Oct. 21, 2021

Department Alumna, Jyoti Gondek, is the new Mayor of Calgary!

The Department of Sociology is thrilled to congratulate one of our own alumni, Jyoti Gondek, on her election as Mayor of the City of Calgary on October 18, 2021. 

We are particularly proud because Jyoti received her MA from our Department in 2003 and her PhD in 2014, and she actively identifies herself as an “urban sociologist”.  Jyoti’s Master’s thesis examined corporate stakeholder relations in connection to corporate social responsibility (supervised by Dr. Bill Zwerman).  Her PhD thesis analyzed hybrid urban-rural spaces using Rocky View County as a case study where conflicts over spatial meanings and land uses occurred (supervised by Dr. Harry Hiller). 

What intrigued Jyoti the most was to understand how sociological insights and sociological knowledge could be applied to problem-solving in cities.  This motivation was clear very early in her graduate training as she served as a consultant to a wide range of companies linking business models to regulatory and socio-economic issues.  This led her to heightened involvement in many community organizations and she even served as a volunteer citizen on the Calgary Planning Commission.  The Department recognized this talent in Jyoti and nominated her for the Angus Reid Applied Sociology Student Award which was bestowed upon her by the Canadian Sociology Association (CSA) in 2013.  But as her involvement in the community grew even further, she was given the Angus Reid Applied Sociology Practitioners Award by the CSA in 2016.

After her PhD graduation, Jyoti was named Director of the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University’s Haskayne School of Business where she served for three years before launching her own bid for City Council where she won a seat as Councillor for Ward 3 in 2017.  Her service on City Council then served as a natural springboard to the Mayor’s Chair in 2021. 

Congratulations Mayor Gondek!  We are very proud of you!  You are certainly providing a wonderful model for anyone interested in applied sociology!