Delilah Mah felt timing was finally ideal to pursue Master’s degree

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Writer

Delilah Mah

Now that she’s well established in her work career, Delilah Mah figured the timing was right for her to pursue another educational goal.

Mah, a 45-year-old member of Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, is expecting to earn her Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development in August of 2022.

Mah’s program is offered through Cape Breton University. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s taking her classes online through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

Mah is also one of four recipients this year of National Indigenous Economic Education Fund (NIEEF) scholarships.

Funding for the scholarships is made available through a foundation, which is the charitable organization of Cando, the national organization that promotes economic development in Indigenous communities across Canada.

All of the NIEFF scholarships winners received $2,000 each.

“I find it kind of funny,” Mah said. “I feel like it’s a full circle moment of life.”

That’s because Mah used to work for Cando, from 2003 to 2013. She held various positions over the years after starting off as a summer student receptionist. Her duties later on included serving as a conference assistant and being Cando’s education and research manager.

Mah, who lives in Edmonton, had earned her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta in 2008.

But at the time, and for several years afterwards, she was not considering continuing on with her education.

“Taking a Master’s program wasn’t on my mind,” she said. “Now I felt I had the pieces in place to do it.”

Besides being a student again, Mah is also operating a pair of businesses.

She launched Mah Art & Photography in 2016. And then the following year she started an agency called BravHer Consulting.

For the art component of her first business, Mah creates authentic Indigenous art products. She launched the photography side of the company in part because of her desire to capture the beauty of Indigenous women through photography.

In addition to her photography, she’s now also working with professional makeup artists and also doing customized backdrops for various events.

Meanwhile, services offered through BravHer Consulting include program development, event planning, business plans as well as branding services and board development services.

Mah has praise for those who provide financial assistance through various scholarships to those who are studying at post-secondary levels.

“It just gives that incentive for students to apply for that kind of help and to be recognized for the work that goes into being a student,” she said.

Mah added she’s pleased her former employer is among those that do provide financial help via scholarships.

“It’s reassuring Cando is out there on a national level being mindful and supportive,” she said.

Mah has also been involved in her share of volunteer efforts over the years.

For example, in 2019 she founded the Indigenous Women’s Business Panel. The purpose of this group was to have monthly meetings where Indigenous women’s entrepreneurs could meet in a space to bring themselves closer together, by sharing stories and practices.