We're thrilled to welcome Alexis Lockwood as the Academic Lead for the MacEwan University Social Innovation Institute to the team. 

We are excited to welcome Alexis Lockwood, the newest member of the Roundhouse team. We’re so glad to have her on board while Heather is on maternity leave!

To get to know Alexis better, we interviewed her for this month’s newsletter.

What role will you be owning with your time at Roundhouse?

I’m excited to be joining MacEwan’s Social Innovation Institute as Academic Lead — which is a fancy way of saying I’ll be working on the development, implementation, and evaluation of new Institute projects and initiatives.

Tell us a bit about your past work and what led you to Roundhouse?

I’ve had a fairly diverse career background to date - all of which has somehow perfectly converged in this role! Professionally, I am a registered social worker and adult educator. I have a strong interest in program development, evaluation, instructional design and other elements of starting up new initiatives.

I’ve worked as a frontline crisis counsellor, experiential learning specialist and project manager with the University of Alberta, innovation trainer and organizational development consultant with the City of Edmonton, evaluation coordinator and grant writer with Sage Seniors Association, and — most recently — a senior policy analyst with the Government of Alberta.

My education also lends itself to my role here. My graduate research actually focused on innovation, and how frontline employees understand or conceptualize innovation as part of their daily work. From theory to practice, I’ve had a long-standing interest in different aspects of innovation and what this complicated term means in different contexts and to different people.

What has been one of the biggest learnings in your professional career?

I subscribe to the “planned happenstance” approach to careers. This is a concept in the career development world that argues most people do not end up doing the work they thought they’d be doing when they were 18 years old. Instead, most of us end up in jobs and careers based on unexpected opportunities or events (a.k.a. “happenstance”) — go ahead, ask almost anyone over the age of 22! The “planned” part of “planned happenstance” is that it is on us to create our own luck by getting engaged in different activities and saying “yes” when new opportunities come up. I’ve learned that it’s important to keep pursuing new challenges in my work, so that I can continue to be creatively and intellectually challenged.

alexis catIf you could only take three things to a desert island, what would they be?

  • Podcasts (with power source!)

  • My cats, Captain Hastings and Sherman

  • Antibiotics

If you could do anything in the world for money, what would it be?

Create art and go for overly long coffee chats with my bestie. And eat buttered toast. And take cat selfies in morning sunlight. And listen to my favourite podcasts (current faves include Hidden Brain, Why Won’t You Date Me?, and Planet Money). And nap.

What is the best feedback you’ve ever received, and how did you learn from it?

Professionally, one of my mentors really helped me focus on learning when things are “good enough” and consider spending my best focus and effort on things that have the highest value and impact, rather than over-working and perfecting every little element of every project. This is, of course, an ongoing struggle!

How do you practice sustainability in your day to day life?

Environmental sustainability, in particular, conveniently overlaps with my cheapness. So my decisions to buy used clothing, always bring lunches from home, be vegetarian (which has multiple drivers), rent rather than buy a single-detached home, walk rather than drive are driven by thriftiness and a desire for financial independence, but also result in a lower environmental footprint.

alexisIf you’re not at work, how do you fill your time?

One thing I’m really enjoying lately is volunteering as a bootcamp instructor at the Don Wheaton YMCA. I’ve been surprised by how strong the sense of community and connection comes out of being involved in teaching a regular weekly class, and I also really like developing my own strength and endurance. Folks are welcome to come to bootcamp with me on Mondays and Fridays, 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.!

What is your mantra, or words to live by?

I have a running Google Doc with quotes that I’ve liked over the years. One that sticks out right now is, “When things are taking their ordinary course, it is hard to remember what matters” (Marilynne Robinson). This reminds me to maintain focus on big picture values and goals, both personally and professionally, rather than just drifting along with things that are urgent, reactive, or easy.

Professionally, I’ve also long had a quote by William A. Foster printed out by my computer: “Quality ...marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved.”  It’s a reminder to always seek improvements and new ways of doing things.