Here’s the thing about Rikia. She has this energy. You know about magnetism? She walks into a room and you feel it, that energy. You’re drawn to it. You’re not surprised she has 986 Facebook friends. (And they really are friends. You meet them at Saddy-McClellan tri-annual cheese n’ olive parties, where you can always count on glorious food, fabulous drinks and kickass company.) Rikia is that person you would be ragingly jealous of, but that energy –– you just want to be part of the ride. And what a trip it’s been so far. Blazing smarts at the University of Alberta. Parlayed into one-and-a-half years at the Thunderbird School of Management, the top-ranked international business school in the United States. (Translation: annual reunions in the likes of Barcelona and Berlin, and brilliant friends absolutely everywhere. This woman is connected.) Then 15 years experience working for international companies advising other international companies on key positioning and strategic communications issues. Rikia was very, very good at it. (Just ask Joe Clark.) Until she left to have babies: two boys and one marketing strategy firm. From her international studio headquarters attached to an über-cool mid-century modern Southlands post-and-beamer, Rikia has lasered an entrepreneurial focus on to the business objectives of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations worldwide, encouraged her sons to live interesting lives, rarely missed a Tuesday date night at Vij’s with Cam and used her powerful voice to engage in politics and social change. Read her book, people. It’s deliciously subversive, so simple, yet containing powerful truths about our country. She is awesome, our Rikia.
– Su T Fitterman
01 The Church of the Endowment Lands. The perfect Sunday morning.
02 Last year I switched to Nordic. Lost Lake is the only place I ski, after I read the paper and drink a cup of chai. This is a colour photo.
03 Our kitchen, where everything seems to happen. The house was designed by Thompson Berwick Pratt, renovated by D’Arcy Jones, and shot by Sterling Lorence– three awesome Vancouver gems. We saved it from the wrecking ball, and hope to find a new family to pass it on to. It’s a magical little house in the woods.
04 Jamie Kowal perfectly captured my life in a house of boys. The one on the far left illustrated my book. You may know him as a musician from Hinterland or Solarists.
05 The Hotel Georgia in gingerbread. I love how they’ve created a myriad of different spaces, filled with art, that are perfect for everything from working quietly to meeting friends. All the people who create little environments build a city.
06 A very little book I wrote on Canadian History. It starts at the end of the last ice age with “Once upon a time…” and tells the story of Canada in 80 pages.
07 The steps to Gordon Smith’s house in West Vancouver, built right into the natural rock. I would love to paint like Gordon Smith, and I’d happily live in his house beside my favourite park. He has such an amazing curiosity and zest for life, and I wish I worked as hard now as he does at 92. Instead, I named my dog Gordon Smith.
08 Gordon Smith II, Esquire
Where do you live?
At the top of Southlands. We can’t have a goat.
What do you do and where?
I work in a studio just steps from my front door. I develop marketing strategy for interesting projects like Pearson United World College and the Canadian Cancer Society’s Centre for Prevention. I also try to get intelligent political candidates elected, and spend a lot of time writing and thinking about a higher vision for Canada in the world.
What are you working on?
I just finished a little book called We Are Canada, for those of us who would like to know more about who we are and what we’ve built together without reading a kilo of Canadian history. When I travel this country I’m always amazed how our history is told differently from province to province. Several years ago, I went to Quebec with the CBC and interviewed Gilles Duceppe, Andre Boisclair, and Justin Trudeau among others. I returned with a mind full of questions about Canada, and discovered that most of what we’ve been led to believe isn’t even true. We’ve built something amazing here.
Where can we find your work?
In bookstores September 1st.