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August 30, 2010

New Director of Engagement Creates Connections for Rural Alberta

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Rural Albertans and others involved in rural development will have a new person to turn to for information and assistance in connecting with potential post-secondary partners. Judy Ferguson joined the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) as its first Director of Community and Member Engagement on August 23, 2010.

The position was created to strengthen the connections among ARDN’s post-secondary institution members, and the rural communities and organizations they serve. ARDN collects and shares research and information related to rural development in Alberta, and facilitates networking and collaboration through conferences, events and funding programs.

“Having a person dedicated to community and member engagement heightens our exposure in rural Alberta,” says ARDN’s interim chair, Rick Neidig. “Ferguson will help individuals and organizations make connections with each other. This presence in rural communities will give people more understanding of ARDN and more access to the opportunities that we offer.” Neidig is also the President and CEO of Northern Lakes College.

Building stronger relationships with ARDN’s post-secondary members Identifying and recruiting potential new members Connecting with rural Alberta’s communities and local organizations Communicating the benefits of participating in the Network Answering inquiries from people who want to connect with ARDN and other organizations working to strengthen rural Alberta’s way of life.

Much of Ferguson’s career has been spent in leadership positions helping small not-for-profit organizations grow and become more effective through the development of effective stakeholder relations and communications
strategies.  She was program director for Rural Alberta’s Development Fund for just over three years, where she oversaw the development, implementation and administration of the funding program and led a task force to facilitate the decision making process and to provide clear expectations to rural Albertans seeking funding for their innovative, capacity building projects.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Judy Ferguson on our team,” says ARDN’s executive director, Dee Ann Benard. “She has wonderful and extensive connections to rural Alberta and community organizations, and she already understands and supports ARDN’s mission to support rural development through educational partnerships. We couldn’t have found a better person for this position.”

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