Workforce Forward 2024 | EAST

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.

Save $100 by registering before July 30!

The agenda is now live! Discover the pivotal topics set for discussion at this year's conference.

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:

Our speakers represent the best in the business and community, here to inspire, motivate and empower your organization to action.

Penny Favel

VP, Indigenous Relations & Sustainability
Hydro One

Jorge Avilés

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

Heather Wolf Ear

Indigenous Recruiting Lead
Soogadin

Alexandra Cropp

Innovative Indigenous Health & Governance Specialist
Thunderbird Solutions

Jason Murray

President & Managing Partner
BIPOC Executive Search

Mélanie Corriveau

Corporate Director, Community Relations
Agnico Eagle Mines

Chief Ted Williams

Chief
Rama First Nation

Hillary Thatcher

Senior Director, Project Development Indigenous Infrastructure
Canada Infrastructure Bank

Denis Carignan

CEO
Plato Testing

Ben Borne

Communicator & Leader
Symmetry Public Relations

Michelle Francis-Denny

Manager of Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement (East)
Bird Construction

Jade (Jadelyn) Psutka

Senior Manager, Indigenous Enablement & Recruitment
KPMG National Inclusion & Diversity Team

Margaret Kenequanash

CEO
Wataynikaneyap Power

Trina Maher

President
Bridging Concepts

Chelsey Johnson

Communications Manager
Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

Melanie Debassige

Executive Director
Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

Christine Channer

Founder & Principal
Channer Consulting & Training

Mary Wabano-McKay

Vice-President Nyaagaaniid – Anishinaabe Initiatives, Equity and Student Success
Algoma University

Agenda

Our content is guided and put together with the guidance of over twenty experts, community leaders, and passionate individuals that make up our Leadership Council. 

Forward Summit Access: sessions below in green are part of Forward Summit and thematically focus on the concept of Indigenous Economic Reconciliation. All Workforce Forward participants have full access and are able to participate in any of the sessions below.

Welcome Address

Speakers:

Host: Trina Maher, President Bridging Concepts

Keynote Speech

Speakers:

Coming Soon

Building Strength from Diversity: Indigenous Inclusion in the Workplace

Speakers:

Moderator: Krista Maydew, Director of Community Relations, IAMGOLD
Trina Maher, President Bridging Concepts
Jade Psutka, Senior Manager, Indigenous Enablement & Recruitment, KPMG Canada
Michelle Francis-Denny, Manager of Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement (East), Bird Construction
Nathan Martin, Director Indigenous Relations, Rogers

Morning Coffee & Networking

Recognizing and Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Sustainable Forestry Initiatives

Presented by:

Speakers:

Moderator: Catherine Langille, Indigenous Relations Coordinator, Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Francis Archibald, General Manager, Apitipi Resources LP

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement 101

Speakers:

Jorge Avilés, Senior Advisor, Cross-cultural & Indigenous Relations, AiM Land Services
Penny Favel, Vice President, Indigenous Relations, Sustainability, Hydro One
Sean Tutak, Senior Manager, Indigenous Relations, Hydro One

Creating Space for Youth in the Workforce​

Speakers:

Mary Wabano-McKay, Vice-President Nyaagaaniid – Anishinaabe Initiatives, Equity and Student Success, Algoma University
Deanna Burgart, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Engineering

Crafting Indigenous Reconciliation Strategies

Speakers:

Mélanie Corriveau, Corporate Director, Community Relations, Agnico Eagle Mines
Ben Borne, Communicator & Leader, Symmetry Public Relations

Networking Lunch

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

Presented by:

Speakers:

Hillary Thatcher, Managing Director, Canada Infrastructure Bank

Afternoon Coffee and Networking

The Conservation Economy and Ethical Finance

Presented by:

Speakers:

Moderator: Amanda Reed, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Nature United
Sarah Morris Lang, Manager, Social Equality Initiatives, Responsible Investing, BMO Global Asset Management

Community Capacity Building and Sharing Between Nations

Presented by:

Speakers:

Jacob Dockstator, Executive Director, Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation
Dwayne Nashkawa, Strategic Advisor, Nipissing First Nation

Stem, Tech and the Future of Work

Speakers:

Moderator: Denis Carignan, President, Co-Founder, Chief Impact Officer, Plato Testing
Angelique Carle, VP Delivery Practice Governance Platform and Technology, TD
Melanie Debassige, Executive Director, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation
Chelsey Johnson, Communications Manager, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

Wise Practices in Indigenous Workforce Engagement

Speakers:

Heather Wolf Ear, Indigenous Recruiting Lead, Soogadin
Jason Murray, President and Managing Partner, BIPOC Executive Search
Christine Channer, Founder & Principal, Channer Consulting & Training

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

Casino Rama Resort is a premier gaming & entertainment destination and Ontario‘s only First Nations Resort casino. Located on Rama First Nation, a progressive community rich in history, the property was built and designed to pay homage to the culture and proud heritage of Rama First Nation.

Get a reduced rate of $139/night with the booking link below or by calling 705-329-3325 and mentioning the group name: CONI24A – Forward Summit Event.

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!

Travel

For all participants of Forward Summit, we are pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with national airlines to ensure competitive rates are provided for domestic and international travel to and from Forward Summit.

Air Canada

For North America’ 5% applies on standard fares, 10% on flex fares & higher with Air Canada. 

Coupon code: Q4YGPU7

Travel period: Sept 18 – Oct 03, 2024.

West Jet

5% off Econo* and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada and 2% off Econo*, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests travelling Trans-border. No discount will apply to Ultra Basic or Business class bookings.

Coupon Code: 0B2N1OX

Promo Code (Travel Agent GDS only): YBM23

Travel period: Sept 18 – Oct 03, 2024.

Workforce Forward | EAST 2024

Experience a day of expert-led workshops, intimate keynote discussions,  catered lunch, plus networking                                   with professionals from Canada’s Indigenous Inclusion Community.


Experience Workforce Forward & Forward Summit by registering today. Save $100 be registering before July 30:


Scroll to Top

Panel Discussion

Building Strength from Diversity: Indigenous Inclusion in the Workplace

9:00AM – 10:15AM

Session Description:

This panel dives into education about decolonization and how to approach decolonization in the East, a look at what different organizations are doing to Indigenize its workplaces, Indigenous representation at all levels and how to talk about inclusion in the workplace.

Moderator: Krista Maydew

Director of Community Relations
IAMGOLD

Trina Maher

President
Bridging Concepts

Jade Psutka

Senior Manager, Indigenous Enablement & Recruitment
KPMG Canada

Michelle Francis-Denny

Manager of Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement (East)
Bird Construction

Roundtable

Recognizing and Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Sustainable Forestry Initiatives

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

This session brings together forest sector organizations, communities, and non-profits to discuss what true partnerships and collaboration can look like that balance effective environmental stewardship with economic and community interests. Through effective collaboration, sustainable forest management can help address a myriad of local and global issues, including carbon capture, biodiversity and climate resiliency, and economic self-determination in Indigenous communities. This session also looks at youth land camp and the importance of sustainable forestry initiatives in the East.

Moderator: Catherine Langille

Indigenous Relations Coordinator,
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Francis Archibald

General Manager
Apitipi Resources LP

Roundtable

Ethics of Indigenous Engagement 101

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

Your organization knows it needs to engage with Indigenous communities, but where do you start and how do you move beyond just checking boxes? Learn how to approach and engage with Indigenous Communities. What does ethical employment look like and how can your organization build lasting relationships built on trust.

Jorge Aviles

Senior Advisor, Cross-Cultural and Indigenous Relations
AiM Land Services

Jorge Aviles

Vice President, Indigenous Relations, Sustainability
Hydro One

Sean Tutak

Senior Manager, Indigenous Relations
Hydro One

Roundtable

Creating Space for Youth in the Workforce​

10:45AM – 12:15PM

Session Description:

In this session we’ll see youth and industry professionals come together sharing what’s needed and what’s available to help our future generation achieve their dreams outside of bias or preconceived ideas. By nurturing the development of talent at a much younger age and creatively thinking about mentorship programs and internships; academia, corporate Canada and communities can help create a generation of youth that is highly trained and ready for the workforce.

Mary Wabano-McKay

Vice-President Nyaagaaniid – Anishinaabe Initiatives, Equity and Student Success
Algoma University

Deanna Burgart

Associate Professor
Schulich School of Engineering

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.

Mélanie Corriveau

Corporate Director, Community Relations
Agnico Eagle Mines

Ben Borne

Communicator & Leader
Symmetry Public Relations

Panel Discussion

Reshaping Modern Economies: Indigenous Economic Innovation

1:30PM – 3:00PM

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.

Hillary Thatcher

Managing Director
Canada Infrastructure Bank

Roundtable

The Conservation Economy and Ethical Finance

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

Indigenous Conservation Economy and sustainable finance mechanisms work hand in hand to promote environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and economic development in Indigenous communities. By acknowledging the value of traditional knowledge and integrating it with modern conservation strategies, these approaches contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable model of development.

Moderator: Amanda Reed

Director of Strategic Partnerships,
Nature United

Sarah Morris Lang

Manager, Social Equality Initiatives, Responsible Investing
BMO Global Asset Management

Roundtable

Community Capacity Building and Sharing Between Nations

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

This roundtable experts discuss infrastructure in Indigenous communities and sustainable community models, creating capacity in smaller (or remote) communities, how ethical financial partnerships can be formed, Free Prior and Informed Consent, and how to help communities build capacity or share capacity and wise practices with other nations and regions across the country.

 

Jacob Dockstator

Executive Director
Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation

Dwayne Nashkawa

Strategic Advisor
Nipissing First Nation

Roundtable

Stem, Tech and the Future of Work

3:30PM – 5:00PM

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. This session discusses the importance of role models in tech for Indigenous youth, tech training programs and AI and ethical considerations.

Moderator: Denis Carignan

President, Co-Founder, Chief Impact Officer
Plato Testing

Angelique Carle

VP Delivery Practice Governance Platform and Technology
TD

Melanie Debassige

Executive Director
Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

Chelsey Johnson

Communications Manager
Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation

Roundtable

Wise Practices in Indigenous Workforce Engagement

3:30PM – 5:00PM

Session Description:

In the workplace, Indigenous peoples are under-represented, suffer a wage gap, and often experience isolation because of a lack of Indigenous role models at senior levels. Additionally, they are regularly surrounded by managers, colleagues, and senior executives who do not truly understand their long history of colonialism, and racism. Attend this important discussion and learn about cultural safety, changing your workplace culture, how to be more successful in recruiting and retaining Indigenous employees, succession planning that is inclusive of Indigenous employees, and what true allyship looks like.

Heather Wolf Ear

Indigenous Engagement Program Manager
Soogadin

Jason Murray

President and Managing Partner
BIPOC Executive Search

Christine Channer

Founder & Principal
Channer Consulting & Training