HOK #105: Meet Alecia O’Brien

Alecia O’Brien pictured with her husband and three children. Photo courtesy of Alecia O’Brien.

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

“I won a scholarship to study abroad and selected Ottawa because I wanted a white Christmas. I definitely got more than I bargained for there. I met my future husband on the second day at Roosters coffee shop at Carleton University and made some terrific friends so I stayed.

It’s hard to begin describing myself without talking immediately about the little and big people around me first. I’m a mum of three primary school-aged kids which keeps my husband and I busy. We’ve been enjoying the calm that has come with Covid-19 and being stuck at home because it’s meant more quality time without the pressure of having to run to the next activity or errand outside of the home. My husband is a partner of an Ottawa law firm and the President of the CCLA, which combined keeps him really busy. I’m an Aries and not shy to express my opinion, so I make a great sparring opponent for his negotiation practice.

I’ve worked in software marketing most of my 20+ year career, but started with a short stint in wine after I finished my Masters of Marketing in Australia (focused on the wine industry). In fact, my first job in Ottawa was as a wine rep where I quickly learned who were the nicest sommeliers and chefs in town. My roommates and friends were also big fans of the open wine sample bottles I’d bring home! Today I lead a digital marketing team at Crank Software, a stealth startup that has been killing it quietly over the last decade with their embedded UI software (in English that means software that creates graphics for touchscreens). Two of the three founders also live in Kitchissippi. 

When Facebook was taking off I noticed that my local neighbourhood didn’t have any groups to share local related content, so while I was on mat leave, I created the Westboro Moms and Dads, and The Carlingwood Hood FB groups.

My love for community building also means I’ve become quite passionate about local politics. Around 10 years ago, I restarted the Carlingwood Community Association (CCA) — though for self-serving purposes, I think. I wanted the Winter Carnival to start again for my kids! We quickly started being a voice with the city as the LRT started making noise, and today the CCA remains a strong advocate for the west end. I’ve since moved into Highland Park and am excited to about my ability to contribute to my new neighbourhood in the future.

I adore running and biking through our tree-lined streets and admiring the gardens and houses of my neighbours. The visible change on the overarching trees between seasons is so picturesque, and the diversity of house styles gives us a lot to talk about, admire and dream! Especially the renovations! The majority of my friends live in this area today so I love knowing it’s likely I’ll bump into a friend when out and about for a good chat. 

We’ve recently added a new puppy to our family and I’m grateful to everyone in Westboro Moms and Dads who helped us select the breed! If you see us out walking with this gorgeous little puffball, make sure to say hi!”

Collected by Maureen McEwan.

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