Links to Learning Presenters 


L2L - April 8, 2021

Sydney Paul

Sydney PaulSydney Paul is a Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) woman from Kingsclear (Pilick) First Nation.  She is a mother to a beautiful daughter, named Sloan Morning Star, her German Shepard, Ranger and partner to, Tyler. She graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in 2015.  After obtaining her BBA, she went on to continue to further her education and receive her Masters Certificate in Project Management from UNB Extended Learning. In addition to her studies at UNB, she also received her Technical Aboriginal Economic Development Certification (TAED) from the Council for the Advancement of Native Officers (CANDO). Some of her work experience has been as Band Manager and Director of Economic Development for Kingsclear First Nation. She is now employed as the Economic Development Officer for Eel Ground (Natoaganeg) First Nation. She enjoy CrossFit, being active and supporting the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq people. 



L2L - April 6, 2021

Jordan Asels

Jordan AselsMember of the Dene Thá First Nation located in Treaty eight area of northern Alberta, Jordan is the current Economic Development Manager for his Nation.

As a graduate from the University of Lethbridge with a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies, Jordan pursued a career serving communities, families and youth with a reputable non-profit Children’s Mental Health Centre.

Under the supervision and mentorship of several distinguished leaders, Jordan gained eight years of experience managing and supervising multi-disciplinary teams, aimed at providing Nationally recognized treatment programming across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. An additional four years in management and supervising in alternate capacities was also gained in his community.

With community growth and well-being as the focus of his career and understanding of local industry, Jordan accepted the position of Economic Development Manager in the Spring of 2018. With aspirations of improving the conditions of all Dene Thámembers, Jordan works with industries and governments to overcome and remove barriers to education and employment while leveraging his Nations relationships and interests to increase economic opportunity while working towards a prosperous and sustainable economy.


BDO - February 23 & 25

Paul Pospisil

Economic Development Consultant, Aboriginal Services

Paul Pospisil

Expertise Summary

With 30 plus years working within First Nations Communities and 10 years with BDO, Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. Paul has previously been an on site band manager for several First Nations Communities working along side Chief and Council members, the main objective in each community has always been to assist in ensuring Frist Nations developmental goals are achieved. Paul has a strong success rate in acquiring funding for projects such as housing, licensing for community led radio stations and is a driving force in positive financial change. Through his work with First Nations, Paul consistently demonstrates a required cultural sensitivity, which is crucial to the successful outcomes that he achieves in each community.

Client Experience: First Nations

Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation

Jacques Marion

Partner, BDO Consulting

Jacques MarionExpertise Summary

Jacques is a Partner in BDO’s Winnipeg office and has 20+ years of experience within First Nations finance working in a financial advisory, management, and economic development capacity.   Jacques is BDO’s National Aboriginal Consulting Lead for Canada.

Jacques has undertaken engagements across seven provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador). His office’s work with First Nations has led to successful outcomes for communities in Financial Accounting, project management, debt retirement, and bringing value to all programs and entities throughout local consultation. His focus is now to enable substantial capacity improvement of First Nations through accounting and management reporting to bring value through qualitative financial information framework by generating a specialized focus on best practices through procurement generating substantial financial gains for First Nations. Strategic planning in housing, programs and for profit entities operated by First Nations using methodologies that are easily applied at the local level to bring real practice focus on socioeconomic improvements for First Nations communities across Canada.


Is supporting young entrepreneurs a key pillar in your Indigenous economic development strategy? If it is – let’s talk!

Futurpreneur’s sole purpose is to support young entrepreneurs (18-39 yrs old) in Canada launch successful businesses. That is our mission. Our support model includes one-on-one coaching, training, financing and mentorship. We also strive, wherever we can, to connect the young entrepreneurs we support to each other and to promote their businesses through our communications and marketing activities.

In 2019, we galvanized the resources to establish a national team to support young, Indigenous entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. We see Indigenous Economic Development professionals as key collaborators in this work. Please join us in this important conversation.


Joanne Norris - bio

Joanne Norris

With a background in International Development, impact investing, small business development and extensive experience as a gender and impact measurement expert in Canada and globally, Joanne’s passion for understanding and serving small business communities drives her work at Futurpreneur.

Joanne joined the Futurpreneur Canada in team in 2014. Futurpreneur’s mission is to provide early-stage financing, mentorship and other resources to help aspiring entrepreneurs age 18-39 launch successful businesses that contribute to sustainable economic development in their communities and for Canada.

Joanne’s role initially was to explore opportunities to support more rural, remote and Indigenous young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. This exploration became the ThriveNorth initiative and Futurpreneur ran this program for 6 years. As Project Manager, Joanne developed the programming elements and delivery model. In 2019, Futurpreneur was able to build on this experience and launch a national program to reach and serve Indigenous young entrepreneurs across Canada to launch and grow successful businesses.

Sammy Zoerb - bio

Sammy Zoerb

Building relationships and trust are key for Sammy when it comes to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs, as well as creating synergies with other service providers. She believes we can all work together to support Indigenous entrepreneurs in following their goals and passions toward the launch of their dream businesses.

Sammy Zoerb is the Business Development Manager, Indigenous Young Entrepreneurs, with Futurpreneur Canada for the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Originally from Thunderchild, Saskatchewan, she has lived in Edmonton for the past 20 years.

Sammy holds a diploma in Business Administration and started her career in Indigenous economic development straight after she graduated. She soon discovered her passion was to become a resource for Indigenous economic prosperity and she has focused on supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship for the past four years. Being a part of Futurpreneur’s new Indigenous team with a focused strategy that supports young Indigenous entrepreneurs is all part of her journey. Sammy believes it is critical for Indigenous people to become self-sustainable and she is honoured to be a part of this exciting time where Indigenous entrepreneurs are following their dreams and contributing to the economic growth of this country.

Justin Holness - bio

Justin Holmes

Justin Holness was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. His heritage is a blend of Jamaican and Nakota First Nation roots. Growing up, his mother made sure he was connected to his First Nation community. One of his three grandmothers, Laura Big Eagle, helped to re-establish Ocean Man First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory, in 1990.

Based in Ottawa and serving young, Indigenous entrepreneurs across Ontario, Justin believes that entrepreneurship is one way we can build new economic opportunities for Indigenous people, communities and future generations. For Justin, supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship and business is a pathway toward achieving reconciliation. He is pleased to join Futurpreneur where he can help other Indigenous entrepreneurs achieve economic prosperity by supporting them to launch and grow their businesses.

Justin is an award-winning entrepreneur himself, receiving the 2018 CBC Trailblazer Award for TR1BE Music. He also received the Youth Community Service Award from the Committee of Youth Officers Ontario while working at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health as an Indigenous Youth Division Coordinator. His goals are to help Indigenous people achieve self-determination through art, music, and entrepreneurship.

About ExploreIP: Canada’s IP Marketplace

ExploreIP: Canada’s IP Marketplace is a free online tool for businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to discover intellectual property (IP) held by public sector institutions and leverage ground-breaking research and discoveries, stimulating collaborations that could help launch the next big innovation.

Petra Hudakova

Petra HudakovaPetra is a Senior Policy Advisor at Innovation Canada and the ExploreIP Project manager, working closely with the IT development team and the ExploreIP users in public and private sectors to co-design the tool's features and user experience.

Petra has over 10 years of experience in project management and product development through developing education and advisory programs and health standards for quality and safety in her previous roles at Health Standards Organization and Accreditation Canada.

Contact info:



Frederic Papillon

Frederic PapillonFrederic is the Senior Outreach Officer at Innovation Canada promoting ExploreIP, Canada’s IP Marketplace, the online tool connecting businesses with Canadian public sector Intellectual property. He has worked for the federal government for over 11 years on the files of Innovation and Intellectual Property at GAC, CIPO and the CSA.

Contact info:



Kendal NetmakerKendal Netmaker

Indigenous Entrepreneurship
Indigenous Leadership
Indigenous Development & Prosperity

Kendal Netmaker is one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs and speakers, from Sweetgrass First Nation, SK. He was raised by a single mother who cared for Kendal and his three younger sisters while growing up in poverty and few chances for opportunity.

In grade 5, Kendal’s life changed forever when his best friend from South Africa helped him to play soccer by paying for his soccer fees and driving him to games/practices. This act of kindness opened up a whole other world for him that he would have never otherwise experienced. Two years later, when the family was relocating, they gave Kendal’s family their car; it was a life-changing gift that helped his mother access all kinds of basic necessities that had previously been difficult – and meant that Kendal and his sisters could now take part in after school sports. 

The incredible generosity of his childhood friend’s family inspired Kendal to give back when he launched his company, Neechie Gear® – a lifestyle apparel brand that empowers youth through sports. A percentage of all Neechie Gear® profits go toward funding underprivileged youth to take part in sports. While finishing two degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Kendal worked on growing the brand, which was founded out of Kendal’s small, one-bedroom apartment. After graduation, Kendal opened several stores while sharing his story as keynote speaker. The brand is now sold to consumers across North America through exclusive retail partners and online.

To date, Kendal has founded and invested in 5 businesses, the author of Driven To Succeed and won over 25 business awards, including runner-up at the YBI Global Entrepreneur of the Year & one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40®. Kendal speaks professionally to thousands of people each year on resilience, leadership and the power of telling your story.

He lives with his wife and two children in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he continues to run his company and provide executive leadership coaching to organizations.

Kendal is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs and leaders around the globe by demonstrating that regardless of where you come from and what you have gone through in your life, you have the power to enact change. Become who you were born to be!

Michelle Nieviadomy

Michelle Nieviadomy

Zoomed out? Zoom in!

It is almost the end of 2020 and you are probably Zoom’ed out! Your stress level is probably a bit high too with the pandemic & the time of year. COVID 19 has brought about challenge & added stress in our lives both personally & professionally.
Join us for our last Links to Learning webinar of 2020 for a down to earth presentation.

This webinar will provide you with some inspiration, tips on stress management & self care and some ideas to create a better virtual work experience.

The session will end with an opportunity for you to reconnect with my mind, heart, spirit and body!

Michelle Nieviadomy is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Cree woman) with a passion for wellness, social justice & community development.  

She is a member of Kawacatoose First Nation and while her roots are in Saskatchewan, she has called Edmonton home for the past 20 years.

She is the Assistant Director at the Edmonton Native Healing Centre. 

She is an entrepreneur with her own business called Iskwew Health promoting health & wellness in various capacities! (Zumba, meditation, bootcamp, fitness kickboxing, wellness retreats)  She believes movement is medicine & connection is everything!

Laara and MarkWorkshop Description: First Nations Good Governance & Designing Self-Governments


De Colonizing & Establishing Effective Development Corporations

Laara Yaghujaanas, M.A., owns and operates Carden Consulting, which she established in 1997. Laara is from the yaghu ‘jaanas clan of the Haida Nation and carries her great grandmothers name “Kun G aadaas”. Laara is committed to effecting positive change for the benefit of future generations, and has strong values of respect, integrity, excellence and community responsibility.

Ms. Yaghujaanas holds a Master’s Degree from Royal Roads University, was awarded the Royal Roads University Founders Award, has completed the Justice Institute Conflict Resolution and Negotiation course, is a CTT Certified Consultant (Level 2), is a member of the Council of Native Development Officers (CANDO), and is a member of the New Relationship Trust Economic Development Support Team.

Mark F. Salter joined Carden Consulting in the summer of 2017 as a business and life partner with Laara. Mark worked with the Songhees Nation to achieve their goals of developing successful intergovernmental partnerships and has worked with First Nations in Ontario and gained more than ten years’ experience working with and for First Nations. Mark’s has a deep level of respect for First Nations, and possesses wide variety of skills that has helped him to develop intergovernmental partnerships (e.g. Justice Institute Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program) and has been recognized by the Capital Regional District and Governor General for Environmental Leadership benefitting the regions of Southern Vancouver Island).

A key component of Laara’s work has been the purposeful planning to enhance the capacity, and self-determination of Aboriginal peoples, through community owned research and tools. This indigenous methodology and approach has proven successful in supporting the self-determination of Aboriginal peoples, communities, organizations, and Nations throughout BC, whom Laara serves.

Making Economic Resiliency and Recovery The New Norm

All over the world, communities and their economic development efforts are navigating uncharted waters.  The COVID-19 pandemic has opened many questions about a post-COVID economy.  While COVID-19 has been a devasting disaster affecting the world there are other disasters that can happen at any time and hit at a more local level.  It does not matter if it is a flood, a fire, the closure of your major employer or something else that unexpectantly negatively impacts your economy.  These disasters seem to be happening more frequently and your community needs to be prepared to ensure you have a resilient community if one happens.  This session explores what you need to do to be ready for an economic disaster and to address current challenges impacting our economy.

Dale Wheeldon

Dale Wheeldon, President and CEO, BC Economic Development Association

Dale Wheeldon has 26 years of economic development experience and is the CEO of the BC Economic Development Association and one of the founding partners of EDCD Consulting. Starting out as in economic development in a rural BC community he then moved to Chilliwack where he worked to make Chilliwack one of the leading economic development communities in BC. He is in demand as a speaker with a presentation style combining humour with simplicity for understanding complex issues.



Colleen BondColleen Bond, EDCD Consulting

Colleen Bond is a certified Economic Developer with 24 years of economic development experience. She has extensive knowledge in building economic development programs for business retention and expansion, business attraction and foreign investment attraction. Colleen has worked from grassroots to government organizations in a variety of community development and capacity building roles earning awards along with way. Colleen co-founded EDCD Consulting to provide consulting services to economic development agencies at all levels of government.




Leann Hackman-CartyMaster Your Disaster: A Primer

Leann Hackman-Carty, CEO, Economic Developers Alberta

Leann has been the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta since 2009. In 2014, Leann completed a project with 11 Alberta flood impacted communities. In 2016-17, she worked with the Fort McMurray region on business and economic recovery by setting up and operating the business hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief; and leading a 10-member economic recovery assessment team to the region.

In 2019 she updated the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency (Canadian Version)' to help communities prepare for and recover from economic disruptions and brought this resiliency training program to Canada in 2017.

In addition to her work at EDA, she heads up HackmanCarty and Associates, which is focused on community capacity building, resilience, and recovery.  At the end of December 2017, she released her “Master Your Disaster” series of guidebooks on Amazon designed to help individuals, businesses and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. In 2018, she received Public Safety Canada’s Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award-Resilient Communities. 

In her capacity as the Canadian President of the Institute for Sustainable Development (, she works with international experts on innovative long term community recovery and resiliency programs. In April 2019, she added the role a Managing Director (Canada) for Jobenomics ( to address her ongoing desire to “create jobs for everyone” particularly in the wake of a disaster. In August 2019, she launched the MYD Global Youtube channel where she talks “all things disaster”.