We get excited about all types of urban and transportation planning topics here at MetroQuest. Sustainability is definitely something we’re all passionate about, but perhaps one of us tops the list. I’d like to introduce you to Norma Hogan whose pursuit of sustainability is inspiring others at work, home and in our community. Let’s get to know Norma a little better…
What drew you to MetroQuest seven years ago?
From the very beginning, I loved the intersection between sustainability and technology, particularly computers and online engagement. While I’m far from a programmer, I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a closet computer nerd – and I mean that in the nicest way possible as the “nerds” around here are a fantastic group of brilliant people. Sustainability has been my passion for as long as I can remember, so finding a job that combined the two seemed like hitting the jackpot. To me, computers are a means to an end, the end in this case being sustainability and public engagement.
Norma, can you give us the 10,000-foot view of your role at MetroQuest?
I’ve held a number of different roles over the past seven years. I started as a configuration manager, which meant designing MetroQuest surveys for our customers. I was then promoted to project manager before MetroQuest became a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Most recently, I worked as a Success Manager working closely with our customers to help them make the most out of MetroQuest. Since recently returning from completing my Master’s Degree in Environment and Management, I’m wearing many hats working on strategic projects and sharing my experience with the Customer Success and Support team and the Marketing department.
Are you able to draw on your passion for sustainability and utilize it in your role at MetroQuest?
Many, if not most, of the planning projects that our customers use MetroQuest for have elements of sustainability – from transit projects to climate change adaptation plans and everything in between. Especially as a project manager, I felt like a planner through osmosis. Having some knowledge in sustainability has definitely been an advantage. While working at MetroQuest, I’ve also had the opportunity to go back to school and complete my Master’s Degree in Sustainability and Management. I’m excited that I now get to write about sustainability for our marketing department and share the important work our customers are doing to move sustainability forward.
What do you think your customers do differently in terms of public engagement?
Our customers understand the importance of hearing from the silent majority: those who don’t attend public meetings or workshops … or perhaps do attend, but don’t necessarily make their voice heard. So many people fall into this category – youth, students, working parents, all of whom don’t have the time or don’t find traditional ways of engagement appealing. And yet, their opinions very much do matter.
By adding online engagement to their public engagement strategy, our customers get input from a much broader demographic. Not just for optics, because they genuinely want to get buy-in from the public to ensure they build a better plan that the public will support. To me, that’s a critical element of democracy. To bring it back to sustainability – we need a broad demographic to be informed, rather than just preach to the already converted, and everyone to be heard equally, not just the squeaky wheel.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I volunteer in a couple of different sustainability capacities – on the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee to the City of Surrey Council as well as on the Environmental Team for the Surrey Board of Trade. I also volunteer for the David Suzuki Foundation in more capacities than I could list here, from coaching families to live greener to tending to pollinator gardens. If I’m not volunteering or working, I spend time with my family, most likely doing something active and outdoors with my husband and my two beautiful children.
Stay tuned for many blogs on sustainability authored by Norma. I know I’ll be excited to read them…