Beverley O’Neil - British Columbia

Indigenous business owner has sense of responsibility to give back

Beverley O'NeilBeverley O'Neil, a member of Ktunaxa Nation, owns a pair of businesses.

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Beverley O’Neil continues to work towards improving the lives of other Indigenous people.

O’Neil, a member of Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia, previously worked as the director of community economic development for her First Nation’s tribal council.

But she switched careers in 1994 when she started her own company, O’Neil Marketing and Consulting.

“It was sort of like the natural next step was to become self-employed,” O’Neil said. “I think at the time it was time to move on. I had done what I could do (working for the tribal council).”

About a year after launching her own company, O’Neil started a second one, Numa Communications.

She continues to operate both now

“My accountant said you don’t need two companies,” O’Neil said. “It’s really just me (wanting that). It was really just about structuring things based on the type of work you’re doing.”

O’Neil will also be making her second appearance on the Women In Business Panel, which will be held on Oct. 21, at this year’s virtual Cando Conference.

Because of the pandemic, the entire conference, which will be spread out over four days, will be staged online. Conference dates are Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28.

O’Neil, who lives in Vancouver, had also participated on the Women In Business Panel at the 2014 Cando Conference, which was held in Nanaimo, B.C.

Both of the companies owned by O’Neil employ various professionals who work on certain projects that they land.

“I have done some international projects,” O’Neil said. “But most of my bigger projects is stuff done provincially.”

For example, in early October, O’Neil was working on a project with Indigenous Tourism BC.

Though O’Neil does work on projects with non-Indigenous groups or individuals, the majority of her work is for First Nations or Indigenous businesses or groups.

“There’s a sense of responsibility to give back and to fulfill your role in the community,” she said of her work which has Indigenous connections. “It’s a fulfillment of your obligation.”

Through her marketing and consulting company, O’Neil has assisted numerous First Nations, communities and individuals in various fields including economic development, tourism, community planning, agriculture, governance, capacity development and film production.

O’Neil has also assisted others with media relations and with their design and communications needs.

O’Neil is also a sought-after guest speaker. Besides Canada, she has spoken to groups in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the United States on topics including Indigenous cultural tourism, partnerships, cross-culture, economic development and business.

She’s also keen to once again have the opportunity to be a part of the Women In Business Panel for the Cando Conference.

“It’s a strong sense of responsibility (to be a part of events like this),” O’Neil said.

For the past seven years O’Neil has also been part of an organization called the Kumtuks Group, which is comprised of a handful of consultants with Indigenous ancestry.

Group members self-monitor each other to ensure the projects they’re involved with contribute positively to the well-being of First Nations and Indigenous people.