Jyoti Gondek has made history as she became the first woman in the history of Calgary who got elected as the mayor of the city. Gondek declared her candidacy for mayor on Jan. 13. Since early September, polls witnessed Gondek build momentum to become one of two frontrunners, alongside Jeromy Farkas.
52-year-old Gondek has replaced Mayor Naheed Nenshi after his 11 years in office. During Gondek’s talk, she vowed to lead with “courage, conviction, and humility.” She disclosed that it was her late father’s “unfinished community service” that motivated her to pursue this political journey. Gondek’s husband set up her victory speech, and their child read a poem to dedicate her.
Furthermore, she has defeated two of her fellow first-term councilors, Jeff Davison, and Jeromy Farkas, to win the mayor’s seats. After becoming the first mayor in the city’s history, she standardized the fact that women and people of color should be in positions of leadership. She led the campaign for the mayoral position for about nine months.
Gondek was born in the U.K. Her family has Indian origin, and they shifted to Canada when she was young, settling in Manitoba. She later shifted to Calgary with her husband, where she served in marketing, manage a consulting firm. She also worked as director of the University of Calgary’s Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies. Gondek holds a Ph.D. in urban sociology and sat on the Calgary Planning Commission before candidacy.