Advisers, Associates, Project Managers
Lawrence Alexander is a Victoria lawyer who has been practising and thinking about environmental law reform for 24 years. For close to ten years he advised deputy ministers to the Premier in the BC Government — on both sides of the political spectrum. He has worked for the national law firm Heenan Blaikie and the environmental advocate West Coast Environmental Law. He has led law and policy reform projects on several topics including climate action, green cities, water, alternative energy and power technology, de facto expropriation, sustainable food, oil and gas, environmental auditing, green economics, ecological tax shifting, drinking water, fish protection, tailpipe emissions, and environmental assessment. He advises highly ambitious groups who are using innovation and technology to tackle stubborn public policy problems. Current projects include defining and modelling new approaches to the regulation of natural resources, access to justice, youth mental health, finance and investment, and the discovery of treatments for unsolved diseases.
As an innovator and facilitator of economic development, Robert is passionate about globalization and building relationships that transcend national borders. As a man of mixed heritage Robert understands the profound impact culture and identity have on business, life, and family. His father is an Ontario Metis, and his mother hails from the Arawak, one of the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.
Robert’s background in finance and trade have allowed him to work on what he is most passionate about, developing people and businesses through sound financial knowledge. His academic background in Economics, Business and International Trade provided him the opportunity to jetset to Hong Kong where he used the tools of finance to connect Asian and Canadian businesses. Now, as a co-Director at Anokasan, Robert works to bridge the gap between East Asian markets and Indigenous businesses and communities. Ultimately, his passion is bringing Canadian Indigenous business to the international arena. Robert’s company website can be found at www.anokasan.com
Jacqueline specializes in environmental issues, community-based research, health and wellness, and gender-based analysis. Quinless is an award winning sociologist recognized by the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) and the Angus Reid Foundation for her community based research that has advanced human welfare in Canada. She was the recipient of a prestigious CLIR post doctoral fellowship through Washington DC and Digital Scholarship and Strategy at the University of Victoria with a focus on research data management (RDM) and digital sovereignty.
She founded Quintessential Research Group which is a community-based social research consulting practice, and was a presidents scholar recipient at the University of Victoria along with a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) holder for her doctoral research on urban Indigenous health and wellness in Canada. She has authored several peer reviewed articles and numerous research reports for all levels of government, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations.
Dr. Dara Kelly
Dara has achieved a PhD in Management as well as a Master of Commerce in Management from The
University of Auckland Business School, Aotearoa-New Zealand. Dara also completed a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies from the University of British Columbia. Dara Kelly is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.
Dara’s doctoral research entitled, “Feed the people and you will never go hungry”: Illuminating Coast Salish economy of affection” explores Coast Salish philosophy of freedom, unfreedom, wealth and reciprocity and how that shapes Coast Salish philosophy of economy. Economic unfreedom emerged with introduction of the Potlatch Ban across Canada, and its residual impacts are prevalent today reflected in an aspect of the research findings that honour Xá:m! Crying, weeping—the affective expression of grieving that shapes how the Coast Salish wisdom keepers in this research talk about gatherings. Economic freedom from within Coast Salish worldview is inherently spiritual by virtue of the interrelated nature of exchange between Xá:ls, the Creator, Sólh Téméxw, the river environment, and Xwélmexw, the river people. She conducted this research using research methodology emerging from Coast Salish philosophy, protocols and worldview.
Amy owns a specialized Advancement Practice that uses a diversity and inclusion lens to guide organizations with their fund development strategy and operations, and communications including persuasion campaign planning and management. With a decade of experience she helps non-profit organizations advance their ideas, revenue and diversity goals through policy and practice.
In addition to her advancement practice: She is currently working on a start up, developing a proprietary auditing framework to apply a maturity model to the hard and soft policies that govern inclusive behaviour within organizations.
Amy is the former Director of Partnership & Engagement for Minerva BC, the cofounder of FundHer.ca – a cross-partisan fundraising solution for women political candidates in the 2011 Ontario provincial election, and the 2009 winner of the CBC’s Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister. She’s a regular political contributor to the CBC, and has also appeared on, CPAC, and german broadcaster ZDF and spoken to groups such as the Canada School of Public Service and Elections Canada about women in politics, implicit bias, and civic engagement.
Amy and her husband have lived all over Canada but happily call Vancouver home. Her passion for practical ways to harness the diversity dividend, create economic inclusion, opportunity and prosperity for all inform everything she does.
Sage Berryman is the founder of the Prosperity Pollinator movement to help bring sustainable impact based companies into the areas that need them the most.
Sage’s executive experience has been directed towards leading companies up to and through large game changing corporate transactions (having lead multiple transactions of a total value around $4 billion). Sage serves on a number of boards, including Coast Opportunity Funds, Vancouver Island Technology Association (previously), Canadian Women in Technology and multiple corporate boards, and is an active mentor and advisor for numerous entrepreneurs and their businesses. Sage has also been recognized for her successes building prosperity through business with a number of awards including winning BC’s Top 40 under 40, BC’s Top Influential Women in Business Award, finalist for the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliances Peter Brojde Award for Canada’s next generation executive leadership and recognized by the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Association for the Innovative Excellence Award for business process.
Authentic success to Sage is the identification of the right opportunities teamed with the right people to build sustainable companies supporting growth-based economies.
Patrick is a member of the Leq:amel First Nation (Sto:lo Nation.) He is Board Chair & CEO of Coastal First Nations. He was Advisor and Director of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. In September 2012 he completed a 5-year term as Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of BC. Patrick co-chairs the Banff Centre Indigenous Program Council and is a member of the UVic Gustavson School of Business International Advisory Board and the UBC Sauder School of Business Ch’nook Indigenous Business
Advisory Board. Patrick is President of BC Golf and chairs the Board of the Victoria Foundation. He was appointed to the BC Provincial Judicial Council in November 2016.
From September 2010 – Feb 2012 he was Vice President, National Services, CESO. From March 2001-2007 he was BC Director, Strategic Planning and Communications, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. He was Manager, Cultural Relations and Corporate Training in BC Hydro’s Aboriginal Relations Department from April 1993 to December 1997. Prior to that, he was Executive Director of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
From July 2002 to June 2010, the Attorney General for British Columbia appointed Patrick as a Bencher for the Law Society of BC, to represent the public interest in the administration of justice. In December 2016 Patrick completed a six year term as Governor, Law Foundation of BC. In March 2009, Patrick received a BC Community Achievement Award. Patrick is founding President of the BC Aboriginal Golf Association established in April 2009.
Nicole Robertson is a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation. The media mogul has dedicated her life to creating awareness about Indigenous Peoples through the press for the past twenty-five years. Nicole’s career has taken her across North America and the United Kingdom, writing, directing, producing, and reporting on issues that encompass Indigenous communities.
Muskwa Productions & Consulting specializes in communication advisory services that include; media and public relations, media training, political and speech writing, social media, event and video productions, public speaking, facilitating, cross-cultural communications training and strategies.
Nicole Robertson served as a member on the First Nations Women’s Council on Economic Security through the Province of Alberta and was able to achieve several milestones with the very first team of Indigenous women to advise the Minister of Indigenous Relations. Nicole is now a Board Member with Travel Alberta, which is under the Culture and Tourism Ministry with the Province of Alberta. She recently
became a member of the advisory committee for YWCA Calgary.
Adviser (Business Development)
Bill Adsit is a member of the Tahltan Nation and was the President and CEO of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) from 2004 to September 2013. He continues to work as a Business Advisor for TNDC in Dease Lake and Vancouver. After serving 37 years with the Federal Government in the Canadian Military, Transport Canada, and Revenue Canada as an Income Tax Auditor and Aboriginal Business Canada in Internal Audit, Mr. Adsit retired in 2004. He has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Alberta. Mr. Adsit currently serves on BC Hydro’s Board until June 30, 2018.
David Isaac, also known as Wugadusk in his traditional name, is the President of W Dusk Energy Group. David is a Mi’kmaq originally from Listuguj, Quebec but was raised in Vancouver within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples. David is the President of the W Dusk Energy Group, which works with Indigenous communities to harness the power of their renewable energy resources in tandem withbroader community development initiatives like planning, food systems and infrastructure development. W Dusk are actively developing megawatt and community scale solar farms and is deploying emerging technologies like tidal power and block chain enabled energy storage systems. W Dusk completed two of BC’s largest community owned (distributed power) solar projects and are developing renewable powered greenhouses and water systems. The company has evolved it’s practice around the food-water-energy nexus. When David is not working, he can be found in nature and is an avid ocean yacht racer. Most recently, he joined the Cleantech Economic Strategy Table for the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Wilfred Jimmy is a registered member of the Thunderchild First Nation located in Saskatchewan, he is proud of his heritage as a Plains Cree. Wilfred understands and speaks the Plains Cree language fluently, and respects his culture and traditions and has learned to balance life between his cultural in a non-Indigenous environment. Wilfred has business experience gaining this knowledge during his career in the financial industry in senior roles, during his career with CIBC he was the Manager of Aboriginal Banking for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. At this time Wilfred gained the valuable knowledge of how to navigate between Indigenous culture and the corporate culture. Wilfred’s belief is that the two cultures can enhance each other and create opportunities for the Indigenous people that will allow equal participation in the world of business.
Hannes Edinger is the director of Big River Analytics Ltd., based in Terrace, British Columbia. Hannes is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and he founded Big River Analytics Ltd. in 2011 with the objective of providing statistical and analytical capacity to benefit Indigenous communities and governments across Canada. Hannes and his team have since served all levels of government in Canada and they continue to provide analytical capacity to local, regional, provincial, and federal Indigenous organizations in Canada. Hannes has 10 years of experience working in Canada in both public and private organizations. His experience includes the management of research teams and conducting research on projects related to the economic impacts of Indigenous industries and businesses, program delivery evaluations, and Indigenous labour markets.
Hannes’ work has always had a data driven focus. In the past several years, he has managed projects with significant primary data collection requirements. In response to these requirements, Hannes developed community-level strategies and custom online solutions for the collection and analysis of primary data. Hannes has successfully made available some of the critical tools of national-level statistical agencies to municipalities and First Nations communities. Most recently, Hannes has been engaged with federal departments on developing budgets and allocation models related to Aboriginal Labour Market Programming in Canada, estimating the economic impact of the Inuit arts economy in Canada, and conducting economic impact assessments at the project, community, and national level. Hannes’ passion for data driven projects began in his undergraduate training at UBC with a major in economics, and minors in mathematics and statistics.
Clint Davis is the CEO of North35 Capital Partners, a business and capital advisory firm that works with Indigenous governments and economic development corporations to achieve growth by maximizing of their inherent competitive advantage. Prior to the creation of this company, Clint was the Vice President of Indigenous Banking at TD.
Clint, who is Inuit from Labrador, is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies, which is the economic arm of Nunatsiavut Government, a self-governing entity that represents the political, social and economic interests of the Inuit of Labrador. Under Clint’s leadership, NGC has grown to owning and partnering in fourteen operating companies with general revenue of over $50 million annually.
Clint has a diverse professional background. He began his career as a lawyer in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, but later entered public service at the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Upon leaving government, he moved to BMO where he worked as the National Director for Aboriginal Banking, then later joined the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, a chamber of commerce for Indigenous business, as President and CEO.
In 2016, Clint received the Indspire Award for Business and Commerce which represents the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its achievers. He was also recognized by his alma mater Acadia University as a Distinguished Alumni. He is on the Board of Directors for Indspire and is the Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee for the creation of the Labrador Wellness Centre in his hometown of Goose Bay. He recently served on the Interim Board of Directors of the National Council for Reconciliation, a Federal Cabinet appointment. The Interim Board provided the Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs with a report of recommendations on how to establish the National Council permanently.
Clint has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University, a Bachelors of Laws from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He is a Canada-U.S. Fulbright scholar and the recipient of multiple scholarships including two awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (now Indspire) as well as the Fred C. Manning Entrance Scholarship at Acadia University.
Clint lives in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Rockcliffe with his wife Hillary Thatcher and their three children.
Dr. Roshan Danesh
Roshan is a lawyer, conflict resolution innovator, and educator whose areas of work, teaching, and writing include constitutional law, Indigenous rights, international peace-building, and leadership and organizational change.
Roshan completed his S.J.D at Harvard Law School and LL.B at the University of Victoria, and has taught at many academic institutions around the world including the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, European Peace University (Austria), the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and Landegg International University (Switzerland).
For the last 15 years Roshan has worked extensively on advancing Aboriginal title and rights and reconciliation, including as legal counsel to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, and numerous Indigenous nations across the country. Concurrently, he has also advised governments and organizations around the world, including the United Nations, in the areas of peace-building, human rights, proactive conflict-resolution, organizational management and change, and leadership.
Roshan is one of the founders of Education for Peace, an international peace education and peace-building organization, which helped design and implement the post-war re-construction and re-integration of the education system of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Brenda Ireland, MA
Brenda is Principal of First Light Initiatives – an Indigenous firm providing reconciliation, social and economic development strategic advice and planning as well as community/industry engagement leadership and cultural competency training. First Light works with companies and organizations to develop reconciliation strategies and action plans based on cultural competency evaluation and gap analyses processes designed to increase Indigenous participation and inclusion in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.
For over 20 years, based on the premise that ‘history matters’, First Light has incorporated Indigenous methodologies and transformational learning approaches in its intercultural training workshops. Having prepared a wide range of reports on Indigenous issues in the social science, education and economic development fields, First Light also provides comprehensive research, policy development and report writing services.
Brenda established the First Nations Programs and Services department at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and has completed research projects on Indigenous education for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the Canadian Council on Learning.
Brenda is currently the Advisor, Indigenous Training and Employment for BC’s Workforce Development Working Group. In addition to working with the province, she is completing a research project with the Tahltan Central Government establishing foundational processes for reconciliation. Brenda and her associate, Dr. Paulette Regan, are currently engaged in a reconciliation strategic development initiative with the BC Building Trades Council. Brenda is Anishinaabe/Métis from Manitoba and holds a Masters’ degree in History (1994) from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Paulette Regan
Paulette – a Senior Associate of First Light Initiatives – is a scholar/practitioner who brings a decolonizing perspective and applied experience to the theory, ethics, practice, and process design of reconciliation in intercultural contexts. From 2007 to 2015, she worked for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and was the senior researcher and lead writer for the Reconciliation Volume of the TRC Final Report. Post-TRC, she has provided expertise and practical advice to various public commissions, inquiries and research centres in Canada and abroad.
Paulette speaks frequently about the TRC’s work at academic conferences and has forthcoming publications on the critical importance of implementing the Commission’s Calls to Action in ways that support Indigenous self-determination and non-Indigenous decolonization, responsibility and accountability.
As an associate, Paulette works with First Light Initiatives to design and deliver intercultural workshops which examine how the unresolved conflicts of Canada’s colonial history continue to impact relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples today. Workshop participants then explore strategies to promote reconciliation in their own lives, workplaces and communities.
Paulette is the author of Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada (UBC Press, 2010). The book was short-listed for the 2012 Canada Prize by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and is widely used by educators across the country. She holds a PhD in Indigenous Governance (2006) from the University of Victoria.
Jonathan is a member of Skownan First Nation and grew up in Mallard, a small Metis community in Central Manitoba. He is the youngest of seven siblings. His parents are both hard working individuals who have instilled a hard work ethic and moral values that have made him a well-respected member of the community. He attended the University of Winnipeg, where he completed Information and Communication Technology (ICT). He is committed to helping the community he serves. As a catalyst and leader to his people, he believes success could be shared and achieved by all. He is involved in the Indigenous Community in many different levels by improving the social, environment, education and health of Indigenous Peoples and Communities in Canada and around the world.
He is the Project Manager with Clear Sky Connections; his involvement in the study and eventual build of a Manitoba First Nations fiber optic network that will connect Manitoba First Nations with high speed internet. Formerly as Manager, Project Development for Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc. in Winnipeg, Manitoba, his involvement in projects like; World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF), Empowering Indigenous Youth in Governance and Leadership (EIYGL), Executive Training, and Information Technology programs. His experience in multimedia technology, world issues, just to name a few, has garnered him a reputation of excellence among peers. Also he volunteers for various community based organizations.
(B.A., BScF, MScFE) is an economic strategist specializing in measuring well-being and happiness of nations, communities and businesses. He holds two bachelor degrees in Economics and Forest Science and a Masters of Science in Forest Economics from the University of Alberta.
He is currently developing Well-being Impact analytic tools to support social impact value investment, workplace and community well-being assessments, community asset development strategies, and a new corporate model Mark calls the Well-being Corp.
He is the author of the best-selling book The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, which was released in China in 2010. He has developed the Genuine Wealth model, as a tool or governments and business to measure trust, relational capital and the well-being. Using conventional accounting and economic analysis tools with a well-being impact lens, Mark helps organizations measure the well-being returns on investment of what he calls the five-capital-assets of a business, community or nation.
Mark served 14 years as a senior economist and policy analyst with the Alberta Government. For over 25 years, Mark has served as an economic strategist and advisor to governments, business, non-profits, and financial institutions in Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Austria, China, Bhutan and French Polynesia. His intuitive analytic skills combines the best of economics, accounting and forest ecology into a new form of economic analysis that focuses on well-being impacts and well-being value investment. For 25 years he has dedicated his time in service to building a new economy based on well-being. Mark was a founding professor of corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship for graduate (MBA) students at the University of Alberta’s School of Business.
Shoyshqwelwet Francine Douglas
Stó:lō from Sts’ailes and Tsimpshian from Metlakatla, Francine values the cultural teachings that she has learned from her Sts’ailes family. Knowing who you are and where you come from is a deep-rooted teaching that she strives to follow in her daily life, as an entrepreneur and, as an Indigenous mother.
Francine has over ten years of business experience working within the Stó:lō territory. She is the owner of the Cheam Trading Post, which offers wild, local and fair trade products with strong indigenous cultural value. Along with her husband, she recently celebrated the opening of the Stó:lō Seafood Company, a salmon processing facility near the Harrison Bay in Scowlitz First Nation.
Francine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and anthropology from the University of British Columbia. Her education and experience has provided a strong foundation for the success of her own sole proprietorship, iStó:lō Media Solutions. Through this enterprise, Francine enjoys doing what she does best: working with others to realize their vision through marketing, communication, fundraising and event management.