‘Woman of Distinction’ powered by achievement, service

She prefers marathons with military-style obstacles. She mentors young women. She achieves every goal she sets for herself. And this year she wants more of your money!

After only a few minutes talking to Harriet Tinka about her job as the City of Edmonton’s staff United Way campaign chair, and you know, for sure, that this year city employees will be giving more.

Harriet knows it, believes it with every fibre of her being, and is prepared to push hard – no, harder! – to see the City’s 11,000 employees achieve even greater levels of generosity this year than last.

Harriet, you see, is an ‘achiever extraordinaire’. She knows how to set goals, then go after them with a tenacity you just wouldn’t believe.

Her goal-oriented focus has won her a major award from the YWCA.

Harriet’s the senior accountant in Corporate Services. She got the eight-month United way secondment after seeing a City Manager’s posting.

“Right away, I knew it was my dream job. All my life I’ve volunteered and supported the disadvantaged. I also just love setting goals and exceeding them,” she says.

Last year, her first in the role, she and her volunteer team doubled the City’s United Way contribution from $90,000 to $180,000, winning the City the ‘Quantum Leap’ Award from the United Way.

They did it by involving 80 volunteer site coordinators in developing their own plans for unique ways to stimulate giving in their branches or work locations – everything from barbeques to bake sales.

This year she’s planning for the fall fundraising drive to reach even greater heights, partly by stirring up friendly competition amongst departments, branches and worksites.

“We’ve even talked to the City of Calgary about starting up a rivalry,” she laughs.

The United Way is just the tip of Harriet’s iceberg. There’s SO much more!

Harriet was one of the YWCA’s 2014 Women of Distinction winners, a recognition of the incredible community contributions she’s made, especially to young women.

After early years of international modeling, she returned to Edmonton to finish her education. She was soon asked to teach young women pursuing modeling careers.

“Their biggest problem was self-esteem, and lack of confidence-building life skills.”

That realization started Harriet on a path that has seen her:

  •  offer 6-week programs to low-income, self-harming young women
  • start the Empowered Youth program, which helps low self-esteem young women find their life-paths
  • volunteer as a Big Sister for the last 10 years
  • work with Easter Seals on programs that help young people with special needs
  • volunteer her two monthly earned days off, offering child day care to mothers at the Lurana Women’s Shelter

She and her husband have three children – a high school-grad boy, and two girls aged six and two.

A marathon runner who prefers military-style obstacle races, Harriet has entered this year’s 125-kilometer Great Canadian Death Race.

…so you see what we mean.

City staff had better get ready to donate more!