When you see Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek at the front of city council, conducting a meeting, one might see something akin to their teenager’s bedroom.
It’s a laptop adorned with stickers.
The mayor comes by it honestly. She had stickers on her councillor laptop, and her personal MacBook (the former didn’t live long enough to make it to the mayor’s office.)
“If we would go somewhere, I’d grab a sticker and throw it on. It was covered,” she said.
Mayor Gondek has continued that tradition with her city-issued mayoral computer.
One of the more recent additions is from Nerd Roller Skates in Inglewood. She got it when she tried on a pair of hot wheels during the push to shop local over the holidays.
Another is from Making Waves, a group of politically astute young women, the mayor said.
“They were wonderful to deal with during the campaign,” Mayor Gondek said.
“I’m a very serious political woman. I thought it should say that on my laptop.”
She picked up a ‘Y’all’ sticker on a recent trip to Houston for the World Petroleum Congress and it’s hard to miss the Smash the Patriarchy sticker, too.
“That goes without saying, my friend,” the mayor said.
Another says, “I like big books.” The mayor also spent some time at an Inglewood independent bookstore, the next page, during her shop local tour.
Her favourite novels come from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The first book, The Gunslinger, is best, she said. She read it a few times, then read the whole series.
“I remember my big reward for having a baby was to read the last book in that series,” she said.
“And that was wishful thinking. It took me about a year to get through that book.”
The mayor hasn’t seen if other councillors have personalized their laptops in the same way. She did note that Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner has taken an interest.
“We may have a sticker off,” she said.
The mayor said that it can be tough to maintain the balance between yourself and the “incredibly serious job” of city council.
“I think there’s an ability to balance your own personality and the job that you’re doing,” Mayor Gondek said.
“And I think for too long, especially women have been told how to dress, how to act, how to speak, so that you’re taken seriously.
“I think you can still be that serious person doing a serious job and keep true to yourself.”