Adele MacDonald

Executive Director, AIRO | Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity

Adele MacDonald was born and raised in a small town on the prairies of Alberta. Six years ago, after spending 15 years on the West Coast, she drove across Canada with her husband and made Nova Scotia her home. It’s clear to Adele that Canadians have much more in common – from one end of this beautiful country to the other – than they often realize.

“I’ve chosen to be here in Nova Scotia – this place, these people, the history and potential, all intertwined – it’s my home. The place I truly feel I belong - where I can be of service, where I can write and where I love to be".


What are you most proud of professionally? 

When I started working with the Internet in 1994, Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school and Twitter was something only birds and little girls did. I was an early adopter of the Internet – I recognized its potential and understood the impact it was going to have on our society. As an entrepreneurial Internet marketing and communications consultant, I ran my own company for over a decade before moving it from BC to Nova Scotia. That business allowed me to aid hundreds of small businesses and non-profit organizations from around the world with their Internet and social media marketing and communications strategies. Now, as the Executive Director of AIRO, an economic development firm specializing in foundational loans, I get to bring all of my business and marketing experience to the aid of the community I love! So, in addition to finding creative ways for people to get their message out, I get to help people bring their dreams to life and work through the challenges of starting or expanding a business in rural Nova Scotia – it’s an absolute honour!

What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?

There is a unique quality in Nova Scotia that allows its future to flourish in sympathy with its history. I am on unceded Wabanaki Confederacy and Mi'kmaq territory and amazing firsts happened on these lands throughout the centuries. This place has always nurtured and survived change, as seen in the history of its First Peoples (the People of the Dawnland) and followed by the Europeans who came over 400 years ago to establish a permanent settle in 1605 at Port-Royal (near present day Annapolis Royal).

The quality of life in Nova Scotia is attracting people back to this area because they can enjoy all the potential and benefits of an innovative world, while enjoying the slower pace of rural life with a deeper connection to the sustainability of their communities and themselves. The Town of Annapolis Royal, where I live, is the cradle of our nation…and also the place where history meets opportunity. With AIRO I get the opportunity to help other people nurture that change – there is no big corporation or government handout coming to rural Nova Scotia to save us. AIRO is helping people help themselves…which helps our whole region. More importantly…AIRO can be replicated elsewhere!

What's your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?

I’m an avid reader and this year have the pleasure of taking part in Thought Readers Business Book club – one business or personal development book per month for a year – because knowledge is power! I am writing reviews of each book we read to pay forward this experience and share what I am learning. That said, the Lord of The Rings trilogy has been my life-long favourite. As a child, its high adventure, magical people and fierce battles fed my growing mind. As a youth, the bravery and bonding of friends helping each other shone through. Reading it as an adult, it was the stepping up to challenges, leading with compassion, beginning with the end in mind that brought the depth of the tale to light. It’s all about community, it’s all about the place you consider home, it’s all about stepping up when you are needed the most whether it is easy or not, and whether the outcome is clear or not.

What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?

In the past year, I’ve learned that grief and loss are the necessary counterpoint to love and joy, reminding me that the only thing for certain in this world is the impermanence of it all. The challenges you face today will likely be forgotten – how you solved them will be remembered forever.

Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?

I have had the good fortune to know many amazing women in my life – some of the strongest, most authentic, and most brave are found right here in the Maritimes. Women who choose to step up for themselves, their families, and their communities. Women who choose to think differently and define success on their own terms. Women who see the potential in everything.


Entrepreneur, Writer, Mentor, Connector of People/Places/Things, Purveyor of Compassion, Community Cheerleader, Wife, Birth Mom (Bommy)


Adele MacDonald