Why He’s Top 40: He managed the team that got Mayor Don Iveson into office, while encouraging youth to get into politics.
Guilty Pleasure: “Nineties hip hop. But I don’t feel particularly guilty about it.”
Election night, October 21, 2013: Campaign manager Chris Henderson rushed to then-councillor Don Iveson’s suite at the Matrix Hotel to deliver the news – his high-school buddy was going to be the mayor. “In the elevator, it really hit me that I was about to tell [Iveson] that he has won a seat that, six years ago, would have been completely unfathomable,” says Henderson, who also managed both of Iveson’s previous campaigns for council seats.
The Edmonton-born communications and strategy consultant remains humble despite the fact that he managed a campaign that saw his candidate get 62 per cent of the votes in a six-person mayoral race. “What we did in the last municipal election isn’t something that can ever have been accomplished by one person, and there is never really a mastermind,” he insists. “The most important thing I did in that campaign is build the team.”
At Calder Bateman, Henderson helps private not-for-profit and public-sector organizations market to their clients. But, outside of his day job, he remains involved in politics through his work with Forum for Young Albertans. It’s an organization that aims to get “some young, smart kids from outside the city into Edmonton for a kind of ‘space camp’ for politics.”
Henderson is quick to help anyone who has trouble getting into politics. “I think it’s important that our representation reflects our demographic. I don’t think that should be a rule, but I think it is definitely indicative that women and visible minorities don’t have the opportunities that, say, I would have running for office,” says Henderson.
He says that, as a political candidate, no one would ask a white man if his race or gender was an issue – but that the same is not true for women or minorities. “I think that’s wrong and I think we need to do something about that.”