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The Searching for Izena: ‘Unwomanly’ Stories of Female Leadership at Edmonton City Hall podcast is co-hosted by Stacey Brotzel and Kim-Ann Wilson. It’s an unflinching, honest and colourful account of the past century and the role women played at Edmonton City Hall and will include interviews and accounts from several of the 13 surviving women councillors and notable Edmontonians, including Olivia Butti and Senator Paula Simons, and will also feature people who have yet to reach city council – even in 2021 – including women of colour and Indigenous women.

New episodes launch every third Tuesday of the month!

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January – Part 1: #30 & #31 
To start this political journey, let’s begin right at the end. In 100 years, only 31 women have been elected to Edmonton City Council. In the first episode, you’ll meet #30 (Bev Esslinger) and #31 (Sarah Hamilton) and learn about why they ran and their experiences at City Hall. You’ll also hear from the Searching For Izena project co-chairs YWCA Edmonton CEO Katherine O’Neill and Parity YEG Vice-Chair Rajah Maggay. They will talk about the centennial and why gender parity and representation matters in 2021 more than ever. 

Guests: Katherine O’Neill, Rajah Maggay, Bev Esslinger, Sarah Hamilton

February – Part 2: Sex, Tea Parties & Cigarettes

We’re taking you alllll the way back to 1921 Edmonton. Back then, Alberta’s capital city was just a tiny place on the map, still reeling from the effects of a world war and a pandemic. It was also the beginning of the Roaring Twenties and gigantic social changes, including a brand new feminist movement that give birth to our very first female councillor, Izena Ross. In this episode, you’ll also meet our second female councillor, Margaret Crang, who led a wild life that included sex scandals, gun battles and even an International Peace Conference.

But despite both being political trailblazers, Ross and Crang’s stories have largely been lost to history. Why? Our guests Senator Paula Simons and YWCA Edmonton Board Member and former Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes will unravel that mystery and introduce to two Albertans you won’t soon forget.

Guests: Senator Paula Simons and Lisa Holmes



Stacey Brotzel
Stacey Brotzel
Kim-Ann Wilson
Kim-Ann Wilson


Deanna Bains
Deanna Bains


Lyra Brown
Lyra Brown