Left to right: Linda Hoang, Sam Effah, Anthony Johnson and James Makois.

Photo Credit: Catherine Maier

NextGen is thrilled to receive support from RBC as a part of their Future Launch program on a number of our initiatives this year focused on leadership, entrepreneurship and community engagement.

“It’s an honour to support Edmonton’s NextGen and their critical role in connecting the next generation of Edmontonians to our city,” said Tasha Giroux, RBC Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services. “NextGen’s work is well-aligned with our Future Launch Program, helping young Canadians prepare for careers of tomorrow by building skills, networks and experiences.”

We kicked off our partnership with RBC with the NextGen Speakers Series event at Rogers Place on February 27. We had the opportunity to learn about leadership and resilience from RBC Olympian and runner up of Amazing Race Canada Sam Effah and Amazing Race Canada 2019 winners Anthony Johnson and James Makokis. 

Photo Credit: Catherine Maier

All speakers shared their stories and how they have become leaders in their communities - right here in Alberta and across the world. 

Sam grew up in Calgary, earned the reputation as “The Fastest Man in Alberta History,” and has gone on to become one of the fastest men in Canada. He hasn’t stopped there. He uses his platform to give back through his work with Right to Play, Classroom Champions and as a speaker. As he said to the audience, “being an athlete is bigger than being on the podium.” 

RBC Olympian Sam Effah Photo Credit: Catherine Maier

Anthony Johnson and James Makokis shot to fame on the Amazing Race Canada. As the first Indigenous, two-spirit couple on the Amazing Race Canada, they highlighted the need for representation and the power of media to create positive change. They are currently fundraising to build a cultural community centre in Kehewin Cree Nation. You can learn more and donate on their GoFundMe page.

Anthony Johnson and Dr. James Makokis Photo Credit: Catherine Maier

Listening to Sam, James and Anthony’s insightful stories about their personal challenges and growth, it's a powerful reminder that everyone has the potential to be a leader. Luckily, they were also willing to share some tips: pursue your passions, seize opportunities and build a circle of mentors and friends. 

Anthony shared a lesson he learned from his mother; you don’t know if you don’t try. Don’t let doubt or fear hold you back from taking that step. After all, on the other side of a tough decision is the rest of your life.

Thank you to everyone who attended our first event of our NextGen Speakers series! Photo Credit: Catherine Maier

And a huge thank you to Sam, Anthony and James for sharing their powerful stories and inspiring us to pursue our goals and ambitions. Thanks to Linda Hoang for moderating the great conversation and Rogers Place for the opportunity to host our event in the arena!

We had an incredible group of volunteers (Katie, Janice, Rye, Lee, Vesna, Sai, Joning and Jenni) who made this inspiring event happen and we want to thank them for their hard work at the first event of the year kicking off our exciting partnership with RBC.

Lastly, a special thank you to our Coordinator Christine Causing at the City of Edmonton and Jerilynn Daniels and Tasha Giroux at RBC. We look forward to the other projects and events supported by RBC’s partnership! 

View more photos from the event taken by Catherine Maier.

Left to right: Anika Zepp, Linda Hoang, James Makokis, Anthony Johnson. Sam Effah, Tasha Giroux, Jerilynn Daniels, Jenny Albers, Councillor Andrew Knack, Katie Hayes and Christine Causing Photo Credit: Catherine Maier