Women in Business Panel

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2023 Women In Business Panelists

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 Membertou, Nova Scotia from June 26-29, 2023. 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.


Please watch the 2023 Women in Business Panel Video:




2023 Women in Business Panelists:

Jenna White - Jenna’s Nut-free Dessertery - Métis Nation of Ontario

Jenna White

Jenna White is fulfilling a childhood dream.

“When I was a kid I always wanted to own a bakery or a restaurant,” said White, who is a Métis Nation of Ontario member.

Mission accomplished. That’s even though it took White a bit of time to accomplish her goal.

White, a 39-year-old who now lives in the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton, launched her business called Jenna’s Nut-free Dessertery in 2019.

Her business started off on a rather small scale. She started off selling goodies including nut-free muffins, cookies and cupcakes at a farmers’ market, held each Saturday in Fredericton.

“That’s not what I wanted to be doing though,” White said.

Her business expanded once she was able to purchase a refrigerated display case. That’s when she was able to make some fancier desserts, including eclairs and cheesecakes.

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Sabrina Bear - Party Bear Rentals - Tobique First Nation

Sabrina Bear

A forced career change in her early 40s was something Sabrina Bear was not anticipating.

But Bear, a 43-year-old member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out for her.

Bear spent a total of 16 years working in the oral health industry. The last 11 of those years she worked for the federal government as a dental therapist and community oral health practitioner, servicing clients not only in New Brunswick but Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as well.

But once the pandemic hit she was unable to continue in that role. When restrictions were lifted and Bear could return to work, she was physically unable to do so, as she was diagnosed with arthritis in her hand and wrist, leaving her unable to perform many duties of her job.

Taking an early retirement, however, turned out to be a blessing for Bear.

That’s because her mother gifted her a large tent, which was frequently rented out as part of a family business. Bear’s grandfather had launched a family business called Pete’s Pool Hall - Bodin’s Native Crafts & Supplies, more than 60 years ago.

Renting the massive tent out was just a small part of the family business. Shortly after receiving the tent, Bear launched her own business in 2021, not only renting out the massive tent, measuring 20 feet by 40 feet, but also other party accessories including tables and chairs.

That’s how her company called Party Bear Rentals was started.

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Michelle Cameron - Dreamcatcher Promotions - Peguis First Nation

Michelle Cameron

The fact Michelle Cameron has a pair of thriving businesses shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

That’s because Cameron, a member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba who is now 46, had an entrepreneurial spirit even before she was a teenager.

Cameron was 12 years old when she launched her first business. Each day she would make several dozen cookies and send them with her mother, who worked as a payroll administrator, to sell at her place of employment.

That venture lasted about a year.

“It kind of started my journey of entrepreneurship,” said Cameron, whose previous money-making initiatives also included launching a homemade pizza and wing business.

For the past dozen years, however, Cameron has served as the CEO of Dreamcatcher Promotions, which has become the largest Indigenous-owned promotional company in Canada.

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Natasha Peter - Kaska Dena Designs - Kaska Nation

Natasha Peter

Natasha Peter admits that giving up a steady job in the mining industry was indeed a frightening thought.

But after working at various mines in her home territory Yukon for numerous years, Peter decided the time was right to find something else to do with her life.

“I wanted something different,” said Peter, who is a member of Kaska Nation, which is comprised of First Nations in British Columbia and communities in Yukon. “And I got tired of camp life.”

Peter, who is from Ross River, an unincorporated community in Yukon, now lives in Whitehorse.

And yes, she was somewhat terrified giving up a full-time job, not knowing what was next for her.

“I was scared,” said Peter, who is now 32. “But my grandparents had always told me when I was a little girl to keep going, to keep moving. And that’s what I did.”

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