NAIT Celebrates

Marcie Kiziak receives the Alumni Award of Excellence for her advocacy of women’s success in business, and her leadership as the CEO of NOVA Cannabis.

Marcie Kiziak

NAIT Celebrates Marcie Kiziak

Executive advocates for women’s success and leadership, in and out of the classroom

“The value of having more women at the leadership table is to encourage more women to participate in the industry.”

When she was young, Marcie Kiziak couldn’t quite see her future. When she finished high school, she didn’t have the funds for post-secondary education. So, she went to work, researching options as she went. Then she found her way in.

“NAIT gave me the opportunity by providing supportive access,” says Kiziak. “It allowed me to figure out how I was going to go to school, what I wanted to do, and how I was going to pay for it.”

That was only the beginning. Since then, Kiziak has used that opportunity to find another place where she may not have once seen herself. Today, she’s the CEO of NOVA Cannabis, a subsidiary of SNDL, one of Canada’s largest and fastest-growing cannabis retailers.

What’s more, Kiziak is the sole female CEO among the 23 publicly traded retail cannabis companies nationwide. She understands that this comes with responsibility – one she’s fulfilling by promoting inclusivity and providing opportunities.

A culture of innovation and creativity

Before coming to the cannabis industry, Kiziak honed her human resources skills in the oil and gas and construction sectors. She understands organizational behaviour and knows how to build a team that will foster creativity and innovation. For Kiziak, a strong workplace culture is key. (She was aptly honoured with a Fellow Chartered Professional in Human Resources Award in 2022.)

And, just as she showed in getting her education, she knows how to drive toward solutions that make sense. At NAIT, she made the most out of studying part time, pacing herself to strike a sustainable balance.

In making decisions in her role today, she focuses on leveraging and developing talent from within the company to advance business goals in a challenging, heavily regulated industry.

That shows in the results she achieves. Upon legalization of cannabis in Canada, the company had five stores. Just over five years later, Kiziak now oversees nearly 200.

Proud to represent, eager to support

“I believe the cannabis industry is missing out on the unique perspectives and experiences that women and more diverse voices can bring to the table,” says Kiziak. “It is crucial for the industry to prioritize diversity and inclusion to ensure its long-term success. I am proud to be a representative for the cause.”

Kiziak strives to set the example. And she works to open doors for others, whatever their goals may be.

To that end, she served as a member of NAIT’s advisory committee for the Human Resources program in the JR Shaw School of Business and as a judge for case competitions. Kiziak has also joined classes as a guest lecturer, often presenting real-life cases to give students insight into careers to come.

“It’s something that I truly enjoy doing, as the students provide innovative and out-of-the-box teachings that challenge my own ways of thinking,” Kiziak says.

In addition, she was a board member for Little Warriors, a non-profit organization focused on the prevention, awareness and treatment of child sexual abuse. There, she created an employment skills module, covering everything from workplace hygiene to taxes.

“Without this guidance, they often lack the foundational knowledge required to enter the workforce and provide for themselves,” says Kiziak.

For her, this is about empowerment and self-confidence. It’s about helping others prepare for opportunities they deserve. And it means modelling what can come of seizing those.

“I really do think that women need to find their champion, and then need to be a champion,” Kiziak says.

“I strongly believe that everybody needs to be mentored, but it is incumbent upon us, as female leaders, to mentor others and help them get there.”

Story photos supplied by Marcie Kiziak.

Alumni Award of Excellence

The Alumni Award of Excellence recognizes the significant contributions made in recent years by NAIT alumni to their profession or community.  

More 2024 NAIT Celebrates Recipients

Champions, community-builders, mentors, visionaries and leaders make up the 2024 NAIT Celebrates award recipients. Read more about the lasting impact each has made through their spirit, dedication and generosity.

Sandvik Coromant

Sandvik Coromant is named the Distinguished Industry Partner for their leadership in the community and long-standing support of machinist education.

Ray Pisani

Ray Pisani is named the Distinguished Friend of the Institute for his outstanding contributions to our polytechnic and impact in the community.

Robyn Dawson

Robyn Dawson receives the Distinguished Alumni Award for helping Alberta businesses and communities thrive as a leader in media planning and buying.

Arlo Maverick

Arlo Maverick receives the Alumni Award of Excellence for his support of the community and achievements as an award-winning musician, promoter and filmmaker.

Shreya Nandiraju

Shreya Nandiraju receives the Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award for her success and leadership in the engineering and automation fields.

Priya Winsor

Priya Winsor receives the Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award for her career achievements as founder of Compass Chocolates and for her support for the community.

2025 Award Nominations

Do you know a NAIT grad who's making an impact?

Tell us about their achievements and the work they are doing for their community.

Submit your nomination