Workforce Forward 2024 | CALGARY

Having been a cornerstone event in our calendar since our inception, this gathering consistently brings together the strong community of professionals passionate about inclusion, uniting individuals who return each year to grow their network and further their knowledge on Indigenous workforce development.

View the recently revealed agenda to learn more:

In Association with:

New in 2024: Two Events for the Price of One

This year we are partnering with Forward Summit to connect the most prominent thought-leaders in business, entrepreneurship, and policy change-making. Workforce Forward has a dedicated Day 2 track as part of the summit, promising to deliver the latest expertise in Indigenous hiring, retention, and engagement in the workplace.

Experience Workforce Forward & Forward Summit by registering today:

Our Visionary Speakers:

(More Coming soon...)

Our visionary speakers represent some of the best in the business and are here to inspire, motivate and empower your organization to action.

Deborah Green

Senior Specialist Advisor, Indigenous Workforce Development
Suncor Energy

Tanya Rexin

Indigenous Relations Manager
ATCO Frontec

Sheryl-Ann Carscadden

Founder and Owner
Sundance Source Consulting

Don Ross

CEO
George Gordon Developments Ltd.

Christy Morgan

Reconciliation Strategy Manager
TELUS

Lisa San Filippo

Provincial Secretary, Economic Development & Tourism
Otipemisiwak Métis Government

Michelle Fournie

Sr. Consultant – Decolonization and Reciprocal Relations
Rise Consulting

Dennis Kirkness

Council Member
Tataskweyak Cree Nation

Jorge Avilés

Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
AiM Land Services

Deanna Burgart

Associate Professor
Schulich School of Engineering

Buddie Dixon

Indigenous Engagement Liaison, Disaster and Emergency Management
ATCO Frontec

Leona Bird

Auntie in Residence
Jansen Discovery Lodge

Monika Wilson

Vice President, Investments
Fort McKay Landing

Anne Harding

Owner
Forum Community Relations

Cristi Adams

Executive Director and CEO
Indian Oil and Gas Canada

Doreen Bergum

Metis Elder/Knowledge Keeper 3
Metis Nation of Alberta Region

Alita Murowchuk

Indigenous Community Engagement Advisor Canada
AECOM

Heather Wolf Ear

Indigenous Recruiting Lead
Soogadin

Rod Miller

Partner
deVille Partners

Miranda Beaton

Senior HR Advisor & Special Projects
Fort McKay First Nation Inc.

Sarah Jacknife

Co-Founder
(Re)rooting Indigenous Leadership Inc.

Robert Doane

Senior Director
CBC/Radio-Canada Indigenous

Mindy Henyu

Senior Manager, Indigenous Relations
Aecon Group Inc.

Gregory John

President and Leading Executive Officer (LEO)
Unimaize Technologies Inc.

Leah Bartko

Senior Manager, Partnerships and Events
First Nations Technology Council

Chelsie Klassen

Global Director of Community Engagement and Social Performance
Hatch

Patrick Twinn

Director, Indigenous Relations
ATB Financial

Don McIntyre

Assistant Professor, Dhillon School of Business
University of Lethbridge 

Inez Ashworth

Founder & Lead Strategist
Inclusive Concepts Inc.

Donovan Praymayer

Engineering Student
Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary

Mickey Macdonald

Engineering Student
Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary

Jeremy Thompson

President
Eagle Spirit Business Development

Cori Maedel

Partner
MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)

Nievelina Carmona

HR Consultant
MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)

Ioana Giurca

CEO
CPHR Alberta

2024 Conference Agenda:

Our content is guided and put together with the guidance of over twenty experts, community leaders, and passionate individuals. Have a look at the important discussions happening at Workforce Forward | CALGARY 2024:

Please note, sessions below in green are part of Forward Summit and thematically focus on the concept of Indigenous Economic Reconciliation. However, as a participant of Workforce Forward, attendees are able to participate in any of the sessions below.

Welcome Address

Speakers:

Ioana Giurca, CEO, CPHR Alberta

Keynote Speech: From DEI to Belonging: The Quest for True Inclusion

Speakers:

Rod Miller, Partner, deVille Partners

“Nothing About us Without us”: Drawing Strength from Diversity

Sponsor:
Speakers:

Moderator: Michelle Fournie, Founder, Sacred Four Communications
Deborah Green, National Specialist, Indigenous Workforce Development, Suncor Energy
Jeremy Thompson, President, Eagle Spirit Business Development
Robert Doane, 
Senior Director, CBC/Radio-Canada Indigenous
Patrick Twinn, Director, Indigenous Relations, ATB Financial

Morning Coffee & Networking

Bridging the Equity Gap: How to Structure Joint Ventures & Major Projects

Presented by:

Speakers:

Billie Fortier, Partner, MLT Aikins
Monika Wilson, Vice President, Investments, Fort McKay Landing
Sandy Jackson, Business Development Manager, Pimee Well Services
Reg Potts, Indigenous Business Consultant,
Reg Potts & Associates
Mark Little, CEO & Co-Founder, Jotson Inc.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion by Redefining Professionalism in the Workplace

Speakers:

Deanna Burgart, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Engineering
Cristi Adams, Executive Director & CEO, Indian Oil and Gas Canada, Indigenous Services Canada
Donovan Praymayer, Engineering Student
Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary

Mickey Macdonald Engineering Student
Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement & Unconscious Bias

sponsor:

Speakers:

Jorge Avilés, Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations, AiM Land Services
Sheryl-Ann Carscadden, Founder and Owner, Sundance Source Consulting

Buddie Dixon, Indigenous Engagement Liaison, Disaster and Emergency Management Partnering 4 Resilience, ATCO Frontec

Crafting Indigenous Reconciliation Strategies

sponsor:

Speakers:

Christy Morgan, Reconciliation Strategy Manager, TELUS
Lisa San Filippo, Citizens’ Representative for Rocky View Métis District 4, Otipemisiwak Métis Government
Anne Harding, Owner at Forum Community Relations, Inc.
Nievelina Carmona, HR Consultant, MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)

Indigenous Technological Empowerment

Speakers:

Moderator:Dennis Kirkness, Council Member, Tataskweyak Cree Nation
Sarah Jacknife, Co-Founder, (Re)rooting Indigenous Leadership Inc.
Gregory John, President and Leading Executive Officer (LEO), Unimaize Technologies Inc.
Leah Bartko, Senior Manager, Partnerships and Events, First Nations Technology Council

Networking Lunch

sponsor:

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

Presented by:

sponsor:

Speakers:

Moderator: Chelsie Klassen, Global Director of Community Engagement and Social Performance, Hatch
Annmarie Garbie, National Practice Leader, Indigenous Services, BFL Canada
Travis Meguinis, Commander & Chief Red Nation Oil & Gas & Natural Law Energy
Cliffton Cross, Council Member, Frog Lake First Nation
Chana Martineau, CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC)

Afternoon Coffee and Networking

Fueling a New Economy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Power

Presented by:

Speakers:

Moderator:Mindy HenyuSenior Manager, Indigenous Relations, Aecon Group Inc.
Guy Lonechild, Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Power Authority
Clayton Heck, C.E.T.Senior Project Manager, Arrowhead Abandonments Inc.
Kennedy Bear Robe,Partner, Gowling WLG

Food Sovereignty & Agriculture: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Presented by:

sponsor:

Speakers:

Elizabeth Romo-Rabago, Co-Founder, Ciclomanias
Kevin Van Lagen, Rural Development and Education Consultant, BDO Canada
Chief Don Smoke, Chief, Dakota Plains Wahpeton Oyate
Garett Strawberry, Economics Development Manager, O’Chiese First Nation
Taylor Behn-Tzakoza, Community Liaison and Research Coordinator, Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal

Indigenous and Industry Partnerships: Creating Economic and Employment Opportunities

sponsor:

Speakers:

Moderator: Jorge Avilés, Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations, AiM Land Services
Tanya Rexin, ATCO Frontec, Indigenous Relations Manager, ATCO Frontec
Don Ross, CEO, George Gordon Developments
Leona Bird, Auntie in Residence, Jansen Discovery Lodge

Business Collaboration: Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Strategies

sponsor:

Speakers:

Business Collaboration:(Employment Strategies– Recruitment, Retention, Mentoring and developing Indigenous Talent)
Cori Maedel, Partner, MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)
Miranda Beaton, MBA, Senior HR Advisor & Special Projects, Fort McKay First Nation
Heather Wolf Ear, Indigenous Recruiting Lead, Soogadin

Allyship and Antiracism Training:

Speakers:

Allyship and Antiracism Training:
Allyship and antiracism training focused on Indigenous ways of thinking is an important step
towards fostering understanding, respect, and collaboration between Indigenous communities
and the broader society.

Moderator: Inez Ashworth, Founder & Lead Strategist, Inclusive Concepts Inc.
Don McIntyre, Dhillon School of Business , University of Lethbridge
Alita Murowchuk, Lead Indigenous Group and Reconciliation Activator, Canada, AECOM

Meet Last Year's Speakers!

Lawyers, HR executives, Indigenous thought-leaders and entrepreneurs… you name it!
Our visionary speakers represent some of the best in the business and are here to
inspire, motivate and empower your organization to action!

Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming & Research)
University of Alberta
National Director, Indigenous Relations
SNC-LAVALIN
Founder & Principal
Channer Consulting & Training
President
Imagination Group of Companies
Manager, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
ATCO Gas
Director of Reconciliation, Inclusion and Strategy
Rise Consulting
Founder & CEO
Jouta Performance Group
Director of Engagement
Pipikwanpehtakwan
Senior Manager, Indigenous Community Engagement
Rogers Communications
Senior Manager, Inclusion and Diversity
Rogers Communications
Founder/Consultant
Inclusive Concepts Inc
Lead Executive
Unimaize Technologies and Four Peaks Business Development
President
Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc
Executive Director
Pride at Work Canada
Senior Specialist Advisor, Indigenous Workforce Development
Suncor Energy
General Manager of Administrative Services; HR & HSEQ
ACDEN Holdings
Inclusion Specialist
Inclusive Concepts Inc
Senior Manager Indigenous Relations
ATB Financial
Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Gowling WLG

Expand Your Knowledge & Expertise, & Advance Your Career

CPHR Alberta joined Workforce Forward to provide their members with CPD’s while building essential skills for embracing allyship and creating Indigenous inclusive workplaces.

CPD Hours

Attending Workforce Forward qualifies for continuing professional development hours.

Preferential Pricing

Take advantage of your membership with preferential
pricing. CPHR Alberta members receive a $100 discount.

Certificate of Participation

Once the conference is all wrapped up, participants receive a Certificate of Participation to share with their networks.

The Venue:

The Grey Eagle Resort & Casino Event Centre is conveniently located on the west-central side of Calgary on the beautiful Tsuut’ina Nation and serves as a doorstep to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Their beautiful, modern 4 Star Resort Hotel offers first-class services and amenities.​

Become a Partner

This year we’re giving our partners the opportunity to expose themselves to the Indigenous Inclusion Community more than ever. Get your brand recognized by HR professionals, managers, and business leader, both Indigenous and non-indigenous!

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Blessings & Welcome Addresses

Opening Blessings & Welcome Addresses

8:30AM – 8:45AM

Honouring the Land:

The conference will commence with the opening blessings from local Indigenous leaders in recognition of their land.

Doreen Bergum

Metis Elder/Knowledge Keeper 3
Metis Nation of Alberta Region

Keynote

Keynote Speech

8:45AM – 9:00AM

Session Description:

We will have the opportunity to hear some gracious and motivational remarks that will set the tone and inspire us for the upcoming experience that is the two days at Forward Summit |WEST 2024!

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Panel Discussion

“Nothing About us Without us”: Drawing Strength from Diversity

9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

The process of de-colonizing spaces and policies requires a deep commitment, ongoing education, and collaborative efforts with Indigenous communities. This panel dives into key points and models related to adopting and implementing principles of Reconciliation and fostering a culture of inclusion. 

Michelle Fournie

Sr. Consultant – Decolonization and Reciprocal Relations
Rise Consulting

Deborah Green

Senior Specialist Advisor, Indigenous Workforce Development
Suncor Energy

Jeremy Thompson

Indigenous Relations
Iconic Power Systems

Robert Doane

Senior Director
CBC/Radio-Canada Indigenous

Patrick Twinn

Director, Indigenous Relations
ATB Financial

Roundtable

Bridging the Equity Gap: How to Structure Joint Ventures & Major Projects

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Bridging the equity gap in joint ventures and major projects involving Indigenous communities requires a thoughtful and inclusive approach. successful collaboration with Indigenous communities requires a commitment to building relationships based on trust, respect, and shared benefits. Engaging in open and transparent communication, valuing Indigenous perspectives, and adapting project structures to accommodate diverse needs. 

Billie Fortier

Partner
MLT Aikins

Monika Wilson

Vice President, Investments
Fort McKay Landing

Sandy Jackson

Business Development Manager
Pimee Well Services

Reg Potts

Indigenous Business Consultant
Reg Potts & Associates

Mark Little

CEO & Co-Founder
Jotson

Roundtable

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion by Redefining Professionalism in the Workplace

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Redefining professionalism in the workplace, particularly through the lens of equity and cultural safety, is crucial for fostering inclusive environments where all employees feel valued and respected. Here are some key points this engaging session addresses: cultural competency training, microaggressions, flexible work policies, psychological safety, leadership accountability, and measuring progress.

Deanna Burgart

Associate Professor (Teaching), Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Teaching Chair, Weaving Indigenous Knowledge and Perspectives in Engineering,
Schulich School of Engineering

Cristi Adams

Executive Director & CEO, Indian Oil and Gas Canada
Indigenous Services Canada

Roundtable

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement & Unconscious Bias

9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

Addressing unconscious bias in Indigenous engagement is an ongoing process that requires commitment, self-awareness, and a genuine willingness to learn and adapt. By incorporating these principles into engagement practices, individuals and organizations can contribute to more respectful and equitable relationships with Indigenous communities. 

Jorge Avilés

Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations,
AiM Land Services

Sheryl-Ann Carscadden

General Manager
The Indigenous Gathering Place

Buddie Dixon

Indigenous Engagement Liaison, Disaster and Emergency Management Partnering 4 Resilience
ATCO Frontec

Roundtable

Crafting Indigenous Reconciliation Strategies

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Aligning organizational initiatives with the recommendations of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action can demonstrate a commitment to addressing the legacy of colonialism and promoting reconciliation. Going beyond this commitment is ACTION. This session reflects on creating pathways for Indigenous peoples to succeed within organizations through mentorship programs, leadership training and blending Indigenous values and Indigenous processes into employment and leadership development.  

Moderator: Anne Harding

Owner
Forum Community Relations, Inc.

Christy Morgan

Reconciliation Strategy Manager
TELUS

Lisa San Filippo

Provincial Secretary, Economic Development & Tourism
Otipemisiwak Métis Government

Nievelina Carmona

HR Consultant
MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)

Roundtable

Indigenous Technological Empowerment

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

The integration of Indigenous perspectives into STEM and the future of work is not only an ethical imperative but also a pathway to innovation and sustainable development. Collaborative efforts from governments, educational institutions, industries, and Indigenous communities are essential to ensure a more inclusive and equitable future.

Dennis Kirkness

Council Member
Tataskweyak Cree Nation

Sarah Jacknife

Co-Founder
(Re)rooting Indigenous Leadership Inc.

Gregory John

President and Leading Executive Officer (LEO)
Unimaize Technologies Inc.

Leah Bartko

Senior Manager, Partnerships and Events
First Nations Technology Council

Panel Discussion

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

1:30PM – 3:00PM

Session Description:

The key to self-governance and self-determination is economic development. Hear from a panel of nationally recognised Indigenous Leaders sharing their knowledge and thoughts with us on what shape economic development could take, leaving us with food for thought as we move towards Economic Reconciliation.

Moderator: Chelsie Klassen

Global Director of Community Engagement and Social Performance
Hatch

Travis Meguinis

C.E.O/Founder
Natural Law Energy

Annmarie Garbie

National Practice Leader, Indigenous Services
BFL Canada

Cliffton Cross

Council Member
Frog Lake First Nation

Chana Martineau

CEO
Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC)

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Fueling a New Economy: Hydrogen and Nuclear Power

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

By actively participating in the development and management of hydrogen and nuclear energy projects, Indigenous communities can not only contribute to clean energy solutions but also enhance their economic well-being and self-determination. Collaboration with external partners and a focus on sustainability and cultural considerations are key elements in maximizing the benefits of these opportunities. Hear from key players behind these exciting fuels: what are the challenges, opportunities, and regulatory hurdles.   

Mindy Henyu

Senior Manager, Indigenous Relations
Aecon Group Inc.

Guy Lonechild

CEO
First Nations Power Authority

Clayton Heck

Chief Operational Officer / Chairman
Sipihko Energy Inc.

Kennedy Bear Robe

Partner
Gowling WLG

Roundtable

Food Sovereignty & Agriculture: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Agriculture, rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge, represent holistic and sustainable approaches to managing and nourishing communities in harmony with the environment. The preservation and revitalization of these practices are crucial for the well-being of Indigenous peoples and the broader goal of achieving global food security in a sustainable manner. This session highlights learning from Indigenous practices for environmental sustainability, learning from Indigenous way of living off the land for self-sufficiency and how land-based learning promotes the well-being of the economy.

Elizabeth Romo-Rabago

Co-Founder
Ciclomanias

Kevin Van Lagen

Rural Development and Education Consultant
BDO Canada

Chief Donny R. Smoke

Chief
Dakota Plains Wahpeton Oyate

Garett Strawberry

Economics Development Manager
O’Chiese First Nation

Taylor Behn-Tsakoza

Community Liaison and Research Coordinator
Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal

Roundtable

Indigenous and Industry Partnerships: Creating Economic and Employment Opportunities

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

This valuable session will highlight case studies of how Indigenous and industry partnerships can create economic and employment opportunities that allow nations to develop capacity, learn from one another, and develop long-term, meaningful, and sustainable outcomes. Learn about partnerships and working in tandem, providing “wrap around support” to increase employee retention, and implementing successful training programs.  

Jorge Avilés

Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations
AiM Land Services

Tanya Rexin

Indigenous Relations Manager
ATCO Frontec

Don Ross

CEO
George Gordon Developments

Leona Bird

Auntie in Residence
Jansen Discovery Lodge

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Future Speaker

To be announced
To be announced

Roundtable

Business Collaboration: Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Strategies

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Business Collaboration: Employment Strategies– Recruitment, Retention, Mentoring and developing Indigenous Talent.

Cori Maedel

Partner
MNP (Formerly The Jouta Performance Group Inc.)

Miranda Beaton

MBA, Senior HR Advisor & Special Projects
Fort McKay First Nation

Heather Wolf Ear

Indigenous Recruiting Lead
Soogadin

Roundtable

Allyship and Antiracism Training:

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Allyship and Antiracism Training: Allyship and antiracism training focused on Indigenous ways of thinking is an important step towards fostering understanding, respect, and collaboration between Indigenous communities and the broader society.

Moderator: Inez Ashworth

Founder & Lead Strategist
Inclusive Concepts Inc.

Don McIntyre

Dhillon School of Business 
University of Lethbridge 

Alita Murowchuk

Lead Indigenous Group and Reconciliation Activator, Canada
AECOM