Financial Literacy Working Group for Indigenous Peoples – Member biographies

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Simon Brascoupé

VP, Education and Training, AFOA Canada 

Simon Brascoupé, Anishinabeg/Haudenosaunee – Bear Clan is a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Maniwaki, Quebec. Brascoupé is now Vice President of Education and Training, AFOA Canada. Previously Brascoupé was Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal Health Organization; Director, Primary Health Care Division, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada; and Director, Aboriginal Affairs Branch, Environment Canada. He has written and worked in the field of Indigenous knowledge, financial literacy and is on Trent University’s Ph.D. Indigenous Knowledge Council. Brascoupé is an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. He has a B.A. and M.A. from State University of New York at Buffalo and obtained his Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) designation in 2014. In 2013 he wrote, Literature Review of Indigenous Financial Literacy in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. 

Marcie Chase

Director of Finance, National Association of Friendship Centres 

Gilbert Dion

Manager, Business Development Services, SEED Winnipeg

Prior to taking on the position of Manager, Business Development Services at SEED Winnipeg in 2016, Gilbert served on SEED’s Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014, with the last three years as Chairperson. We was also an originating Board member of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, the first in Canada, and served two terms. Gilbert brings with him a strong background in financial analysis and business plan preparations, as well as proven skills in the delivery of small business start-up workshops and seminars. He achieved his CMA and owned a public accounting practice for 15 years. His passions include Community Economic Development and poverty reduction in inner city communities.

Claudia Gongora Boles              

Director of Finance, National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association

Lynne Groulx

Executive Director, Native Women's Association of Canada

Lynne Groulx is the Executive Director for the Native Women’s Association of Canada.  Lynne’s passion and expertise regarding Indigenous women’s rights, gender equality, human rights, economic development and Indigenous expertise has made her a highly sought after keynote speaker and leader. Lynne’s has a background in both civil and common law with a specialization in Corporate Law, Social Justice and Indigenous Legal Traditions and customary laws.  In spite of being actively engaged to administer a National organization and her ongoing contributions to advocacy work, Lynne is working towards a Masters of Laws Degree with a focus on Access to Human Rights Issues for Indigenous People.

The results of her intensive and dedicated focus on righteous endeavours for the empowerment of women is evidenced in her achievements.  This includes successes in restructuring corporate operations, development of a gender integration framework for federal and international levels, developed a national policy position on the use of solitary confinement for women prisoners, high level negotiations with key Government agencies, development of a template policy on sexual harassment, strategic core funding development, deficit elimination, commercial property development and countless other business and commercial initiatives.

Lynne Groulx is a paradigm of resolute leadership expressing the full capacity of her knowledge to ensure justice and equality for Indigenous women.  Through her visionary efforts, she has embossed the unmistakeable value and power of the many nations of Indigenous women. 

Darren Hill

President & CEO, Junior Achievement Saskatchewan

Darren Hill is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement of Saskatchewan (JA), where he is able to help encourage young minds to pursue interests in the areas of entrepreneurship and business as well as develop life, leadership, and financial literacy skills.

In addition, Darren has been a member of Saskatoon City Council since 2006 and has played a key role in the growth and development of the City. Darren also sits on many boards and committees, including the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, Police Pension Plan Board of Trustees, Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association Board of Directors, and Federation of Canadian Municipalities Board of Directors.

Previous to his appointments to JA and City Council, Darren had 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, marketing manager, and advertising executive in the tourism and communications sectors. As an entrepreneur, Darren established an expediting service to tourist destinations in northern Saskatchewan. The company continues to be successful, employing full-time staff during the fishing season. 

Dr. Carlana Lindeman

Education Program Director, Martin Family Initiative

Carlana began her career in education as a teacher and principal with the Lakehead Board of Education. She joined the Ontario Ministry of Education (EDU); for 18 years she worked with provincially-funded school boards, and First Nation schools and organizations, to improve student achievement. 

In July 2008, Carlana became the Education Program Director for the Martin Family Initiative, where she supports various strategies and activities related to Indigenous students across Canada. 

She received her BA, BEd, and MEd from Lakehead University, and her EdD from OISE/UT. Carlana served on the Ontario Special Education (English) Tribunal from 2008 to 2014, and was a member of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s National Selection Committee for the First Nations Student Success Program (FNSSP) for four years.

In 2009, Carlana was awarded the Sandra D. Lang Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ontario Government for the depth and quality of service she provided to students, families and communities across Ontario. In 2015, she received an Alumni Award from Lakehead University.

Natasha McKenna

Program Officer, Prosper Canada 

Natasha McKenna is a Program Officer at Prosper Canada, a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. 

At Prosper Canada she is responsible for developing partnerships and implementing initiatives that foster Financial Wellness in First Nations communities and Indigenous organizations. Natasha has also served as a financial literacy trainer. She has over 10 years of experience in financial literacy and working with Indigenous communities.  She has trained hundreds of staff from non-profits and communities across Canada to deliver financial education that meets the needs and goals of the people they serve.

Natasha is passionate about community driven solutions. She has a Masters of Education in Adult Education and Community Development from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Prince Edward Island. 

She is of Scottish, Irish and mixed European heritage and originally from Prince Edward Island.

Mack Rogers

Executive Director, ABC Life Literacy

Mack Rogers is the Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. He works with a remarkable team of educators, programmers, and communicators to develop and share literacy programs with communities across Canada. Mack is a collaborator first, both with his team at ABC and with our larger communities of learners and educators. He has worked in the financial literacy sector for over eight years and is proud of the impact ABC and the sector has had in supporting Canadians to develop new skills and increase confidence in managing their money. Mack has developed educational programs for adults and children for over 15 years, with the last eight years at ABC.

Talya Rotem

Program Director, SmartSAVER

Talya Rotem is the Program Director at SmartSAVER, a non-profit that helps low- and modest-income families access federal government incentives for their children’s post secondary future, to improve their education outcomes, build assets early, and increase social mobility. She has worked for over 20 years in various non-profits empowering individuals to access post-secondary education, leadership, or health and wellness opportunities. She holds an M.A. in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As a blogger for Feeding Nunavut, Talya spent two years raising awareness among Southerners about food insecurity in many Northern Inuit communities. In recognition of her being a European Settler, and her Israeli roots, Talya lives by the “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world) philosophy to address reconciliation, equity, and access for Indigenous communities. She is working on a personal art project to raise awareness and support among Canadian Jewry for Indigenous rights in Canada. 

Kelly Stone 

President & CEO, Families Canada

**Rotiskennenketi - She Who Carries the Burden of Peace

As President and CEO of Families Canada, Kelly supports members who work with half a million mostly vulnerable families in some 2300 communities. During her long Government of Canada career, Kelly had responsibility for research and public policy on child and youth issues as well as related national programs that still touch thousands of communities. She also completed an Executive Interchange with the Child Welfare League of Canada focusing in on mental health, fostering, and effective government/not for profit partnerships. Kelly’s extensive international experience has centered on advancing human rights-based legislative frameworks, public policy and programs leading to practical implementation strategies in areas of identity, culture, health, education, and child trafficking beyond Canada’s borders.

**Mohawk name bestowed in 2005 by Elijah Harper, former Member of the Manitoba Legislature, Chief, and human rights activist, in recognition of work on behalf of indigenous children.

Doretta Thompson

Director, Corporate Citizenship, CPA Canada

Doretta Thompson is responsible for CPA Canada’s social responsibility initiatives, including CPA Canada’s international award winning Financial Literacy program, programs that support financial literacy and financial capacity building in indigenous communities, and newcomer credential recognition and labour market integration.  She is a member of FCAC’s Working Groups on Workplace Financial Literacy and Indigenous Financial Literacy, and the Conference Board of Canada’s Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration, the Immigration Policy Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation.  She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her voluntary work in the health sector. 

Brent Tookenay

CEO, Seven Generations Education Institute

A Couchiching First Nation member, Brent Tookenay has been the Chief Executive Officer for Seven Generations Education Institute for the past 3 years.  Brent also worked for the Rainy River District School Board as the Superintendent responsible for Indigenous Education for 8 years.  As CEO of Seven Generations Education Institute, Brent is responsible for providing education and training programs for the people of the Treaty #3 area.  Brent has spent his entire career working and supporting the First Nation communities of Treaty #3 in all areas and levels of education.

Paulette Tremblay

CEO, Assembly of First Nations

Dr. Tremblay is Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario.   As the Chief Executive Officer of the Assembly of First Nations,  Dr. Tremblay is pleased and honoured to play a strong advocacy role for First Nations in Canada in this time of reconciliation and change.  Having worked as the Senior Executive Officer for the Band Administration in her home community of Six Nations and as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, she brings first hand knowledge and experience in leading First Nations at the local and national levels.  Dr. Tremblay was responsible for the certification programs for Finance (CAFM) and Administration (CAPA) and was actively engaged in research and program development in her role as Vice President with AFOA Canada. She was the former Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Purdy Crawford Chair for Aboriginal Business at Cape Breton University, NS, and is currently an Associate Professor for the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Tremblay received the Indspire Award for Education in 2015.  And on the home front, she takes special delight in the teaching and learning activities that are undertaken on a regular basis with her seven year old granddaughter Alexis.

Suzanne Trottier

Director, Capacity Development & Intervention, First Nations Financial Management Board

Suzanne Trottier is a member of the Métis Nation of Manitoba. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from the University of Western Ontario. Suzanne is the Director of Capacity Development and Intervention with the First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB). Along with her team, she provides capacity development support to First Nation governments seeking to become Financial Management System Certified with the FMB. Prior to her current role, she was a Partner at BASE Partners who provide advisory support to First Nations pursuing economic and social development initiatives; the Quebec Regional Coordinator of Financing and Restructuring with the First Nations Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada; and Vice-President in Corporate Finance with Ernst & Young (EY) in their Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg offices.

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