Episode #56 – Leann Hackman-Carty, Master of Disaster

“When you think about it, this [emergency preparedness] truly is about saving lives, saving livelihoods and saving quality of life in the community.” – Leann Hackman-Carty

For almost thirty years Leann Hackman-Carty has led public, private and non-profit organizations through eras of change into new levels of growth and stability through her specialties in community economic development, business and economic recovery and entrepreneurship.

In 2014, the year after Southern Alberta experienced some of the worst floods in 100 years, Leann completed an Economic Disaster Recovery Project with 10 Southern Alberta flood impacted communities and Treaty 7 Community Futures (Siksika/Stoney). As part of this, she organized 11 technical assistance teams and completed individual business and economic recovery reports. She also Canadianized the International Economic Development Council (IEDC)’s Recovery and Resiliency Roadmap: A Toolkit for Economic Preparedness which helps communities prepare for and recover from economic disruptions, whether natural or manmade.

A second major disaster in Alberta, the devastating fires in the city of Fort McMurray, brought Leann to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to work on their business and economic recovery efforts, including setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline; validating businesses for Canadian Red Cross emergency relief; and leading a 10-member economic development team to complete an economic recovery assessment.

As a result of her work in emergency relief and economic recovery, Leann has authored three books under the umbrella of Master Your Disaster. The three books are themed for individual, business and community emergency preparedness and recovery. Leann also launched a pilot project to bring IEDC’s Economic Resilience Training for Community and Regional Leaders course to four Alberta communities, and will be one of the key trainers participating. Upon completion, the training will be made available to all Canadian communities.

Leann served as the Mayor of Calgary’s Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development for over a decade; managed several political election campaigns; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; offered innovative community business and economic recovery services; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; built peer advisory boards for women entrepreneurs; and initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups. Since 2009, she has served as CEO of Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) which is Alberta’s economic development network. In this role she works very closely with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and their Restore Your Economy division.


  • Show Notes
  • [02:00] Patrick introduces his next guest to The Everyday Millionaire: Leann Hackman-Carty
  • [04:00] Leann and Patrick get rolling with her elevator pitch!
  • [04:38] Leann expands on the devastating catalyst that drew her to be of contribution to her Alberta community and coin the term “Master of Disaster.”
  • [05:52] Leann and Patrick explain the unexpected events that unfolded in southern Alberta during the floods of 2013.
  • [07:45] Leann’s focus in disaster relief stemmed from her work with Economic Developers Alberta and the realization that once the good work of emergency responders was finished, how were people and businesses going to be supported in recovery.
  • [09:08] The compelling reasons {and fundamental brain wiring} behind Leann’s call to action in the wake of two natural disasters.
  • [11:30] Patrick and Leann discuss the fires in Fort McMurray which spurred an action plan to support business owners, plus a broader understanding of the impacts facing renters and property owners around expectations, economic recovery and business continuity in the face of a disaster.
  • [15:40] Patrick gives a realistic view of what REIN is educating and providing for Members to protect their asset and their tenants’ best interest in the face of a disaster.
  • [16:52] Understanding more about Leann’s approach and drive within her business and how she is in support of mitigation and preparedness for homeowners right through to communities.
  • [19:42] The impacts Leann has within municipalities to help them plan and prepare.
  • [20:16] Leann discusses her book and how the lack of available resources when she needed them, prompted her to create her own central resource: Master Your Disaster.
  • [21:38] Good tip alert! On an individual level, Leann provides excellent insights into how people can prepare an action plan for themselves and the safety of their family.
  • [25:03] From the rental housing provider standpoint Leann also offers valuable ideas to best prepare and inform tenants for their safety and coverage.
  • [29:21] Leann delves into ways in which real estate investors can engage a municipality’s economic development team to do diligence around their emergency preparedness plan and understand how their investment will be protected.
  • [31:38] Leann reflects on the learnings from the Fort McMurray fires and the interesting psychology of the emotional ties we have to our homes regardless of the implications.
  • [33:07] The varied path of education Leann chose turned out to be very reflective of the kind of work she does now.
  • [33:57] Leann’s social conscience, sense of community and her entrepreneurial spirit was bred from her upbringing in a farming environment {the original masters of disaster} and her parents’ strong ties to their community.
  • [37:12] What are some common themes Leann has experienced in her work, ways in which people show up for others and things to consider on a community level for recovery and rebuilding?
  • [41:42] Patrick also considers the lengthy impacts of disaster on communities such as Slave Lake and the volume of work in order to rebuild after so many structures have been wiped out.
  • [43:00] Leann explains the work she is doing an international platform with the Institute for Sustainable Development within California, British Virgin Islands and Saipan in Micronesia.
  • [44:35] Leann reflects on preventative measures being undertaken, or not, in Canadian communities and the too often missing piece of recovery preparedness that must follow emergency preparedness.
  • [46:41] Connecting the dots to forge strong communication between emergency first responders and the community’s economic and business needs, for a robust framework around recovery and sustainability.
  • [49:43] In a situation like Fort McMurray where an economic downturn preceded the natural disaster, Leann found that while thousands of people did not return to the city, it’s difficult to know the real cause.
  • [50:49] Leann provides guidance to listeners about how they become involved and engaged in individual risk mitigation as homeowners and real estate investors and be in contribution to their community.
  • [53:45] The important impacts Leann is also having on a municipal level with community resilience training for elected officials, city planners, chambers of commerce and non-profits, to help them understand some of the principles, challenges and conversations needed around disasters and recovery.
  • [55:19] Are there advantages from an insurance perspective for taking an active and pragmatic approach to emergency preparedness?
  • [57:11] Patrick talks about the power behind the action of the REIN community which has influenced REIN’s ability to negotiate superior rental property insurance coverage from Park Insurance and their underwriters.
  • [59:38] Hey! What is Leann and her family doing for an emergency plan? She explains her acronym Stand A.P.A.R.T.
  • [61:34] Leann offers suggestions for engaging kids in the conversation without making it terrifying.
  • [64:02] Patrick provides a synopsis of his takeaways about personal preparation.
  • [66:28] Leann discusses the idea of incentivizing businesses to take preventative measures and create a business continuity plan.
  • [68:55] Conversations about coverage, insurance, and learning from the experiences and trials of others who have lived through a disaster.
  • [70:35] Leann provides some final and valuable insights when considering properties to purchase, the communities and environment those properties are in and preparing tenants to set them up for success.
  • [72:50] Even taking one step or implementing one suggestion from this podcast could truly save a life and make a difference.
  • [74:28] Leann’s not off the hook! Rapid Fire time: recommended reading, inspirational quote, jobs she doesn’t like but must take on, favourite swear word, messages at the pearly gates, Leann’s weirdness scale, room-desk-car, favourite tune, favourite movie.
  • [78:10] Leann’s gratitude.

Connect with Leann Hackman-Carty:


Linked In

Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:

Master Your Disaster by Leann Hackman-Carty

Economic Developers Alberta

Institute for Sustainable Development


Park Insurance 

Virgin Unite – a Richard Branson foundation

Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson

Support the show

To stay up to date with future episodes, enter your email below.