The Making of YMM’s Top 50 Under 50

Posted by: Kerri Johnson

The Top 50 Under 50. Each year the team at Your McMurray Magazine invests hundreds of hours into a process that results in 50 of our region’s most remarkable under-50s being recognized and celebrated, as well as a select few over-50s being named one of YMM Builders.

But what is that process?

Rumour on the street is our team puts our heads together and picks from our group of friends. Rest assured, dear reader, that’s not how we do it. Nor do we have that many friends.

Instead of employing favouritism, we employ good old fashion non-partisanship and democracy. We do this by assembling a selection committee comprised of community ambassadors from all sectors, as well as past Top 50 recipients, and members of the Balsom Communications team. By including individuals who work and volunteer in various sectors, our goal is to cultivate transparency and foster fairness for all of the potential Top 50 candidates. 

And then the fun begins.

Picture it: Each person on the selection panel enters the room ready to bring forth their 10 nominations and to defend them until they make it to the final list of 50. Nobody leaves the room until there is a consensus, and that consensus isn’t always easy to come by.

For hours the selection committee discusses and debates the merit of each nominee. We’d love to tell you that the conversations are always calm, cool, and collected, but they are not. The selection committee, although a different collection of people each year, is always passionate. Sometimes there is shouting and tears. But in the end, everyone always agrees: each year’s Top 50 Under 50 and YMM Builders are a deserving group of people.

From there, the Balsom team begins connecting with each recipient, booking their official photoshoot and video shoot, as well as conducting interviews as part of the process of writing each person’s profile for the magazine, a process that begins months before the magazine goes to print. 

The process culminates with Your McMurray Magazine’s biggest edition of the year: The Top 50 Under 50. The pages of the magazine showcase the photos and stories of the remarkable people who are being celebrated as either part of the Top 50, or the YMM Builders.

And then, in non-COVID times, the Balsom Communications team throws the biggest party of the year, filled with the movers, the shakers, and the news-makers of the year. Each recipient takes the stage, is presented with their award, and the magazines are distributed, hot off the presses.

Neither the Top 50 Under 50 nor the YMM Builders programs would be possible without the partners who share our vision for celebrating the remarkable people in our region. A special thanks to our 2020 partners: YMM Builders presenting partner Casman, Neville Video Productions, and Amie Roberts Photography, LIAM, Hines Health Services, FuseSocial, Leadership Wood Buffalo, AlumaSafway, and Fort McMurray Heritage Society

Twenty-twenty-one will mark the sixth year we’ve celebrated the Top 50 Under 50, and the third year we’ve named a select group of YMM Builders, and our team is so excited to do so. To nominate an outstanding individual, email Your McMurray Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Dawn Booth at

To learn more about Your McMurray Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 and YMM Builders, click here.