Introducing the 2019/2020 Gifted selection panel

By Michelle Ferguson April 3, 2019

Every year Edmonton Made brings together a panel of community leaders, and members of the business and design community to curate a catalogue full of the city’s best wares. Each panellist represents a different area of expertise to form a well-rounded selection committee.

The six-person panel, in consultation with Edmonton Made, will choose the products that will appear in the 2019/2020 edition of Gifted. Find out more about the selection process here.

Gifted Product Body V2

Your Gifted 2019/2020 Selection Panel

Ian O’Donnell | Executive Director, Downtown Business Association

For the past two and a half years, Ian O’Donnell has advocated for downtown businesses, but his career as a community builder started long before that. O’Donnell was seven when he first set foot in Edmonton. His father had accepted a promotion at Environment Canada running the weather service for the Prairies. As fate would have it, the family landed on Black Friday — the infamous day in 1987 when a deadly tornado struck the city. As frightening as it was, the experience showed O’Donnell how thoughtful and collaborative Edmonton was and encouraged him to get involved. 

Over the years, the former Manasc Isaac project manager had a hand in building not only the city's structures, but its community — sitting on various city boards and volunteering for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and the Downtown Edmonton Community League. A champion of local business and of a vibrant, urban community, O’Donnell brings his passion for all things Edmonton to the Gifted selection committee.

  • Signature Edmonton drink? 
    Hard to beat a Tom Collins on the Mac’s patio.

  • Where do you bring out of town guests to show them the “real” Edmonton? 
    For a walk around our Provincial Legislature Grounds, a trolley over the High Level and a pint at the Sugar Bowl.

  • Favourite summer activity in Edmonton? 
    Patio’ing or the Canadian Derby

Linda Hoang | Blogger & Social Media Specialist

Linda Hoang has been blogging since before the literary form had a name. Today, she’s one of Edmonton’s most influential bloggers — sharing her perspectives around food, travel and life on Linda-Hoang.Com. She’s also a social media specialist and has been helping local entrepreneurs and businesses harness the power of this essential 21st century marketing tool through her freelance consulting business.

Up until recently these were just her side gigs. In March 2019, Hoang announced that she would be leaving her position at a local ad agency to focus on her blog and other entrepreneurial ventures. (She’s behind Instagrammable Walls of Edmonton Photo Walks and Edmonton International Cat Festival.) Now that she doesn’t have to juggle a full-time job with (almost) full-time blogging, followers can expect even better and more useful content about where to eat, shop and explore in Edmonton. Hoang’s prowess for spotting local trends will be consequential to the curation of Gifted.

  • Where do you go for a sweet treat and what do you get? I actually have more of a savoury tooth, but for sweet treats, you might find me grabbing some soft serve ice cream at Y’elod on Whyte Ave or matcha croissants from Chocorrant!

  • Downtown, Whyte Ave or 124th? I love 124 Street’s cafes, restaurants, shops and Instagrammable Walls! It’s a very charming neighbourhood and a great one to show off to people visiting Edmonton.

  • Favourite Instagram follow? @_citizen_dane_, a heritage building enthusiast who catalogues heritage buildings in Edmonton and shares their history, making for super interesting posts.

Landon Schedler | Oliver Apt. Design Studio, Founder

If you like good eats, then chances are you’re familiar with Landon Schedler’s work. From Bar Bricco to Duchess Bake Shop, the third-generation carpenter has furnished some of the city’s hottest eateries since founding Oliver Apt. Design Studio in 2011.

Schedler’s carpentry projects aren’t limited to the hospitality realm. He also builds custom furniture and woodworking projects for residential, retail and office spaces, and recently began offering design services to help clients bring their vision to life more seamlessly. In 2017, Oliver Apt. released its first furniture collection. The studio continues to add to the collection of mid-century-modern wares.

While Oliver Apt. is now recognized as one of Alberta’s premier furniture studios, it began like many Edmonton Made companies — a single-person e-commerce operation, focused on small home accessories. Schedler brings his perseverance, business acumen and craftmanship to the Gifted selection panel.

  • Favourite Edmonton hangout? Next Act — that’s how I met my wife (The Next Act co-owner Saylish Haas) and I still take every chance I get to grab a seat in there!

  • What Edmontonian living or dead would you like to meet? Rene LeMarchand. "The inheritor of a valuable cache of second-hand straight razors” moved to Edmonton from France and set out to build the most luxurious apartment building in Canada!

  • Tea or coffee? And favourite local shop to grab one? Coffee at ACE

Siao Yong | Trade & Investment Manager, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)

As part of EEDC’s trade and investment team, Siao Yong helps small and medium enterprises grow and expand beyond our region by facilitating connections in international markets and coaching companies through the export process.

Though she’s worked with companies in a variety of areas, she is currently focused on consumer products — namely lifestyle (beauty, cosmetics and skincare) and food products. Over the past year, she’s taken companies to Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. In addition, her team recently introduced local distilleries to the Japanese market.

Though she loves travelling, Yong says the best part of her job is seeing Edmonton brands on shelves in renowned cities. Her expertise in consumer and international trends will help ensure Gifted is filled with high potential brands.

  • What Heritage Days booth do you always stop at? I tend to venture to a different one each time and try something new, although I do enjoy the mango on a stick with spices very much!

  • Favourite place you’ve travelled to for work? I recently went to Berlin and fell in love with the sort of edgy vibe the city gives off. Business-wise, it's a great place to spot trends. I hope to return soon so I have more time to explore!

  • Favourite outdoor activity in Edmonton? BBQ’s/picnics — just being outdoors in general when the weather is nice.

Check back over the next three weeks for the rest of the panel!

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