Meet a YMM Parent – Q&A with Lisa Hartigan
Lisa Hartigan has called Fort McMurray home for over three decades. She is the mother to two, twin adults Emily and Mallory Middlestead, 20, and sister of two brothers and two half-siblings. As an awarding-winning realtor in the real estate industry for Coldwell Banker Fort McMurray, she knows the community’s people well as she works with them daily.
As for mixing work life with family life, it’s unavoidable – and Lisa likes it that way. For the past 17 years, she has worked closely with her brothers Colin and Mark under the Coldwell Banker dynasty. Being the middle child, Lisa said the birth order ranks their positions in business with Colin as Broker/Owner and her and Mark as competitive realtors.
In the community, Lisa is well-known through her philanthropy efforts with a long list of Fort McMurray youth sports including minor hockey, ringette, softball, swimming and football to name a few. She is also a local ambassador for the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Hartigan family has been named the Society’s ‘Philanthropists of the Year’ in the past.
YMM Parent caught up with Lisa to learn more about parenthood and her life in Fort McMurray.
YMM Parent: Let’s first start with your YMM-born daughters, what was it like giving birth to twin girls?
Lisa Haritgan: I was blessed with my beautiful twin daughters on September 27, 1998. Right here, in Fort McMurray at the Northern Lights Health Centre. They were born on their due date. At the time, the hospital said my girls were the biggest twins they had ever seen. Emily was seven pounds and nine ounces and Mallory was eight pounds and three ounces. I held them both at the same time. As a mother, you know there is no feeling like it. It’s a moment you just take in as joy and unconditional love fills your heart.
YP: As a mom of twins, has anything surprised you about raising them?
LH: Yes! I have learned that the only thing you can really teach your children is to be compassionate, caring and loving people. The rest is already in their makeup. I raised both my girls the exact same from the moment they came into this world but – yet, they are two totally different people. The only similarities are that they are both compassionate and caring people. Something I am very proud of.
YP: What kind of kid were you growing up? Is there anything that may surprise us to learn?
LH: I was a very happy outgoing kid. Looking back at my elementary report cards, they always started with: “Lisa is a pleasure to have in the class”. I always had a love for cooking and cleaning. I loved singing and always wanted to be a singer. I used to do singing competitions in shopping malls in New Brunswick as a child. So, I was always helpful around the house in that regard.
YP: So, we know you’re the middle child, and you work with your brothers, what’s it like for all of you working in the same field?
LH: My brother Colin and I have always had a close working relationship, and the common denominator in all three of us is that we are all very competitive. With Colin being the oldest – and the Broker, it’s easiest to leave all the decisions up to him. And, Mark and I follow, but competitively. I will add though that I do sell more real estate than both! Pros are getting to work side-by-side with my brothers and knowing that we always have each other’s backs. Cons are that when we get together outside of work, we always end up talking about work, but we do try to avoid it, but it’s certainly challenging.
YP: And lastly, what keeps you calling Fort McMurray home? What do you enjoy most about living here?
LH: One of the things that often gives me goosebumps in the summer is when I drive across the bridge, north to south, and see how beautiful the river and valley is. It always brings a smile to my face. There are so many things I love about the community. First, I love the people. I get the opportunity to meet a lot of people here and get to go into their homes and so many have come near and far, but all are so great! People are happy in Fort McMurray. And, I love that I can go to the grocery story and see people I know, and people are always greeting you with a warm huh or a big smile and a wave. Everyone is always ready to lend a helping hand to one another. My favourite thing has to be the energy in the city. I did feel we lost some of it over the past few years in the downturn in the economy and the fire, but I can feel it coming back – full force! My dad always says when he lands in Fort McMurray, he can just feel the energy in the city. He gets so pumped about it.
Lisa with her daughters, Emily and Mallory in May 2015.
Lisa dressed-up the girls for their first Halloween in 1998. Supplied photos