Monelle SturkoThe year 2019 has been a year of firsts for Monelle Sturko, a Brownlee LLP lawyer who spends her time outside of the office focused on contributing to the community.

On Thursday, December 5, Monelle was announced as the incoming president of the Edmonton Bar Association (EBA) for 2020, while this past spring, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF).

While the EBA and the ECF may have different organizational objectives, Monelle views them both in a similar fashion from the standpoint of contributing to and building the community to be strong and successful – be it the legal community or that of the Edmonton area.

Regarding her mission as president of the EBA, Monelle’s focus is to both work with the board to enhance the EBA’s visibility, as well as continue to have the EBA create events that bring the profession together. In addition to the EBA events, such as the Judges’ Dinner and golf tournament, the EBA also sponsors the Edmonton Community Legal Centre Advice-a-Thon. At this event, Edmonton lawyers give free legal advice to the general public for the day. In addition to sponsoring the event, the EBA board members also volunteer their time and expertise.

In her role on the ECF Board, Monelle is looking forward to her position on the Social Enterprise Fund Subcommittee, which provides loans to upstart non-profit or for-profit ventures whose goals are to improve the community. The success of this mission since its inception in 2008 earned the subcommittee some recognition from Edmonton City Council in September. Monelle views her role with ECF as one where she will benefit greatly from the leadership of the CEO, Martin Garber-Conrad, whom she credits as inspiring her to become more involved with what she describes as a remarkable and ground-breaking organization.

When asked what motivates her to volunteer her time, Monelle credits her small town upbringing that instilled in her the deep strength of community and the value of helping others. She adds: “The success of a community is accomplished when you help all people succeed and then enable them to thrive. I want people to believe that no matter where you find yourself in life, it is always possible for you to achieve great things. My involvements with the EBA and the ECF are my way of hopefully contributing to that.”