Inspiring Success - NIEEF - Tasha Brooks

Brooks juggling motherhood, work and PhD studies

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Tasha BrooksTasha Brooks, a member of Cowichan Tribes, is one of the National Indigenous Economic Education Foundation scholarship winners for 2020.

Tasha Brooks is once again furthering her education in the hopes of landing her dream job.

Brooks, a member of Cowichan Tribes in British Columbia, has been working as an Indigenous education navigator at Vancouver Island University (VIU) since 2017.

Brooks, 36, is on maternity leave, however, until this coming April, following the birth of her first child, son Hunter, earlier this year.

Besides going back to work in 2021, Brooks has also returned to school. She has transferred to Royal Roads University in Victoria to complete her Doctorate of Business Administration.

Brooks had completed the necessary course work for her PhD remotely, from Minnesota’s Walden University in 2018.

But she opted to write her thesis, focusing on Indigenous entrepreneurship and business development, through Royal Roads University.

Besides her son’s birth, Brooks was given yet another reason to celebrate recently.

She discovered she is one of the recipients this year of a $2,000 National Indigenous Economic Education Foundation (NIEEF) scholarship.

NIEEF is the charitable organization of Cando, which promotes economic development in Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

Brooks, who is also a member of VIU’s alumni board of directors, welcomed the news that she was a scholarship recipient.

“A lot is going on in my life right now,” she said. “This is going to help me with childcare. I’m in the process of trying to find a nanny right now.”

Brooks added funding via scholarships is always vital.

“Without scholarships I don’t think I’d be able to spend the time and focus just on my schooling,” said Brooks, a former national student director for Cando.

Brooks is hoping to complete her thesis by 2024.

“I would love to be a professor, hopefully in a faculty of management,” she said of one of her future goals.

Brooks added she’s also be interested in helping to design the curriculum of Indigenous themed courses at various universities.

Brooks, who lives in Duncan, B.C., also has some other academic achievements of her own. This list includes earning a Business Administration degree, a master’s in Business Administration and a Master of Science in International Management degree from VIU.

She graduated with her Business Administration degree in 2011. Brooks spent three semesters of her undergrad degree on an exchange program overseas, at a university in the French city of Dijon.

Upon graduating Brooks was hired as a post-secondary advisor by Cowichan Tribes.

“I loved it but I realized I could do more and I wanted to do more,” she said, adding she took a leave of absence from her work to complete her MBA requirements in a condensed 14-month program.

Brooks also earned her Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED) certificate through Cando in 2015. To be awarded a TAED certificate one needs to obtain 11 competencies.

Brooks was not told why she was chosen as a NIEEF scholarship recipient. But she believes one plus for her is her chosen area of studies.

“Not many Indigenous people are focused on a doctorate with an Indigenous focus,” said Brooks, who is also the current chair for the Cowichan Tribes Fishing Enterprise board.