Lourdes Juan, BGS’05, MEDes’10
Community Commitment Award
Salutes a graduate who has made outstanding and powerful contributions to their community through professional or volunteer service.
When it comes to Lourdes Juan, BGS’05, MEDes’10, it’s hard not to talk numbers. Let’s start with the Leftovers Foundation, the organization that this year’s Arch Award recipient for Community Commitment launched in 2012. Today, Leftovers is responsible for diverting some 92,000 pounds of food per month away from landfills and, instead, redistributing them to those in need. Behind the scenes: 93 vendors, 2,347 volunteers and operations in three major cities (Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, as well as Airdrie and Hinton). Then there’s Soma Hammam & Spa which Juan, an urban planner by profession, opened in 2010; her other startup, Hive Developments (that assists developers with processes, permits and more); and Fresh Routes, a small fleet of delivery vehicles that supplies culturally appropriate groceries to communities in need. If Juan, however, looks a little sleepy these days, the culprit is not helming this community-based empire but her latest and most beloved “project” of all. Her baby son, Lorenzo.
What has been the biggest thrill while leading the charge at the Leftovers Foundation? Guiding a team that, to date, has rescued over $1 million worth of food.
What is one lesson or quote from a professor that has stuck? The day Professor Byron Miller taught about [urban planning activist] Jane Jacobs and her work. I was so enamoured by her life’s work; that’s when I knew I wanted to be an urban planner.
What, in your career, are you most proud of accomplishing? Creating the Leftovers Foundation because it fuels the social justice part of me — plus, I get to work with such amazing volunteers and team members.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Family dinner at my parents’ house.
What is your greatest fear? Currently, it’s loud noises that wake a sleeping baby, but also family falling ill.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Self-doubt.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bigotry.
Which living person do you most admire? My parents . . . and Oprah.
What is your greatest extravagance? Any time I can sneak in a nap.
What is your current state of mind? I have a newborn at home, so pure joy but I am also very, very, very sleepy.
What is the quality you most like in a man? A sense of humour.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? All of them and a sense of humour.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Recently? “Let’s go change that diaper, my stinky boy!”
Who is the greatest love of your life? Our son, Lorenzo.
What is your most treasured possession? A photo of me and my Lolo (Grandpa) from when I was three years old.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? When people are able to benefit from the work and ideas I have, that have positively impacted their lives.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A household dog so I can give and get unconditional love and get belly rubs all day. It would be a short, but sweet life.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty. Also, if they can cook, that’s a bonus because I’m not a good cook!
Who are your favourite writers? Probably Jane Jacobs, but too many to name. Lately, I’ve been reading Hana Shafi and Vivek Shraya (both are local [Shraya is a UCalgary assistant professor in the Department of English]) and I’ve loved everything about them and their writing.
Who is your hero of fiction? Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others, for the Calgary community always being so supportive, for the University of Calgary for the Arch Award honour, and for my loving family.