Women in Business Panel
Each year Cando selects four panelists to form the Women in Business Panel, one of the signature events at the Cando Annual National Conference which will be held in Whitecap Dakota, SK in May 2022. Through this annual panel, Cando highlights and recognizes the significant impact that Indigenous women entrepreneurs have on the Canadian economy. Four panelists from across Canada will share their experiences of being a woman in business.
The 2022 Women in Business Panel sponsored by:
Please watch the 2022 Women in Business Panel video...
Congratulations to this year's panelists!
Creative Spirit Solutions / Buffalo Stone Woman
Heather is from the Kainaiwa Nation and her ancestral name, is O’takii Tsowakii.
She is a seasoned entrepreneur who opened her second business, Buffalo Stone Woman, in September 2020. Buffalo Stone Woman was created because Heather recognized the opportunity to share her Indigenous history and culture with people from around Canada and the world in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Canadian Rockies located in Treaty Seven territory. She walks the same mountain paths her ancestors did and provides an exclusive Indigenous experience to those who join her. As a spirited entrepreneur, she is a workshop facilitator, strategist, advisor and always supporting economic development in the Business and Education sectors. Heather also runs Creative Spirit Solutions, a consulting organization that supports both start-up and long-term Indigenous business around the country in finding growth and success. Read Heather's full story!
New Leaf Esthetics
Ms. Pelletier has been in the retail and service industry for approximately 18 years. Further, she has been working in the field of esthetics for 7 years. Ms. Pelletier began her amazing journey when she took an esthetics course offered at Yukon College. It was then that she realized how much she loved working with people and discovered how satisfying it was to offer exceptional services and make positive changes in someone’s day - and life. Ms. Pelletier’s education includes the Calgary Esthetic Institute where she was formerly trained in Threading, Microblading, Eyelash and Eyebrow Extensions. In addition, she is also experienced, trained and certified in Aveda Skin Care and Aveda Products. Through Alexandria Professionals, Ms. Pelletier successfully completed her training and received certification as a Sugarist. Ms. Pelletier loves the beauty industry and strives to know what the current trends are to keep herself up-to-date with industry training, as well as health and safety standards. Ms. Pelletier’s client base and skills continue to grow as she serves many former clients, as well as acquiring a steady stream of new clients.
Mrs. Melissa Hardy-Giles was born and raised on Lake Helen Reserve, an hour northeast of Thunder Bay, ON. Melissa is a graduate of Confederation College in both the Executive Office Administration and Human Resource Management programs. She has several years of experience as a Senior Administrator and as a Human Resource Practitioner. Melissa started and developed 3 successful businesses and is currently the owner of ORIGIN, an Indigenous-owned progressive business enterprise, that takes pride in offering innovative technology solutions to a growing portfolio of clients in targeted industries. Melissa is very proud to be an active member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the first Indigenous company to become a Procurement Champion with the CCAB. Melissa is also very passionate about indigenous youth and their safety and well-being, in the city of Thunder Bay. She’s an active member of the annual Wake The Giant initiative and is always looking for ways to support WTG both personally and professionally. Some of her recent accolades include: 2021 RBC Innovative Company of the Year Award, 2021 Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) Recognition of Achievement and Growth, 2020-21 Indigenomics “Top 10 Indigenous companies to watch in Canada”, 2020 National Award for Excellence in Business, 2019 Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Game Changer award winners, 2019 Confederation College Presidents Award, Recipient of the 2019 Northern Ontario, Influential Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year award, 2019 Ontario Premier Award nominee and in 2018, ORIGIN was awarded the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) Partnership of the year award. Melissa has a passion to help women find and love their ‘true selves’. Once in a position as a single mother and limited education, she appreciates some of the barriers women face today. Melissa believes women must always be there for each other and not break one another down. “There are enough barriers out there for women without having to fight amongst each other. Together we are strong”. She wants to help carry on her late grandmother Agnes Hardy’s love of her people and empowerment of all people whenever and however she can. Read Melissa's full story!
Rachel is the owner and operator of Bannock Express which provides meals, caters events and is now selling her pre-mixed Bannock. She adopted her relative’s children and has managed to provide for them with an excellent home life while facing challenges of being the owner and operator of Bannock Express. Her revenues have grown each year thanks to her hard work. Rachel has realized that being a Bannock maker is integral to her business and she is now focusing on that skill set as she hires her employees. Her success has allowed her to expand her business. And during this expansion, she faced an eviction from her landlord of several years. To overcome this, she raised funds for her transition to a new address. She has recently reached a partnership with Coop food stores, where her Dry Bannock Mix will be in Coop stores for sale. During this time, she has also created a donation wall, where she asks for donations from her clientele, and she places those donations on the wall and feeds anyone who comes in and takes a donation off the wall. Rachel faced personal and business issues along with many obstacles while trying to maintain her business.
The 2022 Women in Business Panel sponsored by: