Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO to Leave on a High Note



July 4, 2018


Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO to Leave on a High Note

Stefano Grande, the face and voice of downtown Winnipeg revitalization, will leave his post as CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ to take on new challenges in another area dear to his heart, and leaving the Downtown BIZ organization, and the downtown, at its peak.

“It is with deep regret that we have accepted Stefano’s resignation as CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg Biz effective September 2018. While we always knew this day would inevitably come, we must now come to realize that we have to share Stefano for the greater good of the city. He has accepted the role of CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba where undoubtedly, his leadership skills, strengths and talents will help this wonderful organization achieve even greater success,” said Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Board Chair Diana Wiesenthal.

Over the past 14 years, under Stefano’s leadership, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has been truly transformed into the heart beat of our city.  Stefano has been a champion for a vital and livable downtown, ensuring service excellence for our members from corporations to small businesses, and from the general public to our most vulnerable citizens.  Carefully crafted by Stefano, this comprehensive and holistic approach is the anchor of the well-being of our City and downtown.  His legacy is the strength of our organization and staff and a healthy, socially conscious and more vibrant and sustainable downtown.

“I have been blessed and no words can express how much I will miss working with the board and my staff, and I am humbled by the energetic and dedicated team who have followed me on my journey to help transform our downtown into this livable, sustainable and vibrant place which we have all aspired too,” said Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO Stefano Grande.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Governance and HR Committee will be conducting a CEO search to ensure leadership continuity and Stefano will stay on until mid-September to allow a smooth transition so the BIZ can continue to carry on the work he has dedicated himself to for so many years.



Mike Brown, Media Relations

Cell: (204) 558-1313; Please Call or Text


While his accomplishments are too many to list, here is a sample of some of Stefano’s favourites

  • Mentored, coached and worked side-by-side with some of the most dedicated and passionate people in our city, from staff to board members and stakeholders, while learning along the way
  • Grew a small organization of just a handful of people to a team of almost 100 dedicated employees committed to making downtown safer, cleaner, more compassionate, more vibrant and more relevant
  • Kept the downtown in the hearts and minds of politicians and Manitobans
  • Brought forward a compelling story as to why the downtown matters, along with our strong social lens which has won over our members, the public and the media
  • Shifted thinking around downtown development policy at the City and provincial level, which has led to the TIF legislation which has transformed downtown development, leading to a rise in our downtown population, SHED and other developments which would not have been possible
  • We have shown the world what downtown Winnipeg and our BIZ is all about, and hosted IDA Winnipeg, an incredible success on all fronts
  • Adding the business community’s voice to ending homelessness and raising nearly $1 million to employ people who are homeless but ready, willing and able to work, and sparked the creation of End Homelessness Winnipeg.
  • Our Placemaking Department achieved its new goals, only 2 years into its new bold initiatives. The staff has a year to tinker with our Pop-Ups (Public Toilets and Parks) in 2019. Our interim staff members are incredible and talented people who were drawn to the BIZ because of who we are and what we can accomplish
  • Our creative spark gave birth to Manyfest/Food Truck Wars/Ciclovia, Canada Day Living Flag, the Farmers’ Market and many more fun and innovative events and programs
  • Our Safety department is about to take things to the next level, with the recently successful Safety Summit pointing the way for improved downtown safety in the years to come, a strategic initiative which I felt was imperative in helping City Hall invest its $3.5 million strategically
  • The creation of the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT), on the heels of the Innovative Downtown Outreach Program, which is saving lives, improving the well-being of Winnipeggers in need. The CHAT team, continues to show results in improving downtown and safety and perception, by simply helping people in need off the street
  • Financially, the BIZ has had clean audits, year-after-year, and is in a strong and fiscally healthy position
  • Leveraged a dollar for every dollar provided by the business community through incredible partnerships and sponsors
  • The BIZ team is strong and in a good place, and our new strategic plan is on solid footing