Oct. 27, 2022

Epilepsy diagnosis gives more purpose to this grad’s life

2022 Top 40 Under 40: Evan Legate, BA’10 (Political Science); board chair, Epilepsy Association of Calgary; partner, Longview Communications & Public Affairs
Evan Legate
Evan Legate Avenue Magazine

It could happen to any of us. But, would you have the chutzpah to turn your life around as Evan Legate did when, at 27, he discovered he had epilepsy? Now 34, while Legate’s day job as a partner at Longview Communications & Public Affairs continues to be more than fulfilling, it’s what he’s accomplished as board chair of the Epilepsy Association of Calgary (EAC), that is so impressive. With a goal of providing community support to the 30,000 southern Albertans who are living with epilepsy, Legate, with the EAC board and staff, have rebuilt programs and introduced sessions that address depression and mental wellness, as well as workshops that teach coping methods for cognitive issues like memory and attention.

What is your current job title? And what do you do now?

I am a partner at Longview Communications & Public Affairs where I provide government relations and communications services to our diverse range of clients across Canada and internationally. To help my clients achieve their government-relations goals, I utilize my understanding of how government works, my deep relationships across the political spectrum and within the bureaucracy, and my ability to craft and communicate a convincing message. 

What do you miss about student life?

Bake Chef. Can I say Bake Chef? I miss Bake Chef.

Favourite classes?

Political Science 399: Research Methods; Political Science 430: Public Opinion Research; and Political Science 597 (Special Reading Topic): Political Campaigning.

All three gave me the concrete skills and networks I needed to secure the initial job and volunteer opportunities I was interested in as a new grad. 

What has been your biggest career highlight to date? What are you most proud of?

My biggest career highlight to date was being the campaign manager for Doug Schweitzer’s 2017 leadership bid of the United Conservative Party. I love working in politics and it was a dream come true to run a province-wide political campaign, and one made even better as Doug and I became great friends while working together to advance the socially moderate and fiscally conservative wing within the wider conservative movement.

I am most proud of my volunteer work as the chair of the Board of Directors at the Epilepsy Association of Calgary, where I have led the association through an aggressive rebuild over the last few years with a goal of becoming one of the leading epilepsy associations in Canada.

What is the most satisfying thing about your job?

I enjoy working with a diverse group of clients. No two days are the same and I am constantly able to learn new things about a wide range of industries and policies. 

If you were to go back to school, what would you take?

A master’s in economics and political science.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Space. It’s humongous. 

Any advice for students or new grads? 

For students: Be present in the moment. Take your time. Seek out others with differing viewpoints and life experiences and learn from them. Go to Bake Chef often. 

Why is mentorship important?

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel on your own when someone else is taking the time to show you how a race car works. 

When you are not working, what do you do? 

I spend most of my time volunteering through my board work at the Epilepsy Association of Calgary and the Calgary Public Library, as well as running, reading, and hanging out with my kids. 

With files from Avenue Magazine.

Meet the entire 2022 cohort of Top 40 Under 40 honourees at Avenue Magazine.