Mayor Jyoti Gondek asked more than 200 people gathered for a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday to do more to tell their city's story.
She said many people in other parts of Canada have "dated stereotypes" about Calgary and it's time to smash those myths.
"We need to be telling our own story," said Gondek. "Calgarians need to craft and promote our own narrative."
She cited recent examples of companies moving to Calgary, her trip to Los Angeles to promote the city's burgeoning film industry as well as recent tech conferences in Toronto where Calgary generated some buzz among delegates.
Diversity a draw
Gondek told the group that Calgary is now the third most diverse city in Canada and it's developing industries beyond oil and gas.
She encouraged Calgarians to work outside their company or their industry to forge new relationships.
"We are much stronger together, and there's never been a moment where we've needed collaboration more than we do right now," said the mayor.
We are much stronger together, and there's never been a moment where we've needed collaboration more than we do right now. - Mayor Jyoti Gondek
In speaking to the chamber, Gondek also touched upon the progress the City of Calgary is making through its downtown strategy to revitalize its core and help repurpose empty office space.
She cited 777,000 square feet of office space that is being transformed into 707 residential housing units.
The mayor continued her defence of city council's decision last year to declare a climate emergency, following the lead of other cities in the country and around the world.
Gondek maintained that declaring a climate emergency was just "table stakes," allowing the municipal government to catch up with the energy industry.
She said she's aware some people remain upset by the declaration.
"I think those folks are also stuck in a position of polarization where if you declare a climate emergency, you must be anti-energy. And nothing could be further from the truth."
Chamber leader agrees
The president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Deborah Yedlin, agreed that Calgarians can play a role in telling the story of this city's changing economy.
"I don't think people across the country know the incredible opportunities that are taking place in the innovation space, and it's everything from ag-tech, clean tech to fintech," said Yedlin.
"There's so much opportunity here in terms of the energy sector but far beyond that as well."
Like Gondek, Yedlin told reporters that Calgary has let too many people "tell our story for us" in a way that isn't current. She said an outdated narrative can restrict a city's ability to attract business, talent and capital.