Peterborough & the Kawarthas is a wonderful place to take a breath of fresh air, pursue your passion, grow your vision, and to enjoy life. What makes this region so inspiring? Why does it stand out from the crowd?

We caught a moment with six incredible professionals from our community and asked them how they enjoy the incredible balance of work and life in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and importantly, how this region sets them up for success. We built their answers into a monthly video series (similar to last year’s video series) where we frame a discussion around that month’s question.

This year includes a vibrant mix of professionals from the City and County of Peterborough, featuring:

  • Dr. Kenzu Abdella, Professor of Mathematics at Trent University
  • Rhonda Barnet, President & COO of Steelworks Design
  • Michelle Berry, Owner of Hunter Street Books
  • Mikhail Clarkson, Plant Manager, Unimin Canada Ltd.
  • Neil Morton, Co-Owner of and StudioPtbo
  • Nancy Towns, Co-Owner of Towns & Leahy Mercantile and Deli

(learn more about these inspiring success stories in their bios at the bottom of this page)

This page will be updated monthly (with our current month’s video featured at the top of the page) as we release new videos throughout 2018, please be sure to check back each month for updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


We asked our local professionals a three word question: “What drives you?” And they answered…


This month we asked “What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?”. We were hoping the answers would give our local professionals an opportunity to “humble brag” about what they are proud of. Instead, they gave us so much more, with altruistic, community-minded answers…


This month we asked “What makes Peterborough & the Kawarthas different?”. The answers ranged from the natural environment, to the people, to the sentiment…


Learn About The Professionals in Peterborough & the Kawarthas

We featured six inspiring success stories from our community, if you are familiar to Peterborough & the Kawarthas you may know a few personally, but for those looking to learn more, we are pleased to introduce you to:

Dr. Kenzu Abdella, Professor of Mathematics at Trent University

Born in Ethiopia, Dr. Kenzu Abdella first came to Peterborough to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Trent University. After some time away, he returned to the region with his family as a Professor of Mathematics at his alma mater. More than that though, he has become instrumental in our community as part of a group of people who established the City’s first mosque, and is now the former President of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association.

Rhonda Barnet, President & COO of Steelworks Design

Rhonda Barnet is the co-founder of Steelworks Design, has 25 year in engineering and manufacturing experience, and is a prominent woman in STEM. In 2016, Rhonda was named the first female Chair in the history of the Canadian Manfacturers’ & Exporters Association. Currently, she is dedicated to improving the opportunities for women and girls in science, technology and engineering professions.

Michelle Berry, Owner of Hunter Street Books

Michelle’s stories have been published in over fifty literary magazines in Canada, as well as several national newspapers. She is the author of 3 published short story collections and six novels, some of which have been published in the UK as well as Canada. In 2016, Michelle opened her independent bookstore, Hunter Street Books in Peterborough where she moved with her family in 2004.

Mikhail Clarkson, Plant Manager, Unimin Canada Ltd.

Mikhail Clarkson is the Plant Manager at Unimin Canada Ltd which operates two facilities in Peterborough County, Ontario (Nephton and Blue Mountain Plants) that produce high-quality Nepheline—the preferred source material for glass manufacturing. It’s also used in the production of ceramics, porcelain, hygiene products, abrasives, plastics and filters, paint and insulation.  He is also an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys an active lifestyle in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

Neil Morton, Co-Owner of and StudioPtbo

Neil Morton is a journalist turned digital media company founder, who is a passionate supporter of all things Peterborough. His company has recently expanded to include StudioPTBO, a creative agency partnership with established graphic design firm StudioN. In 2017, Neil served as the United Way campaign chair, a fundraising effort for the local United Way.