Lake Babine Nation EDO praises annual B.C. Links to Learning forum


Lake Babine Admin office

photo credit: LBN Communications

Lake Babine Nation's economic development officer Pauline Goertzen considers the B.C. Links to Learning event the best conference she attends each year.

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Since becoming the economic development officer for the Lake Babine Nation in British Columbia, there is one event in particular that Pauline Goertzen looks forward to each fall.

That would be the annual B.C. Links to Learning, a training technical forum which is held in Vancouver. The event provides various learning opportunities not only for economic development officers from Indigenous communities but also lands management officers from across British Columbia.

The conference is a partnership between Indigenous Services Canada, the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association and Cando, the national organization that promotes economic and business development in Indigenous communities across the country.

The two-day 2019 B.C. Links to Learning event was held in early December at the Westin Bayshore.

For Goertzen, who has been Lake Babine Nation’s EDO for the past five and a half years, this marked the fifth consecutive year she has participated at the conference.

“I think it’s the best conference I go to,” Goertzen said, adding she also attends 2-3 other conferences annually. “There’s a lot of connecting with other people.”

Pauline GoertzenBesides other EDOs, Goertzen enjoys the B.C. Links to Learning event as consultants and government representatives are also on hand.

“Everybody is in one place,” Goertzen said. “You get to meet with them all at once.”

Pauline Goertzen works out of the Lake Babine Nation's administration office.

photo credit: LBN Communications

Goertzen also enjoys the event agenda.

“It’s more of a practitioners’ conference instead of a business conference,” she said. “And nobody is trying to sell you anything. It’s all about being practical and sharing what information we have.”

Experts in various economic and land development activities lead workshops. There are also ample opportunities for dialogue and networking.

“I’ve taken quite a bit from this conference,” Goertzen said, adding information on alternate energy sources, corporate restructuring and land use planning are topics that have been covered at previous conferences that she has taken back to her community. “We use it to learn what has worked for others and what didn’t work.”

Most delegates who attend the B.C. Links to Learning have their expenses – including registration fee, travel and accommodations – covered.

Goertzen added the B.C. Links to Learning conference is held at a rather fitting moment.

“It’s good timing because your (community) budgets are coming up,” she said. “And it helps you to strategize your own economic development plans.”

Goertzen also said she thinks it is imperative to attend the conference in order to find out the various forms of government funding available for various projects. These funding amounts can vary from year to year and from government to government.

“Sometimes there’s slippage (in the funding available) and other times there’s other opportunities that come up,” she said.




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