The Spur Questionnaire: Kevin McNichol

Kevin McNichol
Kevin McNichol

Kevin McNichol is the Vice President of Strategy of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Prior to that, he worked with HomeFront, Calgary’s coordinated community justice response to domestic violence. He’ll be taking part in our panel The Wealthy Community.

Tell us about your participation in the 2015 Spur Festival. 
I have been asked to participate in The Wealthy Community panel discussion. Definitely going to be an intimidating experience as I am new to the Housing and Homeless sector and the rest of the panelists are recognized international experts on the subject.

What do you hope Spur Festival attendees will take away from your session?
I hope they will walk away with local understanding about Homelessness in Calgary and inspired to seek ways to assist the homeless amongst us. At the CHF we firmly believe that the key to ending homelessness rests with an entire community taking action to create space for vulnerable populations within our community and to find enough accessible, affordable, safe housing for everyone.

What are you most looking forward to about the Spur Festival?
A great society can only occur through the exchange of knowledge and ideas. I am looking forward to having robust conversations which can broaden my mind, challenge my assumptions and dare me to take steps which might build a better community.

What is the one item you never leave home without?
Sadly these days, reading glasses and my smartphone.

Which book is currently on your nightstand?
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration by Amy Wallace and Ed Catmull.

In the last year, what is the longest you have gone unplugged? No internet, no cell phone, etc.
Hmm, I unplug from work for 4-6 weeks every year but doubt I have been “unplugged” for longer than 2 days at any one stretch.

Who was the last person you texted?
My best and longest friend in Montreal.

The animated show The Jetsons was set in 2062. Is there anything from their futuristic world that wish were a current reality
I wish my dog could talk like Astro. Who wouldn’t want a talking dog!

How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues: by phone, email, text or in person? How do you prefer to communicate with friends?
I prefer to communicate in person.  I find there is less room for miscommunication and it forges much stronger and deeper relationships.  If electronic mediums are required my order of preference is some type of FaceTime/Skype, phone, email and then text. It is interesting I have adopted a standing desk at work and one of the biggest changes is the increase in my interpersonal interactions with staff. Instead of sending an email, I just walk down the hall and talk. Since I am already standing I am half way to walking.  Further, the trips give me an opportunity to “get onto the floor” where the work is happening—which keeps me grounded and better in touch with the culture and mood of my agency and staff team.

What do you love the most about living in Calgary?
Driving down Sarcee Trail as the sun is rising from the NW and seeing both the city and mountains in a giant panoramic vista. Inspiring and humbling at the same time. That view embodies my sense of Alberta, full of opportunity and awe about what nature and man can create


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