Through the Eyes of Jessica Dumas

A blog I wrote for Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Leadership Winnipeg found on this link:


It was quite an eventful day at Leadership Winnipeg’s Nov. 28 gathering. The Manitoba Museum was gracious to host us and include an afternoon “behind-the-scenes tour,” while we engaged in discussions of how vital arts and culture are to the economy and to our quality of life. Art industries are major contributors to the city’s attractions and revenue, and are continuously growing! We also had the nice treat of joining The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon with a keynote speech from Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Arriving for the 9 a.m. start time, I was greeted by a statue of a pirate in the elevator and at that moment, I knew it was going to be a good day. We had our usual greetings from Wendy and Doneta, Leadership program directors, and said hi to the many faces we are learning to recognize as folks from all areas of the city and different professions, gather together in agreement that Winnipeg is a great place to be. They are a great group of people and it’s been fun to get to know them!

It wasn’t long before I had an opportunity to win my sons some free passes to the museum’s Real Pirates Exhibition. Claudette Leclerc, CEO of the Manitoba Museum, gave us an overview of the role and vision of the Manitoba heritage and science gallery that includes 2.9-million artifacts with only 5% of them on display at a time. That is pretty fascinating. I like to come at least once a year and will be bringing the kids back soon. It was interesting to see where and how the artifacts are cared for and meet the people that preserve these very special items for our future generations to enjoy.

Throughout the day we had several visitors. We met the general manager of Prairie Theatre Exchange, Cherry Karpyshin; Jeff Herd, executive director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Trudy Schroeder, executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; Carole Vivier; CEO, Manitoba Film & Music; Phyllis Laing of Buffalo Gal Pictures; Kyle Bornais of Farpoint Films; Todd Jordan of Paquin Artists Agency; and David Landreth of  the Bros. Landreth. It was interesting to learn how much they work together in partnerships and in support of each other’s work. What stood out for me the most is how they encouraged us to brag more about our creative and artistic skills and not to be so modest all the time. Winnipeg is jam-packed with incredible talent, from artists to entrepreneurs to so much more and we have to step it up and take ownership for this awesomeness and most of all, promote and support each other by putting our money where our words are, keeping it affordable for artists to survive and thrive here.

The facts are that arts and entertainment, visual and musical, bring in large amounts of revenue annually into our local economy and I think we should celebrate our local talent so much more, inviting others from around the world to see them on our stage, instead of taking the chance of losing these incredible souls to other cities. We all have creative talents and we see them executed in multiple avenues and industries, but we really need to take another level of recognizing the arts and entertainment as a vital and valuable industry, right here in our city.

I will continue to support the artists I know, incorporating their talents in the event planning and variety of involvement that I do, promoting their fantastic work. I will continue to support our museums and entertainers of all areas, acknowledging the revenue it brings to our city and I will continue to promote what a great city Winnipeg is and why we should be proud of it. I look forward to more great days with great people, while participating in the Leadership Winnipeg class of 2014-2015.

As Mr. Justin Trudeau closed off his speech, he said: “A government has an important role to play, fostering innovation and finding other ways to boost productivity and new ideas. The high-paying skilled jobs that come with those ideas will be what define our future growth. That’s the kind of resourcefulness that Winnipeg and Canada needs as we settle into this new and uncertain century.”

I’m really hoping that this concept of rewarding individuals of high payment can be adapted to the benefits and earnings of our artists and entertainers. It’s a fabulous industry from my seat. The Winnipeg Arts Council’s research for 2014 says that arts and culture activities bring in about a billion dollars per year and employ 6.4% of our labour force! That’s pretty incredible. Let’s make it grow Winnipeg. Keep up the good work!

Jessica Dumas is a Life Coach at Prime Image Life Coaching and the chair of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce.  Follow her on twitter @JDiddy2011.

Author: Jessica Dumas

Follow me on Twitter @ Facilitator, Indigenous Advisor

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