From a very young age, I have had an interest in aviation of all kinds! I always hoped to take flying lessons as my family has always been involved in aviation, as well as owning their own aircraft for pleasure use. When my brother became a pilot I flew with him every chance I got, always planning on taking lessons myself. As it takes such dedication to become a pilot I found that before I could realize my dream of becoming a pilot, life took me in another direction and soon found myself taking flight on the ice as a professional figure skater.
In 2012 I started working in aviation with Northcoast Helicopter. After 9 years I made the huge leap into ownership as a controlling partner. Today I work on securing government contracts, attending aviation trade shows, developing partnerships and joint ventures with First Nations communities all across Canada.
I have over 20 years of experience with aboriginal community relations, and working with government entities. Our goal at Northcoast helicopter is to employ First Nations and women pilots all across Canada to work at and fly with us.
I also have two real estate companies, and a real investment company, however, my main focus is our aviation company and helping to develop and grow across Canada at the same time having meaningful relationships with First Nations communities.
What is matriarchy to you?
Women helping each other with advice and wisdom and supporting each other. When I was first starting my career, I wanted to learn as much as I could about starting a business, and I really didn't know anything because I had not had the experiences in life because of my age to know what to do to start a business, this is when I started looking for a mentor. My path crossed with another Indigenous woman Dorothy Grant!! She has her own business and was a famous fashion designer, and I wanted to be her!! So I asked if I could work with her and learn as much as possible from her. I was her sponge, just absorbing it all in. The knowledge and the wisdom she gave me was priceless, and I have carried her advice with me for all of these years.
How did you get to where you are? What is your foundation?
My foundation was always getting out there!! What I mean by getting out there is, don't sit at home behind your computer, get out and talk with people and have real discussions with people daily. Today we have social media, which I need to spend more time working on as it's a must today, except don't forget human contact and word of mouth goes a long way. Going to conferences, meeting with people, and building strong relationships with your vendors and your consumers is vital to growing your business!!
Who or what is/was your inspiration?
I have a lot of inspiration!! Any Indigenous woman entrepreneur or anyone who steps out of their comfort zone quits their job and starts a business!! Starting a company is the most rewarding and scariest thing you might do in your lifetime, and you might fail the first time. I have failed multiple times, and I have learned from all of my failures. However, I would not be as successful as I am today without those failures. My inspiration today is my 8-year-old son. He has started his own business at age 6! He started a lawn mowing business and cat sitting service. He has been very successful in the past few years, and I am very proud of him. He has identified what he loves to do at a young age and applied it to starting his own business. It's very important to do what you love, and I wish I knew what I loved to do at a young age and had started my own business. He is my inspiration every day!!
What words of wisdom do you have for your sector/industry?
Don't be afraid to fail. You can only learn from your failures which will lead to success. Talk with people and find a mentor; this is key!! We all need advice, and even if it's not the correct advice, it will lead you to the answers you are looking for. Please don't be ashamed to ask for help; we all need help. Find the strengths in people and utilize those strengths to help grow your business.
What is your vision for the next generation?
My vision for the next generation is deeper connections with people, face-to-face interactions and conversations with each other.
What words of wisdom do you have for the next generations?
I would like to see our future generations have a more personal and deeper connection with people. I would like to see people really connect and not be distracted by our devices. We are not really listening to each other anymore, and we are always thinking about what is happening in the next few hours and not focusing on the now and the present time!! This is definitely a personal goal for myself. If we have a deeper connection to the present time, we can be more productive and innovative and build more successful and meaningful companies in the future!!
Women in Leadership has been awarded a contract with the Government of Canada, for a project called "The Indigenous Leadership Circle", which is a continuation of the work that the foundation has done over the last 20-years of engaging with the Indigenous communities on Women's Leadership.
The Indigenous Leadership Circle Team will be conducting research aimed at Professional Indigenous Women, Indigenous Women in the Education System and Employer & Industry Stakeholders and value your input through a series of surveys and round-table meetings. The results from the findings through these surveys and meetings will be showcased at our Indigenous Leadership Virtual Forum, which will be held on March 8, 2022. Stay tuned for more details!
If you are interested in participating, we would value your input. Our surveys for each target category can be found here below:
To learn more about the Indigenous Leadership Circle, please go HERE.