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Try keeping up with this go-getter --I can't

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  • Try keeping up with this go-getter --I can't

    Try keeping up with this go-getter --I can't

    Scott McKeen
    The Edmonton Journal

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    CREDIT: Ed Kaiser, The Journal
    Carissa Reiniger.

    More Columns By This Writer
    :: Santo's in Little Italy, where all the servers know your name

    :: Council's cuisine habits hard to swallow

    :: Edmonton guilty of espionage?

    :: Council should jump on this train

    :: BlackBerry users deserve a raspberry

    :: 'To pronger' may become local verb

    :: Few degrees of separation between auto theft and drug trade

    Carissa Reiniger is an alien from the planet Go-getter.

    That's my theory. Now I need a nap. You try interviewing her for an hour. It's draining, I tell you.

    Don't get me wrong. I really like Reiniger. She's charming, funny and smart, with a self-deprecating sense of humour and a fierce loyalty to Edmonton.

    It's just that, well, my work ethic pales. She's done more in her 24 years than the McKeen lineage has done since the time of Stonehenge, through which we napped.

    As a University of Alberta student she balanced her studies with four jobs: director of the campus Student Group Services; regional supervisor for Inventa Sales and Services; youth co-ordinator at her church; and promotions planner for Rogers Mobility.

    She did it with a lean, efficient study schedule. She'd attend only the first class, pick up the course outline, turn assignments in at deadline and cram for tests.

    When she graduated in 2004 -- yes, with high marks -- she bought a condo in Toronto and headed east to consider four job offers. Soon after, she launched her own marketing and communications company.

    The firm, Silver Lining, has offices in both Edmonton and Toronto. Reiniger commutes between the two and is busy adding staff to handle a growing list of clients.

    In the midst of all this, she wrote a book, Stories From Our Black Books, about women and relationships.

    And she's on the board of Women Entrepreneurs of Canada. And she's on an advisory board at NAIT. And she consults to a number of Toronto companies. She does other volunteer work, too.

    She's also the organizer of a now annual Toronto event, Get Down E-Town, where former Edmontonians gather to network, as well as celebrate their old hometown. The 2005 party was so successful that Reiniger took it on tour this year to Calgary and Vancouver.

    "My mind is very organized. I could probably recite my schedule for the next two months, hour by hour," she says, laughing. "I could write the column for you, if you like." And she could. She writes columns for two small business newspapers.

    "I'm lucky," she says. "I couldn't have done all of this if I slept eight hours a night."

    Unlike the rest of us, Reiniger normally sleeps four to five hours. But she can get by on three. She says the best time to work is from midnight to 3 a.m. Apparently, you can get a lot of work done while everyone else is sleeping. If you're driven to do it, that is.

    "The background to all of this is that I was home-schooled, from Grade 1-9, because I was too shy to go to school," she says.

    As a child, she found it excruciating to be separated from her parents. So much so, she never slept at a friend's house until age 15. She was active, in dance and piano. But petrified when it came to performing.

    She overcame her shyness, she says, with the constant support of her parents. But also because of her practical nature. As a teen, she simply decided to get to work on her shyness.

    "I hated it," she says. "It was very frustrating because I love people."

    But that is the paradoxical curse of shyness. The afflicted crave the social setting as much as they fear it. What Reiniger did was take a leap, by enrolling in public school for Grade 10 at Scona high.

    "I would sit down in class, someone would sit beside me and I would become their friend," says Reiniger, who also forced herself to run for student council.

    "I wasn't running to win, by any stretch of the imagination," she says. "I was running to force myself to make a speech, to make myself walk down the hallway and talk to people."

    No surprise that she was elected, all three years. Reiniger, being a psychology major, understands that her drive is due, at least in part, to overcoming fear and proving herself to herself. But she also loves setting and reaching goals for herself.

    A primary goal for her today is promoting Edmonton to Toronto. She's appalled by how little is known about her hometown in that part of the universe.

    "They have this perception that we're a really small town," she says.

    So she's organizing events, working with city hall on a national advertising campaign and talking up Edmonton at every opportunity. That is, when she's not doing all that other stuff.

    Apparently there are enough hours in Carissa Reiniger's day.

    Just thinking about it makes me, uh ... yawn ... zzzzzzz.

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2006


  • #2
    good on yah Carissa....cant wait to get down E-town 2007