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Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business is hosting a virtual roundtable on Indigenous economic development. This roundtable builds on the conversation started through the Shifting Landscapes forum
Indigenous communities have faced unique challenges in addressing COVID-19, including the lack of timely access to healthcare and services, access to clean water and safe housing, as well as the threat of isolated communities being devastated by COVID. As we look to the future beyond this pandemic, what actions can be taken to support economic development for Indigenous communities and how can we make the future better for all?
Hosted by Sprott’s Rick Colbourne, participants of the roundtable will be joined by discussion partners:
- Merlyn Recinos, Mayor of Igloolik, Nunavut
- Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of Indigenous Works
- Joy Cramer, Director of Operations, Southern Chiefs’ Organization
See below for bios.
Discussion Partners Bios
Merlyn Recinos, Mayor of Igloolik
Merlyn Recinos is an experienced business professional and entrepreneur with over 15 years of retail management experience. Merlyn also has over four years of experience as a business advisor, capacity building trainer, and entrepreneurship mentor.
Merlyn moved to Nunavut at the age of 21. Together, Merlyn and his wife started Arctic Fresh Inc. After launching Arctic Fresh, Merlyn left the company to focus on building personal and entrepreneurship capacity in his home community of Igloolik. Merlyn worked for the Municipality of Igloolik as the Economic Development Officer and was elected Mayor of Igloolik in November 2019.
Beyond his job, Merlyn is very invested in the community of Igloolik and volunteers an average of 600 hours per year. Merlyn works to build capacity and help people start businesses, gain employment, learn about cooking, driving and other essential skills. Merlyn recently has volunteered to bring together and create an inter-community group that looks at regional development, ensuring large projects benefit the local communities in Nunavut.
Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO, Indigenous Works
Kelly Lendsay is a social entrepreneur who is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators and organizational development experts in workplace models, corporate/Indigenous partnerships and Indigenous inclusion strategies. His dynamic communication style and social entrepreneurial success has earned him the reputation as an engaging thought leader and effective bridge-builder, fostering trusted partnerships for workforce and economic development across Canada and abroad.
A proud Canadian Indigenous leader of Cree and Métis ancestry, he moves seamlessly between both worlds, fostering economic inclusion, well-being and prosperity for Canada. He was honoured by the University of Saskatchewan, as one of their “100 Alumni of Influence” in the last century whose accomplishments have been recognized for influencing the growth and development of the University, the province, and the world during the last century.
Joy Cramer, Director of Operations, Southern Chiefs’ Organization
Joy Cramer is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation with maternal ties to Sandy Bay First Nation. Joy is currently completing her Ph.D. in Business Administration at the Paris School of Business and is taking her Certificate in First Nation Taxation with the Tulo Centre for Indigenous Economics. Based in Winnipeg, she works for the Southern Chiefs’ Organization as their Director of Operations, overseeing major projects in health, child welfare, and the environment in addition to the day to day operations of a vibrant organization serving 34 First Nations in southern Manitoba.
She has completed the Directors Education Program with the Institute of Corporate Directors. She has been a member of the Children’s Inquest Review Committee of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet, and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy while serving as a public servant.
As the Director of Indigenous Graduate Programs at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, Joy managed the MBA program in Indigenous Business and Leadership, executive education, and led international academic partnerships with the USA, New Zealand, and Australia. Joy was the moderator for the Vancouver Board of Trade for the address of Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and was the host moderator for a conversation with the Right Honourable Paul Martin to discuss advancing reconciliation through education.
During her time with the provincial government, Joy managed budgets and assets, totalling over $4 billion with over 4,000 staff. She served as Manitoba’s Deputy Minister of Families, where she addressed long-standing issues in finance, governance, and litigation between the province and several organizations. She served as Deputy Minister of Housing and Community Development, Chair of the Manitoba Housing Renewal Corporation and Chair, Co-op Loans and Loans Guarantee Board, and by special appointment was the lead Deputy Minister for the 2011 Flood Impacted First Nations where she negotiated a cost sharing formula with the federal government.
In her role as Assistant Deputy Minister of Housing and Employment Income Assistance and Chief Executive Officer of the Manitoba Housing Renewal Corporation, Joy was successful in proposing and undertaking the most extensive overhaul of public housing history and introduced a resident-centered approach to service, supporting over 80,000 residents across Manitoba.
During her time in Toronto, she acquired wide-ranging experience in the non-profit sector. She lived on reserve at Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, working for six First Nations, carrying out policy and consultation work in child welfare. In the mid-’90s, Joy continued to develop her expertise in the social services sector with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs before beginning a career with the Manitoba government. In her community volunteer capacity, some highlights include board and committee volunteerism with Winnipeg Child and Family Services, Riverview Health Foundation, Canadian Red Cross, Manitoba Special Olympics, Toronto Children’s Aid Society, and is a founding board member for Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.