PKN #14: Invest

Hundreds of savvy Calgarians invested their Tuesday evening at the Metropolitan Centre for yet another sold-out EV-sponsored PechaKucha Night...and ended up doubling their return.

Doubled their return? Yes, sir. The first 300 people through the doors received an InvestYYC gift card, so you can bet your bottom dollar that the smart money made sure to arrive early.

Karen Ball, Executive Director of Calgary 2012, presided over the launch of InvestYYC, which preceded the evening's PKN. Demonstrating the power of this new crowdfunding and volunteer platform for Calgary cultural projects, she called for a vote from the audience among three randomly selected projects. With a show of hands and the click of a mouse, Afrikadey's Arts of Community Building received a $500 live pledge. Just like that.

It was a great way to set the stage for a dynamic portfolio of speakers to roll out their interpretation of the word “invest.” A Francophone artist laureate, a social media mogul, and a saxophonist (among others) may have divergent views, but it turns out they share a lot of common ground.

Using the PKN format of 20 slides for 20 seconds per slide, Sheldon Dyck, President of ATB Investor Services, advised us of the importance of investing in a balanced life portfolio. A Mensa member and Harvard graduate, he said that smart investors “think of decisions as steps in a pathway.” His spirited presentation made a big impression upon Michele, an InvestYYC participant attending her first PKN. “I was fumbling for my phone because I wanted to record every word that he said,” she laughed, as she handed out information cards about her own project during the break.

Calgary Arts Development President and CEO Terry Rock pulled double duty by speaking at the initial InvestYYC launch, and then covered for an ill PKN presenter. His presentation, pulled together with a mere two-hour notice, was a cross-country motor-home travelogue that highlighted the importance of investing in both public spaces and family.

Kari McQueen, Operations Director of Fairy Tales Presentation Society, joked “I got invited because I am the hired gun in Calgary – I write grants for everybody!” But she was very serious about the need for cultural spaces. Giving a shout-out to East Village as an area that has “come alive in a very short time,” she reminded us that, “you can collect paintings and hang them on your wall, but you really need to share them with other people.”

With Hafiz Mitha, COO of JOI Media and Katipult, showing us how “a (tweeted) picture is worth $10,000,” Daily Ink Media's Kelly Doody urging us to keep “many eggs in many baskets,” and Timeraiser's Kelly Steward reminding us that “volunteering is the only investment where you’re guaranteed to get more than you put in,” the evening proved to be completely risk-free. “I brought a whole group of Toastmasters with me this time,” confided Judy, attending her second PKN. “We're taking notes.”

Be sure to book early for the next EV-sponsored PKN in February 2013, when crowd favourites from previous PechaKucha Nights take the stage at the Boyce Theatre for “All Stars” night. It'll be a rock 'em sock 'em showdown.