Kim Haakstad – Managing Director, Government Affairs
“My time as senior advisor to government and industry has afforded me insight from both angles. My goal at Wazuku is to help our clients navigate the fine art of successful engagement — getting the right message to the right people, at the right times and in the right ways.” – Kim Haakstad
Kim is a master communicator with two decades experience as a senior political aide and advisor for public, private and business organizations. She has built a reputation of maintaining integrity through adversity and brings a first-hand understanding of the inner workings of government to the issues management and government relations services she provides to Wazuku clients.
A People Person
Kim got her start as a political advisor as a constituency assistant for then MLA (now Premier) Christy Clark in the mid 90s. Working with people from all walks of life who were facing a spectrum of personal and professional challenges gave her an appreciation for diversity and a foundation of exceptional people skills that she has carried with her since. She put those skills to good use in her most recent position working with local and Indigenous communities in BC to create business and employment opportunities with Spectra Energy’s natural gas operations and construction projects.
Rising Through the Political Ranks
Kim’s smarts, dedication and ability to make things happen have earned her senior public service positions. She was Ministerial Assistant in the Ministries of Education and Family and Children before being appointed, in 2011, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations for the Premier’s Office—one of a handful of senior political advisors to the government. She also ran the Liberal Party of Canada’s BC office during Paul Martin’s government. This extensive experience has given Kim a thorough understanding of the inner workings of government and our political system and great insight into how decisions are made.
A Pragmatic Approach to Government Relations
Kim has also helped businesses grow and prosper from the other side of the table. As Executive Director at the Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC), she facilitated logical regulation changes that helped bars, pubs and private liquor stores remain competitive. Most recently she worked as Manager Local and Aboriginal Content Strategy for Spectra Energy’s Western Canadian business where her work ensured Aboriginal communities could more fully participate in projects occurring in their Traditional Territory.
Kim approaches advocacy from a place of understanding, and helps her clients work within the framework of regulations to meet their objectives. A master of the delicate finesse of strategic communications, Kim understands how information is crafted and transferred through government ranks, and knows who to talk to about what. If those tactics do not get results, she has a knack for helping government understand how the public interest will be best served by tweaking policy and/or regulations.
Born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Kim is the daughter of small business owners who encouraged lively political debate around the dinner table. Although she has lived in Vancouver for most of the past 20 years, Kim says she still considers herself, “a small-town girl living in the big city.” She loves spin classes and connecting with nature, she recently took up fishing while working in Northwest BC.
Kim holds a BA in Political Science from Simon Fraser University and a graduate diploma in business management from Athabasca University.