Spotlight: Natalie Potvin
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
by Heidi J. T. Exner
When the Moot Times embarked on its quest for a new (actually, first!) logo, we were not expecting to get to meet such a cool creator as well. Though Natalie Potvin is a 2021 UCalgary Law graduate and will no longer grace our halls, her legacy will live on for at least another year. Earlier this year, Natalie’s entry to our new logo contest was chosen as the new “face” of our publication. I sat down with Natalie and had the pleasure of chatting with how she came up with our new logo. We also chatted about her family’s remarkable story that led her to where she is today, her pets, her green thumb, and life as a law student in general. A self-described “open book,” Natalie is warm and gregarious. She also happens to have a wealth of interesting stories.
As someone who loves graphic design, and in particular loves designing logos, when the SLS Fraser Report hit her inbox and she saw our logo contest, Natalie’s intuitive understanding of what the Moot Times was seeking seemed to kick in. “I imagined the Moot Times looking for a new vibe. Something modern with a classic streak.” Natalie hit the nail on the head with this thought, as she envisioned returning to a tradition at the school, but making it better than ever. She used UCalgary Law’s deep crimson colouring, but had fun with the font and retro-feeling design. Natalie has a unique talent to infer what she calls the “vibe” from hobbies and projects, and perhaps her extraordinary parental influences and pure love for various forms of life have something to do with that.
The amount of stars that needed to align for Natalie to have reached UCalgary Law is astounding. Her mother (pictured with Natalie, left) is an El Salvadoran refugee and her father hails from Quebec, and the two of them met in Red Deer, AB, of all places. Her mother originally escaped civil war in her home country by way of San Francisco at the age of 17 – pregnant with Natalie’s eldest brother and widowed. Red Deer was not her original plan, but it was a place she could raise her son (Natalie’s oldest brother) when she was displaced from San Francisco by US authorities. Some time after settling into her new prairie home, she met Natalie’s father by chance. Natalie is the product of this union. A drywaller by trade, her father has instilled practical DIY acumen in her. “It’s kind of funny that growing up my parents didn’t help me with academics and stuff, but they did help me with life skills.”
Natalie’s mother taught her to garden, and she clearly taught her daughter well. Natalie’s garden consists of various flowers, 20 gigantic (9 feet tall) tomato plants grown from seed, 15 pepper plants, carrots, eggplants, onions... enough to supply a restaurant. “I share my life on Instagram and it’s all pets and gardening,” she joked.
Natalie and her husband have a home that shines with flora and fauna. In addition to over 100 houseplants, they house Jasper (J-Bird), who is their 3-legged cat, and 2 doggos: 6-year old Oscar, and his baby sister, Charlie. Oscar and Charlie are both lab mixes, but Oscar is a big golden boy with a sweet heart, and Charlie is a small black baby. All of her furry friends are adopted rescues, and of them are family. Family and social life mean a lot to Natalie. Her favourite thing about the time spent at UCalgary Law is “definitely the people I’ve met, that I wouldn’t have met otherwise … Just some really fantastic people, and profs are included in that.” Natalie played rugby, basketball, and volleyball during her time at law school, and loved being around everyone while she practised and played. Academically, it is no surprise that she said, “by far the best experience was the block course in 3L, the Mock Trial.” Taught by Lisa and Markham Silver in January of our 3L year, this well-loved course teaches us teamwork and fortifies our advocacy skills.