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 Chief Clarence Louie

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO,  --- April 5, 2015  ----  The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce renowned speaker Chief Clarence Louie will be the Opening Keynote for the APEX Aboriginal Partnership Exchange, June 4th at the Victoria Inn.  
A lifelong student of Native American Studies,  Chief Louie, the Chief and CEO of Osoyoos Indian Band has been widely recognized in Canada, the United States and overseas. Clarence shares his experiences and best lessons learned to native people, government and corporate agencies across the U.S, Canada and Australia.

The Globe and Mail featured his story and said “Osoyoos Indian band is arguably the
most business minded Indian band in Canada.”. Chief Louie was listed as Maclean’s Magazine one of the “Top 50 Canadians to Watch” and has won numerous awards including: Order of British Columbia, Aboriginal Tourism B.C. “ Inspirational Leadership Award” , Aboriginal Achievement Foundation award for “Business and Community Development” - the highest honor the Aboriginal Community bestows upon its own achievers.

The APEX event is designed to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal businesses to form alliances and partnerships and expand their networks for economic and business growth.  Along with opening keynote speaker Chief Louie, there will be educational sessions, exhibits and networking. The Thunder Bay Chamber is partnering   with Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund in this event.

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund


9:00am Opening Ceremonies


9:30am Morning Keynote
A Pathway to Prosperity…

Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band Read Bio
Widely recognized as a one of North America’s most prominent Aboriginal business leaders, Chief Louie shares his insight how social-economic development is a pre-requisite for First Nations self-reliance and will facilitate a return to Aboriginal working culture. Chief Louie draws on his experience as Chief and Chairperson of the Osoyoos Indian Band and how those experiences relate to development in Northern Ontario.

A Success Story: Powering Change in Northwestern Ontario

Byron LeClair, Director of Energy Projects – Pic River First Nation Read Bio
Since 1991, Pic River First Nation has engaged private sector industry and partners to develop multiple energy projects as a means to provide own-source revenue streams for their community. As team lead for energy projects in the community, Mr. LeClair shares the success and benefits that have resulted from these projects and the importance of effective partnering in promoting community development.

10:30am Networking Coffee Break


11:00am General Session
Establishing the Economic Landscape for Northwestern Ontario

Doug Murray, CEO – Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission Read Bio
Brian Davey, Executive Director – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Read Bio
Northwestern Ontario is rich with abundant natural resources driving Forestry, Mining, Energy, and Tourism Sectors to name a few. Serving as a regional hub to Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay’s economy is further enhanced by the demand of essential supplies and services required by outlying communities. Mr. Murray and Mr. Davey will guide us through an overview of the regional economic opportunities and challenges that we must overcome to promote a healthier, more vibrant Northwestern Ontario.

12:00pm Luncheon Keynote
Successfully Engaging our First Nations Partners

Calvin Helin – Bestselling, multi-award winning author, speaker, entrepreneur and lawyer Read Bio
Author of seven-times bestseller, Dances with Dependency, Calvin Helin shares his thoughts on engaging First Nations affected by resource based projects to obtain meaningful consent and engagement. A leader in the Eagle Spirit Energy Project in Northern BC, Mr. Helin proposes alternatives to engagement of First Nations affected by proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan Pipeline Projects and draws correlations to similar resource development opportunities in Northern Ontario.

1:00pm Concurrent Session 1
Digging Deeper: Understanding the Cultural, Social, and Economic Impacts of First Nations Business

David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO – Matawa First Nations Read Bio
Brian Davey, Executive Director – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Read Bio
Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux – Vice-Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives, Lakehead University Read Bio
A 2013 survey of 12 Nishawbe Aski Nation communities estimated that First Nations communities contribute over $52 Million annually to Thunder Bay’s economy. Many of these communities face unique challenges as a result of their remote locations, but are faced with even greater economic opportunities as the result of their close proximity to potential resource projects. Our panel will discuss the cultural, social, and economic impacts that must be considered and included when engaging First Nations customers and business partners.

Concurrent Session 2
Aboriginal Solutions to the Workforce, Education, and Training Needs of the Future

Glenn Nolan – Vice President, Aboriginal Affairs – Noront Resources Inc. Read Bio
Don Bernosky – Vice President, Regional Workforce Development – Confederation College Read Bio
John DiGiacomo Executive Director – Anishinabek Employment Training and Services Read Bio
The growing demand for skilled labour in virtually all sectors in Ontario is expected to continue to rise in the next 15 to 20 years. The Aboriginal youth population is growing four times faster than any other demographic in Canada. Our panel examines the continuum from education to workforce, and answers questions how partners can better engage the Aboriginal population as a solution to workforce needs.

2:00pm Networking Break


2:30pm Concurrent Session 3
“The Business” of Aboriginal Business: Finance, Legal, and Accounting Considerations

Ted Scollie, Partner, Lawyer – Erickson & Partners Read Bio
Jason Williams, Senior Tax Manager – BDO Canada, Thunder Bay
Herb Zobell, Regional Director, Aboriginal Markets – RBC Royal Bank
Moderator: Ted Davis – BDO Canada, Thunder Bay
Our panel of business experts take us through the considerations to factor in decision making when structuring new partnerships and business involving Aboriginal partners. Topics include legal structures, accounting considerations, governance policies, and access to financing.

2:30pm Concurrent Session 4
Emerging Leaders

Kateri Skaarup, Chief Operating Officer – Skaarup Construction
Derek Fox, Lawyer – Erickson + Partners
Tony McGuire, President & Director – Theymedia

A panel of young professionals and entrepreneurs to share their inspiration and motivation to success and the value of mentoring and networking.


3:30pm Reflections
4:00pm Networking Reception

Very limited exhibit space is available; to register for a booth or as a day participant or call 807-624-2621.


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