(Fort McMurray) Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the 12th nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2015-2016:
Linda McKenna arrived in Fort McMurray in 1982 with very little in the way of assets other than her young family. Opportunity for a better life for her family is what brought Linda and her family to Fort McMurray. Linda was working for Boston Pizza in their corporate office when a mentor who thought highly of her asked if she would be interested in taking over a pizza restaurant in McMurray and turning it into a Boston Pizza. Linda’s husband was a long distance truck driver and she was often alone with her kids, so after some discussions with her husband and family, they decided to take the risk. Fort McMurray was a boom town and it seemed the perfect opportunity for a better home life.
In order to make the deal work, Linda and her husband took on two partners – her husband’s brother and Linda’s mom. The balance got financed at high interest rates. To come up with the down payment Linda sold her beloved car – her first new car and one she loved. To this day she misses that car.
In March of 1982, the family relocated to Fort McMurray .Her children at the time were 3 and 6. They lived in a family members’ basement suite. They opened their restaurant – which at the time was located in the Morrison Centre. Not long after opening, the economy took a serious downturn and the family found themselves having to manage a business 100% financed, little credit and a family to raise. Their strong ethics and work habits paid off and they survived the tough times.
Through the next 12 years, they went through the ups and downs of life in Fort McMurray and in 1994 Linda’s mentor offered her the opportunity to move the restaurant to the MacDonald Ave. location. Linda’s philosophy in running a restaurant is that everyone who dines in her restaurant will be treated like a guest in her home. Linda also believes that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can achieve your dreams as long as you work hard to succeed.
Ms. McKenna is a positive mentor of women in business. She is a strong supporter of education and her employees who are students must maintain good grades or their hours will be cut. Linda has coached minor sports; she was an avid baseball player, loves to support children’s teams and loves animals. In 2015 Linda worked to have a treadmill purchased for the SPCA. This allows animals in need of rehabilitation and exercise to become healthy. She has a house full of adopted animals.
Linda is a strong community supporter and supports a number of community non- profits and believes strongly in giving back to the community. She leads by example and her business is one of the highest grossing stores in the franchise. She has been a successful agent for change, never backing down from a challenge. She has earned the support of many, many people, especially young women who have worked for her or who have benefited from her generosity. She is a tremendous role model and it is not uncommon to hear people say “I want to be the next Linda.”
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Linda McKenna and 11 other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place in June, 2016.
The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.
To nominate a woman of inspiration, please visit our website at www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director – Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta