Donna Ludvigsen was born and raised in Calgary, migrating north to attend university and has called Edmonton home base ever since.
While she has a BA (Psychology) from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies from the University of Calgary, she is an omnivore of learning experiences. She studied ikebana (flower arranging) when living in Japan in the early 1980's, and has taken cooking classes in countries as divergent as Morocco, France and Honduras. Donna is always working on her ability to speak other languages, reads voraciously and is grateful for a body that lets her learn about the world through adventuresome travel.
Donna's career began in services for persons with developmental disabilities, as a member of the brand-new team at Michener Centre in Red Deer who were tasked to foster skills for greater independence with individuals who have been placed in the institution as young children. She has worked in community agencies and government departments, always in programs that support individuals and families facing challenges.
Over time, her career efforts shifted from direct services to program development and influencing how services are delivered. Having worked in several ministries (health, education, human services and justice), she focused on building bridges between programs to achieve better outcomes for people who have multiple challenges. Appreciating the critical nature of policy decisions to the effectiveness of services, she worked on initiatives that created understanding of the conditions that support healthy development, strengthen inclusion and promote resiliency. This included work at the national level, within the provincial government and through teaching University of Calgary undergraduates. Her volunteer commitments include non-profit boards for families in Early Headstart programs and lifespan services to deaf individuals.
In 2016, after an immensely fulfilling career, she left the role of Assistant Deputy Minister of Employment and Financial Support in Human Services to enter the delightful life phase of limitless opportunity for purpose and play.