About Mark

Mark Holmgren

Director, Vibrant Communities

Contact Details:
e. mark@tamarackcommunity.ca
p. 780-299-0780

Remote Office: Edmonton, Alberta

About Mark

Mark is driven by the desire to change community conditions that cause and perpetuate poverty and the marginalization of the vulnerable and disadvantaged. A proven leader of poverty reduction efforts, Mark is known for his innovative eye and his ability to converge big picture thinking with on the ground implementation.

As the Director of Vibrant Communities Canada, Mark leads Tamarack’s engagement of 75 member communities leading local poverty reduction efforts and works with his team to develop learning opportunities and resources that add value to this Pan-Canadian network.

In addition to his ability to facilitate groups of all sizes around strategy development and solution-building, Mark has built and delivered curriculum related to collective impact, community innovation, strategic planning, and non-profit leadership.  Mark is a provocative speaker who challenges the status quo and fosters new and innovative ways of seeing and addressing social issues.

Prior to joining Tamarack, Mark was one of the Institute’s national thought leaders for three years. Previous roles and positions include leading a team of 120 staff as the CEO of Bissell Centre in Edmonton, a multi-service organization dedicated to ending poverty; serving as an executive staff for the United Way; and providing an array of organizational change consulting services for 20 years to social services agencies, educational institutions, health organizations, as well as local governments.

Mark is a poet, singer-song writer and digital artist and his creative side is often evident in the work he does with others. He frequently performs original songs and spoken word at Tamarack Learning Events. His work has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, on CBC Radio, and other publications. A highlight of his musical life was performing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

Area of Expertise
  • Upside Down Thinking
  • Community Innovation
  • Poverty Reduction Strategy and Evaluation
  • Community Engagement
  • Collaborative Leadership
Recent Publications

Current/Recent Custom Engagements

  • Facilitation and consulting services to the Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory’s Collective Impact Initiative, Montreal, Quebec
  • Collective Impact facilitator to the Housing and Homelessness Partnership, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Key note speaker on Upside Down Thinking at the 11th Annual Poverty Symposium: Turning It Upside Down, Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Consulting, facilitation and coaching services to develop a poverty reduction roundtable and strategy as well as leading learning events on Upside Down Thinking, Grande Prairie, AB.
  • Key note speaker, “The Socio-Economics of Poverty,” Revelstoke, BC.

Seminars and Workshops

  • Upside Down Thinking and Disruptive Innovation
  • Game-changer Approach to Poverty Reduction Strategy and Evaluation
  • Developing a Strategic Touchstone for Organizations and Collaborations
  • Collective Impact 3.0
  • Friend-raising and Resource Development
  • Social Media Strategy Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Using Trends to Inform Strategic Thinking
  • Exploring and Using Journey and Empathy Maps

Connect with Mark



The Latest From Mark

Movement Building and Collective Impact

In an article written for Fast Company, Kaihan Krisppendorff, identifies four steps to building an effective social movement, which I have adapted below:1. A community forms around a common goal or...Read More

Evaluating Poverty Reduction: Hearing the Music Not the Noise

From a poverty reduction perspective, we are inundated by the sound of many voices: our clients, our funders and donors, our colleagues, governments at all levels, business leaders and their labour...Read More

Signals of Coming Disruption

Big change doesn't just click on, it occurs over time, starting out often as weak signals of the change to come. Sometimes it’s like the old frog in the boiling water story. Put the frog in when the...Read More

Edmonton Moves Forward with its Roadmap to End Poverty in a Generation

Mayor Don Iveson's Taskforce to End Poverty in a Generation had its final meeting on May 30, 2016. Actually the meeting was really a celebratory gathering, a time to acknowledge the work and...Read More

Innovation. What is it?

Innovation.We all love it, want it, speak it, eat it, and it feels good when something we do is affirmed as innovative by others, especially those we admire. Sometimes, though, and perhaps often,...Read More

Consulting ServicesGet the help you need

Tamarack brings years of knowledge and practical experience to your unique situation to help you to get to impact faster. Interested in finding out more about our custom services? 

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