Foundation Introduces New Board Chair

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) is pleased to announce that Doug Leighton has been elected to serve as the seventeenth Chair of the Board of Governors, effective January 27, 2020.  Doug has served on the Board of Governors since 2015 as a public member appointment, representing Alberta businesses. He will serve a two-year term.

Doug believes the Foundation is more important than ever. “Our province, the real estate industry, and Alberta’s communities were already facing significant economic challenges which have resulted in reduced community investment by corporations, other foundations, and philanthropists. In contrast, the Foundation has stepped up our investments and collaboration with others to leverage economic, environmental, and social benefits for Albertans,” Doug says. “The situation has since escalated into a critical public health and economic emergency with the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic that affects all Albertans. In response, the Foundation is adding greater flexibility for our grantees and exploring opportunities to respond nimbly and collaboratively to the needs of our stakeholders.”

Doug’s priority as Chair is to continue delivering on the purpose and mandate of the Foundation.  “The Foundation was established almost thirty years ago through far-sighted provincial legislation. Since that time, the Foundation has received the interest from the many small trust accounts of individual real estate brokers. These public funds are then aggregated and re-invested into research, education, innovation, and projects for the benefit of both the real estate industry and all Albertans.” He says. “We have a great Board and team, all focused on improving and building on our successful track record of the past thirty years.”

Doug is a graduate of the Master’s program in Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, with additional studies in Finance (Queens), Urban Design and Management (Harvard), and Leadership (Banff Centre). He has taught at several universities and was appointed Planner in Residence by the University of Calgary for both 2019 and 2020.

Doug is currently Principal of EDG (Environmental Design Group) specializing in planning, urban design and sustainable development.  He claims three careers so far: as a corporate executive (Alberta and BC), consulting firm principal (New Zealand), and in senior planning positions (Whistler and Banff). He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, the Canadian Institute of Planning, and Royal Architecture Institute of Canada. He has served as a Director of the Alberta, New Zealand, and BC Planning Institutes; as well as ULI Alberta and QUEST Canada.

Doug brings to the role of Chair an understanding of organizational governance and strategy together with experience in all four of AREF’s areas of interest: Community Innovation, Education & Research, Housing, and Land Stewardship & Environment. “The Foundation will continue to do its part to support Albertans and welcomes strategic and funding partnerships with groups that share its commitment to this great province.” Doug says, “Let’s overcome the challenges of the times together.”