Follow My Lead: Lourdes Juan
Meet this leading local entrepreneur, food activist and urban planner
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Lourdes Juan: I’m a Calgary based entrepreneur. I work as a planning consultant with Hive Developments, Director of Soma Hammam & Spa, Executive Director with the Leftovers Foundation, Fresh Routes and Moonlight Market Foundation. These are all businesses and non-profits that I have founded.
Why did you start your businesses?
Lourdes Juan: I’ve always wanted to have my own business, just like my dad! I knew that I needed to spend the time working for someone else, having mentors, and learning from others before I ventured out on my own. I worked at an architecture firm for 12 years before starting Hive Developments and I worked at a medi-spa for 8 years, before I opened Soma Spa.
From working at the medispa, I observed that many women were looking at self care from a cosmetic perspective. But I knew there were women like myself, who wanted self care to be about how we feel rather than chasing a perfect appearance. I started my spa business because I believe that everyone needs a regular dose integrated into their lives.
“But I also think it’s important for women to be bold — to not ask for permission and to go for it.”
What does a day in the life of Lourdes look like?
Lourdes Juan: Everyday is different. I’ve had my companies and non-profits for almost a decade now, but every day is still a full schedule. I always call my ‘top five’. These are people that are involved in my ventures and they are my family. We chat to check up, make sure things are running smooth, and if they aren’t, we problem solve together.
I wake up fairly early, so I get out all my emails and computer work done in the morning before 8-9am so I can spend the day in meetings (I’m on 3 boards).
I try to sweat once a day. I’m obsessed with hot yoga, so if I’m not in front of my computer, or at a meeting, I’m likely sweating it out.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Lourdes Juan: I love what I do. Most days it doesn’t feel like working.
The Leftovers Foundation [a non-profit that rescues leftover food to get to people in need instead] has taught me a lot about the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in society. I’m truly passionate about problem solving for the greater good. I believe that communities need to thrive and they need people to support them. I stay motivated because I know there is a lot of work to be done and I’ve never been scared of the work. It’s inspriing to work alongside people who also want a brighter future for everyone.
What advice would you give to other women looking to turn a passion project into a business?
Lourdes Juan: A few years ago, I would have said “Don’t do it!” Entrepreneurship is hard when you first start out. It’s important that entrepreneurs think through their ventures and their decisions.
But I also think it’s important for women to be bold — to not ask for permission and to go for it. Work hard and know that failure is informative and understand that entrepreneurship is an education. You’ve not ‘made it’ or are a ‘boss’ just because you venture out on your own. These are things that we prove to ourselves everyday rather than labelling ourselves.
“I’m truly passionate about problem solving for the greater good. I believe that communities need to thrive and they need people to support them.”
What is your favourite Calgary pastime, place to visit, eat, do?
Lourdes Juan: There are so many! I love Calgary. I love the grand architectural gestures that Calgary has like the Peace Bridge and the Jaume Plensa public art in front of the Bow. I love spending time in the walkable neighbourhoods like Inglewood, Mission and Kensington. I love the Grain Exchange Building (where my offices are).
I could seriously write a book on my favourite places to eat. Dosas at Madras Cafe, anything and everything at Ten Foot Henry. Namo on Edmonton Trail is one of my new favourite places as they have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. Halo-Halo at Max’s Filipino Restaurant, Brunch at Big Fish, and anything Eric Hendry makes at the Lukes Central Library. He makes oatmeal taste delicious, who does that!? I could go on.
But what I love most about Calgary are the people. People make or break cities and I’m proud to be a Calgarian among so many others!
Fresh Routes’ Mobile Food Market
Many Calgarians are foodies, taking pride and joy in the city’s diverse food offerings—including an expanding array of health foods and local and organic produce. Not all Calgarians have the same opportunities when it comes to food, however; urban sprawl, financial disparity, and transportation access make it more challenging for many residents to purchase affordable and nutritious food on a regular basis.
Fresh Routes’ Mobile Food Market is a community-driven grocery store on wheels that increases the availability of healthy and affordable foods in Calgary’s underserved neighbourhoods. It began this past May as an initiative of the Leftovers Foundation, and recently incorporated as an independent not-for-profit social enterprise.
Fresh Routes’ goals are:
- Increase access (physical, geographical, financial, educational) to fresh, high quality, culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for residents in identified food deserts in Calgary.
- Reduce social isolation and increase sense of belonging in communities.
- Enhance food literacy and skills.
Fresh Routes was founded by Anna Johnson, Rob Ironside, and Lourdés Juan. They work alongside a small team of paid market leads, an assortment of community partners, and an army of passionate volunteers. I sat down with Anna to hear more about the Fresh Routes story and lessons learned.
THREE TOWER CHINATOWN PROJECT UPDATED WITH NEW RENDERINGS
Great news – this project has been approved by Calgary City Council! Click herefor more information…
Back in early 2016, Calgary based El Condor Lands unveiled plans for a new project in Calgary’s Chinatown. The unveiling did not involve detailed plans, and was more of a concept for a 30-storey tower to be developed on an empty parcel of land in Chinatown. The proposal was at first met with an icy reception from community leaders, but El Condor, in conjunction with Hive Developments, also from Calgary continued to work with city planners.
What’s changed? According to new plans and renderings from Perkins+Will, architects for the project, the plan calls for three buildings, two of which will be residential combining for 524 units and the third building to be a 12-storey, 150 room hotel. Also in the proposal are 23 commercial retail units, which would be a great addition for a part of Chinatown that is currently lacking in retail vibrancy. Small alleyways will cut through the podium of the building, and will be adorned with diminutively scaled retail units giving the project a similar feel to the traditional North American Chinatown.
The podium’s decor will also have a definite Chinese look and feel to it, and according to Lourdes Juan, Director of Hive Developments, it won’t have a “Disney type Chinese look,” but instead for will draw inspiration based on Chinese architecture. For example, a motif of vertical and horizontal rectangles will draw inspiration from the intricate geometric wood lattices of traditional China. Detailing of the podium draws from a rich history of masonry techniques, which will be used to create texture, opacity, and variation in the facade.
According to Juan, a development permit has been submitted to the city, and they are hoping the project will be approved by the planning commission by late August or early September.
LET'S TALK ABOUT... PARKING
Parking is a complex topic, but it’s something we ponder…often. We think of parking as a “quantity” in relation to a place. But what urban and design factors influence our desire for parking and how?
Join us as we take a second look at parking: how we store, and where, and why. We’re curious to understand why we’ve become so attached to parking, and to peek into the future of what parking might look like as transportation technologies evolve over time.
- Aaron Betsky (School of Architecture at Taliesin)
- Alkarim Devani (RNDSQR)
- Reachel Knight (Calgary Parking Authority)
- Judy MacDougall (Kasian)
- Thom Mahler (The City of Calgary)
- Ali McMillan (Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association)
CALGARY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
We are proud to sponsor CUFF again this year. In their 15th year, CUFF always brings the most interesting and intriguing films. It’s our favourite film festival in Calgary!
Check out the festival films https://www.calgaryundergroundfilm.org/
CUFF runs April 16 – 22, 2018 at the Globe Cinema.
LUKES DRUG MART
Trend-setter Lukes chosen to operate cafe inside Calgary’s New Central Library
Owner of Lukes Drug Mart joins forces with chef behind Model Milk for 2,000-sq.-ft venture
Two rising stars in Calgary’s cultural scene have been chosen to operate a cafe in the New Central Library when it opens later this year.
Gareth Lukes, owner of the trendy Lukes Drug Mart, is teaming up with Eric Hendry, the former Model Milk chef who now runs Bar Von Der Fels, to develop a vision for the 2,000-square-foot food and beverage space inside the New Central Library in Calgary’s East Village.
“We saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of one of the city’s most important cultural gathering spaces,” said Lukes in a release from the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the lead developer of East Village.
“Like the library itself, which is inclusive and accessible, we believe food can serve to bring families of people together to fuel discussion and stimulate learning.”
Lukes is known for reinventing his family-owned pharmacies, making them places to hang out and enjoy ice cream or coffee while browsing through well-curated selections of books and vinyl records.
The cafe will be designed by Frank Architecture, a Calgary-based firm.
“The library took the time to find the right innovative and collaborative partner to join us at the New Central Library and we feel like we’ve hit a home run with Gareth and Eric,” said Bill Ptacek, Calgary Public Library CEO.
The $245-million Central Library in Calgary’s East Village is set to open Nov. 1, 2018.
In addition to the cafe, it will have 30 free meeting rooms, a 350-seat performance hall, an early learning centre for children and a space for teens with video, music and gaming stations.
A Special screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City was sponsored by Hive Developments on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at the Globe Cinema in Calgary, AB.
You can watch a trailer for the film below.