Heather Thomson

Retail and Consumer Behaviour Expert

Heather Thomson is the Executive Director of the Alberta School of Business – Centre for Cities and Communities. As one of the founders of the centre, Heather is mentoring the next generation of business innovators while working with leaders in the business community with an emphasis on education, consulting, academic & applied research and industry outreach.


Heather also works as a consultant with 13 Ways Inc. a Community Development Firm. Heather delivers business and community assessments, and builds community plans that specialize in economic development, local businesses prosperity and beautification. Heather has worked with hundreds of communities and has delivered dozens of keynote presentations across North America. 


Prior to her work with the University of Alberta and 13 Ways, Heather worked at lululemon Athletica, ATB Financial and started her career with McDonalds Restaurants.  She is passionate about business success and growing the pool of talent to work in this fascinating industry.  Heather is a business advocate and strategist.


A few highlights include:

  • Employed hundreds of business students who have worked with more than 2500 organizations in the Edmonton region
  • Has secured 1.3 million dollars in funding to support the local business community recover from the effects of the pandemic
  • Helped create the new Centre for Cities and Communities
  • Works with national media networks to deliver consumer behaviour research to the country
  • Serves on the Edmonton Business Association and is a past member of the Old Strathcona Business Association Economic Recovery Task Force
  • She is working on her master’s in behavioural economics

A forward-thinker in every sense, Heather believes that even the most challenging of situations can be resolved from an angle of compassion, understanding and collaboration. Heather is a proud mom of two boys, an avid snowboarder, and an advocate for gender parity and equity in the workforce — especially for working parents.

Did you know? Heather is a British Citizen… without the posh accent


Shop Talk – Analyzing the psychology and trends of how we spend our money and time


The world has shifted fundamentally. How we eat, spend money, have fun, get around and where we live, are changing. If we are not aware of the changes that are on the horizon, we collectively will be left behind. This presentation will spark inspiration for communities and businesses to take their future into their own hands to make the necessary changes to ensure a vibrant future. This is an exciting, albeit overwhelming, endeavour which will ultimately lead us to be stronger and set up for success… If we are paying attention.


Topics included:

Consumer Behaviour Analysis

Demographic Habits

Metaverse and digital tools

Changes in Transportation

How We Work

Where We Live

And most importantly how to capitalize on these opportunities.

The Future of Business – It’s a Tall Order

Heather Thomson is an expert in consumer behaviour, and the perfect cup of tea to help warm up your local business strategies. Her first piece of advice? Don’t do things differently, do different things.  


Invite Heather into your community to help your local businesses spice up their strategies! Heather will help your business better understand your target market, ease the transition from physical to digital engagement and promote it to your local community.


It’s a tall order, but Heather will help you fill it!

The Seven Essentials for Success


Every community has a strategic plan and a budget. Most have a communications plan and some even have a marketing strategy. However, for most communities they are generic plans that fail to create results. The 13 Ways approach to creating community success goes beyond textbooks and formulaic processes to get real results. This session takes you through this revolutionary process – Assess, Engage, Strategize, Budget, Brand, Market, Rinse and Repeat – explaining precisely how to do it and why it works.

13 Ways to Kill Your Commerce


In this talk, Heather will share the 13 Ways best practices to help communities thrive. Using the 13 Ways methods, Heather will provide you with the tools you need to help your community achieve success.

The Arrival of the Inevitable

With Doug Griffiths


The COVID-19 pandemic did not create change, but rather accelerated the change in consumer behaviour that was well, inevitable. Doug Griffiths and Heather Thomson are dedicated to helping communities not only survive these pandemic changes but thrive within them as well.  Together, they deliver a fresh, engaging presentation focused on helping your local businesses thrive and your community succeed.. Doug will ensure that your community understands the ins and outs of economic success, while Heather tackles the changes of consumer behaviour – the shift from physical to digital engagement. This dynamic duo will help you to learn more about your audience, understand their spending habits and how to build a stronger relationship with your fellow business. Be inspired as you learn from unique examples of other communities the two have worked with! Make the most of the pandemic and succeed beyond it, with Doug and Heather. 

Business Strategy / Customer Experience / Entrepreneurship / Fresh Perspectives / Social Change / Women in Business
Business Strategy / cities / Customer Experience / Economy / Management Strategy / Marketing / Retail / Women-Speakers
Book Becky McCray
Business Strategy / cities / Customer Experience / Economy / Management Strategy / Marketing / Retail / Women-Speakers