what’ with respect to Albertans’ thoughts on going out and enjoying what the province has to offer. It also wants to help with the ‘now what?’ That way, organizations are more likely to make the right move at the right time. 

While other studies on the pandemic’s impact exist, few are analysing data from a homegrown perspective the way Stone-Olafson is. 

“We want to help them make decisions over time, with evolving data that is reliable and Alberta-focused,” Griffin says. “The heart of what we do is helping businesses make better decisions using the best information available.”

But its efforts are not just about helping Alberta businesses. Stone-Olafson’s recent efforts — supported by partners that include Calgary Arts Development, the Calgary Foundation, ATB and the Rosza Foundation — are aimed at the broader community. 

“We not only want to make sure everybody stays afloat,” Griffin says. “We want everyone to come out of this stronger.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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