Heather Thomson

Retail and Consumer Behaviour Expert
Executive Director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Cities and Communities

Heather is on a mission to re-energize communities. A mission which she pursues in two roles:


(1) Executive Director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Cities and Communities. Heathermentors the next generation of business innovators; because strong businesses are the building blocks of strong communities. Heather works with leaders in the business community with an emphasis on education, consulting, academic & applied research and industry outreach. Heather has been a regular contributor on CBC Radio, Global News, CTV and Post Media Publications.


(2) Consultant with 13 WAYS Inc. Heather specializes in analyzing consumer behaviour and trends. She delivers business and community assessments and builds community and business plans that specialize in economic development, local businesses’ prosperity and beautification.

Heather has worked with dozens of communities across North America. She shares her thoughts about the future of business in her keynote presentations: Shop Talk, 13 Ways to Kill Your Commerce and It’s Tall Order.

Heather is a mom of two boys, an avid snowboarder, and a fashion and design enthusiast. She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Behavioural Economics and serving on the Edmonton Downtown Business Association Retention and Recruitment Committee.

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!

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