Allison Knodel, one of Medicine Hat’s six newly elected city councillors, knew from a young age she wanted to have a positive impact within the community.
Knodel, who was born and raised in Medicine Hat, has always valued education and so following her high school graduation, she enrolled in the Bachelor of Education program through Medicine Hat College. Unsure, if this was her correct path, she chose to leave MHC and attend the University of Lethbridge for a semester. She eventually returned to MHC to finish her Bachelors of Education in a joint program with Mount Royal University. It was during this time she first became involved in leadership and governance positions.
“The first semester I was back at the college, I volunteered to be a peer supporter. That role is to both emotionally and academically support other students at the school. Through that role I ended up connecting with the students association,” Knodel told the News.
One of her friends then encouraged her to run for the Student’s Association.
“She was saying ‘Allison, you have to do this. You’d be great for this job,'” Knodel said.
Knodel says at that time she was strongly focused on her education and hadn’t been considering extra-curricular activities, however was drawn to the idea of helping bridge the gap between students and the school administration. She worried she didn’t have any experience running a campaign but put those fears behind her and submitted candidacy forms.
“It was something that … basically as soon as I realized what an election looked like – connecting with people and educating people about the role I was interested in – I realized it was a really good fit.”
Knodel won and assumed a role on MHC Student’s Association.
“I was able to build really positive and wide-reaching connections with the student body,” she said. “From there, it was just a natural fit for me to get my hands into any leadership opportunity I could possibly have.”
Knodel is an educator now within Medicine Hat’s public school system. She teaches digital arts and psychology, both of which she has a personal interest in. Outside school, she is the founder and owner of a small videography business, where she manages staff, many of whom are her former digital arts students.
“The combination of student leadership, teaching in a classroom and having a small business has given me a really, really positive toolbox and wide-variety of skills,” which Knodel feels will be an asset in her role as city councillor.
“I really love being involved and talking about hard topics, making decisions with the help of others. I love working with people to come to a conclusion for the benefit of others … I want to make a difference. I want to be the person, that, when people see me they say ‘she’s doing good things for people.’
Knodel openly speaks of how much she loves Medicine Hat and its people. A self-described work-a-holic who loves community and connection, she is eager to start her role as a councillor, and knows she will be busy following her swearing-in on Nov. 1. Her family and friends have recently had to remind her to schedule time for herself in between fulfilling her duties.
In her spare time, Knodel enjoys staying active and can be found walking her two dogs or enjoying outdoors areas throughout the city.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News