Evelyn Shapka Communications Endowment Fund

Evelyn was ahead of her time in helping to facilitate critical thinking in students, staff and peers to hone in on the critical questions related to their projects and endeavours and we all benefited from her excellent skillset.  She would ask annoying questions like:

  1. What’s your question? What problem are you trying to solve? – what is it you want to reveal, learn or create?
  2. How do you support your “cause”? – what information or background materials do you need to support your case?
  3. What did you find? – how do you effectively communicate your findings?

Evelyn spent her life guiding people in creating, honing and communicating their message.  Her forte was simply in facilitating the journey.  She was a student of results-based management, the one minute manager and strategic, systems-based analysis – all still relevant and valuable in today’s business world.

She was born and raised in Vegreville, AB.  Her post-secondary education resulted in a B.Ed. from the University of Alberta, majoring in English and Sociology in 1971.  Evelyn embraced the role of Publications Director and Head Librarian at the Department of Rural Economy at the UofA from 1972-1982. In this position, she was many things to many people:

  • To undergrads –Evelyn was the magical lady who somehow knew what they needed and where to find it.  They also figured out she was pretty darn good at writing style, form and function, to get their message across;
  • To graduate students – Evelyn was a god-send.  Need a reference…here it is!  Need some editing or guidance on writing to academic and professional standards….here’s a guiding hand.  Need a friend when the pressure of grad school was taking it’s toll…here’s a welcoming chair and an earnest listener!
  • To academic and non-academic staff – Evelyn knew how to run a library and how to structure a report, journal articles etc in the proper and effective fashion.  Need some help with a Department function…Evelyn was there to help a job done rights, with a smile.

Later in her career she would move to the Department of Agriculture (1982) and remain there until her retirement in 2008, representing over 40 years of service.  While at the Department of Agriculture, Evelyn continued to apply her skills and have an impact across the industry.  Her major role was to lead and facilitate implementation of sound economic and policy related projects with her peers.  Highlights include:

  • Ag Summit 2000 – received the Premier’s Award of Excellence for her contributions to mapping a path forward for the agricultural industry in Alberta
  • Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance – led strategic planning process for pursuing global trade opportunities for over 90 Alberta based agribusinesses
  • Creating Tomorrow – led planning and consultation for the public roadmap for Alberta’s Agriculture and food industry strategic growth plan
  • Department Social Initiatives – leadership and facilitative roles for the Department’s HR Employee recognition, Corporate Communications, Leadership recognition, and Staff speak employee satisfaction survey.  These initiatives arising out of the Dept of Agriculture, became models for government wide programs.

Evelyn always gave back.  She never stopped in her tireless pursuit to make things better for everyone around her.  We who write these words benefitted from knowing her.  We hope you benefit and are touched by our inspired generosity from knowing Evelyn too.

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God Bless.

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