Alexander Fanni (Bachelor of Arts ’17) received MacEwan University’s new Emerging Leader Award in the spring of this year.

Fanni was one of two recipients of the award, and was chosen based on his efforts toward building relationships in both his professional and volunteer work. His time as a student at MacEwan, he says, helped him to understand the value of those relationships and in creating a sense of community in the ventures that followed.

Fanni was born and raised in London, Ontario. At the age of 18, he joined the Canadian Forces, which took him to Quebec, New Brunswick and eventually to Edmonton, where he joined the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Tank Regiment. In 2008, he was deployed to Afghanistan for a year.

“I credit the military and my deployment to Afghanistan with my personal and academic success since leaving the Canadian Forces in 2011,” says Fanni.

Following his time in the military, Fanni says he considered a few options where his existing skills would easily transfer, such as heavy equipment operation in the oilfield or becoming a police officer, but in the end decided he wanted a larger change.

“After living in a tank for five years, I wanted to get an education. I was looking forward to taking all of my life experience and bringing that to MacEwan, and using that as a springboard into my professional career.”

Fanni originally intended to transfer to the University of Alberta for the final two years of his degree, but once he settled into student life he had a change of heart. “After my first year, I found that I really enjoyed the small class sizes and the community. MacEwan was just a better fit for me.” 

He studied history, minoring in political science, and says that the skills he learned in research, writing reports, interviewing and public speaking were instrumental in the next steps in his career.

Those skills were utilized during the summers that Fanni worked in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, supporting the Acho Dene Koe First Nation community with oil and gas development and regulatory affairs. Once he left MacEwan, he got his MBA at Royal Roads University, and pursued working with First Nations communities full time.

Today, Fanni is the general manager of Landmark Resource Management in Victoria, BC. “We support Indigenous communities, industry and government, primarily in the natural resource sector but also in finding solutions to challenging issues such as land and resources development, and reconciliation between government, industry and First Nation communities.”

Fanni says that Landmark’s main focus is supporting Indigenous communities and helping them navigate land and resource issues. The company consists of only 15 employees, but provides service throughout Western and Northern Canada, and into Ontario.

Outside the office, Fanni volunteers with Indigenous and rural high school students, helping them hone their skills and preparing them for future careers in the natural resources sector. Something as seemingly simple as obtaining a driver’s license can be challenging for teens in isolated communities.

“If you’re 200 kilometres outside Fort St. John, it’s not so easy. You need gas money, transportation even to write the test, and you don’t always pass on your first try. It’s a real barrier,” says Fanni. Once the teens are equipped with skills and licenses, Fanni helps them to set goals and chart a career path toward potentially working with companies like Landmark one day.

Overall, Fanni says there is one thing that Landmark is able to offer that larger-scale companies might not. “One of our core values is that relationships matter. We don’t want to be a huge corporation, because we feel we’d lose that personal touch and those strong relationships. That’s something that I really took away from MacEwan. The relationships that you build, having that sense of community, it’s what sets MacEwan and Landmark apart.”

He says he hopes to continue to build on that sense of community as an Emerging Leader Award recipient. “I’m a big believer in MacEwan, and being recognized by my peers and the faculty is an incredible honour. I want to keep that network open, to meet new people and support the university and students.”

Applications are now open for MacEwan’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader Award. If you know a MacEwan alum who is making a difference, nominate them at Nominations close on October 31.

Related Reads

Let’s stay in touch!
Sign up to receive our weekly MacEwan University e-newsletter straight to your inbox.