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Barb Higgins on hope and hosting the Soul of the Next Economy Forum

A conversation with iconic media personality and emcee

November 7, 2019 by Centaine Hlushak

A former CTV broadcast journalist, mayoral candidate, and now mental health practitioner, Barb Higgins has spent decades on Calgary’s front lines. On November 14 and 15, Barb will take the stage as Master of Ceremonies for the Soul of the Next Economy Forum and the Be Local Awards.

“I wanted to support people in the community who are finding new ways of approaching business. I admire people who want to find the win-win,” she says of her role in the Forum and the award ceremony. 

“Profit is only one reason to go into business and it's inspiring to see people who want to also have impact.”  

The Forum theme "Finding Opportunities in Uncertain Times" resonates with her deeply given her experience in the field — as a journalist, she spent 26 years learning to observe, see all sides of an issue, and to stay curious. As a mental health practitioner, she says she gets to be part of the solution, and it’s invigorating. 

“I see a lot of fear in our city,” Barb explains. “There are many people afraid of losing what they have built and their perspective on life.” 

“The problem with fear is that it shuts down our ability to see possibility. It narrows our scope because we pull into ourselves and go into protection mode. The key is for us to pull together.   The major factor in how someone comes through a scary event is whether they feel isolated or supported.”

The Soul of the Next Economy Forum will provide a platform for connection of like-minded professionals in government, non-profit, business, and education, to come together and solve global challenges in sustainable, business-oriented ways.

“Calgary and Alberta were built by leaders who carved new trails, but times are changing,” Barb says. “We've been talking about diversification in this province since I was a kid. We must change and we must grow.”

“I hope that people feel energized, supported and leave with at least one or two new tips or ways of approaching something.”


  1. There's still time to get your tickets to the Soul of the Next Economy Forum! Each ticket includes admission to the Be Local Awards.
  2. Can't make it to the entire Forum but want to see the Be Local Awards? Buy a ceremony-only ticket for just $30!
  3. Check out Barb Higgins' TedxYYC Talk here.