I used to think, at the end of a year, “Well, that was a crazy year. Next year will be steadier, with less change and challenge.” I’ve learned to stop thinking that! This past year, like all the rest, has been filled with both.

On the professional side of things, 2018 marked my second year managing Catapult Entrepreneurs, the Central Alberta business incubator. We’ve had so many successes! New business ideas and innovations in tech, manufacturing, textiles, and more, saw their business start-ups take shape and come to life, with the support of coaching, mentoring and training. I am inspired every day by these amazing entrepreneurs, and it is a joy to be part of their journey. One of our guys even won 2nd in a pitch competition in Calgary in June, which was a real treat!

Because of being committed to Catapult, I didn’t take on as many consulting projects with Danikloo this past year; my thanks goes to Piper Creek Foundation (now known as Bridges Community Living), The Lending Cupboard, Sugar by Tracy, Lutz Building Enterprises, Magdalene House Society, Masquerade Ministries, Rs1 Motivational Media, Symbra, Rural Alberta Business Centre Rocky Mountain House, and all those who had me help with their resumes and other writing projects. I was also privileged to work collaboratively on some of these projects with Kerstin Heuer of Heuer Design

The Symbra crew invited me to retreat with them at Ghost River Crossing. What a gorgeous place!

In other professional news, I’m thrilled to report that I became a Certified Management Consultant this year. This professional designation will open up a new world of possibilities for Danikloo Consulting, and I am deeply honoured to be part of this prestigious professional institution. I look forward to working with the Alberta CMC Chapter and blazing new consulting trails! The ‘graduation ceremony’ will take place at a gala in February, so stay tuned for pics!

I have been working on my 2019 goals for Danikloo, and want to start offering more in the way of training and public speaking. If you have a topic or opportunity in my wheelhouse, be sure to be in contact.

In politics, we had a by-election here in the Innisfail Sylvan Lake constituency this summer. After putting my name forward twice, I declined to run again, serving instead as the president of the Constituency Association for the Alberta Party. We could not have asked for a better candidate than the one we found in Abigail Douglass. This little power house has a work ethic second to none, and her smarts, charisma, positivity and passion were a real testament to how it’s done. Can’t thank her enough for her service!

That’s Abigail behind all my hair.

As for the rest of life, there is also much to share. This year, we deviated from the normal winter vacation in Mazatlan, and went down to Zihuatanejo, which is an original Mexican town to which Ixtapa has been attached. We’re not much for the resort experience, and we love being part of local culture, but this trip really stretched us. We stayed in a tree house! The bedrooms had walls and a roof, but the main living area was open to the world – and the wild!

Spectacular view from the living room of our tree house.

The views and the ocean sounds were an experience that can hardly be described – ‘amazing’ doesn’t really cut it. Both my hubby and I did, though, have some challenges being one with nature. He kind of got eaten alive by skitters, and I had to really work to overcome my fear of bats (no, I did not quite get there!). So we maybe wouldn’t do the tree house again, but we loved Zihua and will definitely go back.

In June, my sister and I went to Vegas for a little get-away. I had not been there in several years, and it’s once of those ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ things. Didn’t love the strip, but we really enjoyed our stay at the Tropicana. The was lovely in white and orange, and small enough to easily navigate. The brunch was wonderful, the pool was glorious, the staff was top notch, and it was great to be able to walk into the hotel at the end of a long day and not have another 15-minute trek through crowds of people to get to our room. We also went to the Grand Canyon, which I had never done. It’s a spectacle that defies description, though I could have skipped 10 hours on a charter bus.

Yes, that is my sister’s thumb.

There are many other highlights and lowlights and life happenings along the way. Many of you know that my beloved dad passed away on Dec 17th of 2017, which has made the holidays a little bitter sweet this year – the year of firsts. Mom, sadly, does not remember or ask for him. She doesn’t know me at all and often eyes me suspiciously when I visit. But she is incredibly content with her life, colouring and wiping counters (she walks around with a dish rag in her hand, just like she did all my life) and being waited on hand and foot by the wonderful staff at Harmony Care Homes. After working and stressing through life, it is a joy to see her serenely living out her golden years, albeit without a memory.

So, now, what’s ahead for 2019? I mean, who knows? I’m part of a team bringing a big investment forum to Red Deer in February, called The Edge, during the Canada Winter Games. Then we’ll head back to our favourite place on earth, Mazatlan, in March. I’m looking forward to another great year with Catapult and my first year as a CMC.

There will, no doubt, be changes and challenges. I want to be filled with anticipation rather than dread, knowing I have always, with the wonderful support of family and friends, faced things head on and kept moving forward, and that the joys are always greater than the sorrows. I do know that I am deeply grateful for everyone who loves me, and I am grateful for the blessing of loving you all as well.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to spending time with you in 2019.