Alana caught the 'political bug' early in Mrs. McLean’s Grade 8 Civics class. She went on to participate in Model Parliament in high school. Then in 2009, an invitation was extended for her to attend the Nova Scotia Campaign School for Women at Mount St. Vincent University. In 2016, she was invited to run for nomination and was acclaimed in 2017 as the PC candidate for CB-Richmond.
Alana grew up in Richmond County on the north side of Isle Madame. Her ancestry is related to the Indigenous People of the Atlantic Provinces as well as the first French colonists who settled at the Port Royale Habitation and at the Fortress of Louisbourg. The topic of migration, immigration and out migration are very close to her heart. When asked where she's from, you will often hear her light heartedly say: "I'm from here, there, and everywhere." She is known for her quick wit and her laughter that can be heard from across a room.
Alana began work at the age of 16 as the President of La Cooperative Jeunesse Au Travail, a youth work cooperative organized through La Federation Acadienne de la Nouvelle Ecosse in Petit de Grat. An avid cyclist, she often made the 30km round trip to work on her ten speed bicycle. As a youth she was actively involved with Girl Guides, Pathfinders, Youth Group, Choir and as a Sunday School Teacher and was a competitive member of the Richmond Figure Skating Club. She credits her teachers, coaches, and local leaders for instilling in her a strong sense of community service, civic duty and a strong work ethic.
Her early education was at North Isle Madame Elementary and then Isle Madame District High. Alana studied Arts and Social Science, Adult Education and Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University. She further studied Community Economic Development at St. Mary's University as well as Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Henson College.
She has been employed and has consulted on a multitude of youth leadership, provincial entrepreneurship, economic development, strategic planning, business navigation and multi-level government collaborations.
She has held positions as a Project Manager for the Greater Chebucto Community Development Association; a Strategic Planner with the Antigonish Regional Development Authority; an Account Executive for the Business Retention and Expansion Program; an Entrepreneurship Instructor with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Education Development; a Leadership Development Instructor with Heartwood Institute for Health, Leisure and Education; an Experiential Education Consultant for Youth L.I.V.E. Community Safety Project; an Associate Producer with Egg Films and an Apprentice Architect with the National Capital Commission in Ottawa.
Alana has volunteered on numerous NGO boards and committees. She has also volunteered as a youth business mentor with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice: Second Chance Entrepreneurship Program and a tutor for the Nova Scotia Provincial GED Program.
Alana is a big believer in life-long, traditional and alternative learning methods. "Read and experience everything that you can, seek advice, but make certain your thoughts are your own in the end and your conscience clear."
An eternal optimist, she sees her glass as half full as opposed to half empty.
"Choosing to be positive in a world where media bombards us with negativity is a challenge. As much as it is important to be plugged in, it's also important to disconnect on occasion and re-evaluate that which is most important."
As an avid outdoorswoman and youth advocate, Alana has participated in and facilitated numerous outdoor experiential education programs and workshops focusing on survival training, outdoor leisure and leadership development. She coordinated an environmental education program for elementary students, developed and instructed a school-based leadership program for youth, and implemented a strategic plan for an inner city drop in centre for adolescent youth. She presented and volunteered in international conferences with the Association of Experiential Education and was extended an invitation to work with Indigenous youth at risk on the Oneida Nation Reservation in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Wanting an outlet to put into practice her interests in architecture, agriculture and food security, she purchased a former 120 acre dairy farm in 2011. She transformed the facility into a sheep farm and rental property that sustains a flock of pure bred North Country Cheviots and commercial Suffolk sheep. She also maintains a rental property in Halifax. Her parents continue to live in the family home on Isle Madame, as they have for 60 years. "No matter where I have lived, worked and travelled, Isle Madame has always been my home.”
Her family has lived on this island for over 250 years. “My grandmother, Ulalie Paon, a widow with seven children, petitioned in 1818 for a title to her land in Arichat upon which her family had lived since 1768. The Arichat courthouse stands on a portion of the original lot today that was expropriated by the government at the time she was seeking and won her title. I come from a long line of strong and determined women, many of whom were widowed young, never remarried and single-handedly took charge of their family's futures."
Whatever life brings her way, Alana will tell you that her greatest love and most notable accomplishment will forever be, parenting her son Gharrett. "Life doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes our paths are chosen for us in ways that we could never foresee. What I try to remember, is that even life's greatest challenge and heart ache can be overcome and can give birth to the most beautiful and extraordinary gift."