President and Chief Executive Officer, AurCrest Gold Inc.
President of Wiigwaasaatig Energy Inc.View Profile
First Nations and Metis Relations, IESOView Profile
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Council for Aboriginal BusinessView Profile
Anthony ‘AJ’ Esquega
Mashkawiziiwin Energy Projects Coordinator
Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek – Gull Bay First Nation
Lands and Environment Project Manager
Leq’á:mel First NationView Profile
President and Chief Executive Officer
Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corp.View Profile
Director General / Directeur général
Trade, Economics and Industry Branch (TEIB) / Direction du commerce, de l’économie et de l’industrie (DCEI)
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources CanadaView Profile
Vice President Policy, Engagement and Innovation
Dave L. Mackett
Community Sustainability Initiative, Whitesands First NationView Profile
Chief James R. Mardsen
Southeast Regional Grand Chief &
Chief of Alderville First Nation
Funding Research Coordinator
Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First NationView Profile
Manager, Global Programs and Initiatives
Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE)
Channa S. Perera
Director of Generation, Sustainability & Aboriginal Affairs
Canadian Electricity AssociationView Profile
Askii Environmental Inc
Curve Lake First NationView Profile
Mississaugas of the New Credit First NationView Profile
Manager of Indigenous Energy Policy Unit
Ministry of Energy, OntarioView Profile
Lumos EnergyView Profile
President, NRStorView Profile
AJ Esquega comes from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek – Gull Bay First Nation, an Ojibwe community located on the Western Shorelines of Lake Nipigon. AJ is a former elected Gull Bay First Nation Councillor, Employment Counsellor and singer-songwriter. He enjoys being on the land, hunting, fishing, music and learning more about his Ojibwe roots.
AJ was recently hired as Mashkawiziiwin Energy Projects Coordinator in March and is currently coordinating the Gull Bay Diesel Offset Micro Grid Project, an Innovative and Showcase Worthy Project that will transform Gull Bay’s primary energy source from dirty diesel to clean solar power using the latest state-of-the-art smart micro grid technology.
AJ Esquega is not alone on this venture, for he is backed up by the strong vision of Chief and Council, community support, understanding partners and a positive energized team looking ahead together with the next seven generations in heart.
Annette Verschuren is Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., an energy storage development company. Formerly she was president of The Home Depot Canada and Asia, overseeing the growth of the company’s Canadian operations from 19 to 179 stores between 1996 and 2011. She also led The Home Depot’s entry into China.
Ms. Verschuren began her career as a development officer with the Cape Breton Development Corporation, a coal mining operation, in Sydney, Nova Scotia. She then worked with Canada Development Investment Corporation as executive vice-president, privatizing crown corporations, before joining Imasco Ltd., one of Canada’s largest holding companies in financial services, retail and food services, as vice-president, corporate development. Immediately prior to joining The Home Depot, Ms. Verschuren was president and co-owner of Michaels of Canada, a chain of arts and crafts stores, where she opened 17 stores in 26 months.
Ms. Verschuren is a board member of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group of Boston, Air Canada, Saputo and Canadian Natural Resources Limited. In addition, Ms. Verschuren is a board member of CAMH Foundation and the Rideau Hall Foundation and the MaRS Discovery District. Additionally, Annette Verschuren sits on the federal government’s Science Technology and Innovation Council. She co-chairs the Smart Prosperity Initiative which is mapping out a course to a stronger, cleaner economy for Canada.
In 2011, Ms Verschuren was honoured as an Officer of The Order of Canada for her contribution to the retail industry and Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2010, she was appointed co-chair of the 2012 Governor General’s Leadership Conference, Canada’s premier leadership training event.
A champion of community investment and volunteerism, Ms. Verschuren serves as Chancellor of Cape Breton University and chaired fundraising efforts for the University’s new Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy & the Environment (VCSEE).
Ms. Verschuren holds honorary doctorate degrees from six universities including St. Francis Xavier University, where she also earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
Annette Verschuren recently wrote a business book “Bet On Me”, leading and succeeding in business and in life, published by Harper Collins
Ms. Verschuren and her husband, Stan, live in Toronto, Ontario. She returns frequently to her familial roots and long-time home in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Blair Hogan s Teslin Tlingit First Nation with a BComm who has been working in his community for 6 years. Previously worked as Executive Council for TTC, has recently been recruited by Yukon Development Corporation to build a renewable energy program for the Yukon
Cara Sanders is a proud Anishnaabe Kwe woman and member of Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario. During her career, Cara has been an advocate to First Nations across Canada supporting them on environmental concerns and development.
Cara completed a Master Degree in Spatial Analysis focusing on the Environment, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and was Ryerson Universities first Aboriginal Masters Graduate. The Focus of her research was a spatial comparison of the socioeconomic characteristics of Aboriginal people across Canada comparing the results with different non-Aboriginal populations. Cara’s bachelor’s degree in Geographic Analysis from Ryerson University focused on the Environment and GIS. Cara also received her Certified Engineer Technologist (CET) in 2010.
During her years working with a large consulting firm, Cara gained vast experience in environmental projects as an analyst, specializing in Federal and Provincial environmental assessments (EA), First Nation engagement and consultation, public consultation, field studies and geographic information system. Cara is now self-employed and using her knowledge and experience working with First Nation on housing and renewable energy projects with a specific focus in remote communities. Cara participated in the inaugural 20/20 Program as a Catalyst in 2016 and acted as a mentor to the 2017 Catalysts, and is now applying her expertise and experience to her work with Lumos Energy.
Cara was highly involved with the Native community within the City of Toronto, she spent more than twenty years volunteering throughout the City of Toronto at Native organizations; her specific focuses were food services, Aboriginal Student Services within Ryerson University, Native Women’s Resource Centre and the City of Toronto’s Aboriginal First Nations Day.
Channa S. Perera
Channa Perera has been with the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) for 17 years. He is currently the Director of Generation, Sustainability & Aboriginal Affairs responsible for a portfolio of issues from electricity generation, environmental regulations, safety and standards, and Aboriginal engagement and collaboration. Prior to assuming responsibility for this position, he served in other progressive positions within CEA, including as Director of Sustainable Development, responsible for the development and implementation of CEA’s Sustainable Electricity ProgramTM. Before joining CEA in 2000, he worked at the federal department of Industry on the government’s climate change strategy and outreach. Channa has a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours) Degree in Political Science and Legal Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Chief Gerry Duquette
In 2010, he returned home to Dokis First Nation where he took on the position as the Consultation Coordinator for all matters in and around Dokis’ Traditional Territory. Since 2010, he was the lead in passing the Dokis Land Code, the Ratification Officer for the Okikendawt Hydro Project and the Okikendawt Hydro Trust. First elected to Dokis Council in 2012, then Deputy Chief in 2014 and now serving his first term as Chief.
The Okikendawt Hydro Project was awarded the 2014 Pollution Probe award for clean energy initiative of the First Nation owned in partnership with Hydromega Energ INC. Dokis First Nation is now Consulting with other First Nation’s for a new project with their partners Hydromega.
Gerry is also a Certified Verifier for the First Nation Land Management under the Framework Agreement and he is currently negotiating an Impact Benefit Agreement within the mining sector.
In his spare time Gerry helps run Riverview Cottages which has been in his family for over 40 years, he operates Migisi Fish Hatchery with the help of community members and coaches his son’s minor hockey and Little NHL team. He is also part of the Dokis Recreation Committee, a Volunteer Fire Fighter,
Chief LaForme has participated in a number of committees and boards throughout his 14 years as a Councillor including MNCFN’s Pan Am Secretariat (PAGS). As chair of the PAGS committee Chief LaForme was instrumental in raising the profile of all First Nations as MNCFN was recognized as the first ever, Host First Nation of the Pan/Parapan Am Games.
Chief LaForme is committed to increasing involvement and communication between council regardless of residency. His dedication to the land, history, language and culture of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation are helping guide his First Nation toward a prosperous future.
A noted author of books and poetry, one of Chief LaForme’s poems, Remember, is engraved in the Veterans Memorial, while others have been featured in the short film, Sacred Trust, and at Fort York in Toronto. He has five children and is happily married to his wife, Tara.
Mr. Angeconeb, a member of the Lac Seul First Nation in the Grand Council Treaty No. 3 area of Northwestern Ontario, possesses a strong understanding of the interrelated issues facing many first nations, of the requirements of many of the agencies involved with aboriginal affairs and of the practical implementation of the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. Mr. Angeconeb focuses on exploration and expansion of company holdings as an active participant to the socio-economic development of the company’s neighbouring aboriginal communities.
Mr. Angeconeb also serves as president of Wiigwaasaatig Energy Inc., the renewable energy subsidiary of the company tasked with partnering with local first nations to develop the infrastructure necessary to sustain mineral industry activities.
David Mackett has led community development initiatives for Whitesand First Nation since 2009 which includes the design, development and implementation of the Community Sustainability Initiative.After a 15 year career with Abitibi-Price he returned to school and graduated from Confederation College’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program in 1992. He then worked for 17 years as GIS manager for a First Nation owned not- for-profit organization which supported community economic development and land use planning initiatives.David’s work with Whitesand is to create a stronger and happier community through better communication and relationships with governments and industry. His mandate is to address barriers, identify priorities and build opportunity to better achieve community sustainability.
Jean Paul (JP) Gladu
Currently, JP serves on the Board of Ontario Power Generation and Noront Resources as well as the Canadian Electricity Association Public Advisory Panel. He has most recently been appointed as the Chancellor of St. Paul’s University College Waterloo. His previous appointments include Colleges and Institutes Canada (previously ACCC), the Northern Policy Institute, Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, advisory member to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a committee member to the Provincial Forest Policy Committee. In 2014, he was identified as a Diversity 50 Board Ready Candidate from the Canadian Board Diversity Council and a recipient of the Community Service Award – Transformation Awards from Diversity Magazine.
As a father to his young daughter Chloe, along with a passion for his community, his culture and traditions; JP brings the past, present and future to the table, moving non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal business toward sustainable partnerships and shared economic prosperity.
James R. Marsden
Chief of Alderville First Nation elected 7 consecutive terms, just started his 8th term as Chief and 4 consecutive terms on Council. Started political career in 1995. Held the Southeast Regional Grand Chief for the Anishinabek Nation for 10 years, and sits on various committees such as Chiefs Leadership Council, Chiefs Committee on Economic Development, Treasury Board Member, Ogemawahj Tribal Council Board Member. On the Alderville Team negotiating for FIT-1 Agreement, funding and successful operation of the 5.7mw Alderville Solar Farm, 3.5 years in operation. Currently looking at 3 other proponents of energy projects.
Dr. Jatin Nathwani
Lisa Meness Kohoko
Her Dad, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. Lisa is the Recipient of the Queens Jubilee Award – Making a difference in the community and Canada.
After 4 years as Chief, she chose to take a different role in her community. Since 2003, Lisa is the Funding Research Coordinator and is currently holding the Core Consultation Coordinator position as well. Her main responsibility is to seek funding for the community, as well as finding opportunities for community business.
Within the last 5 years, Renewable Energy has become an area of interest for community business and Economic Development. The Community has 5 Microfits, they are a 15 % partner in a 50 kw project in Lancaster, 51% partner in a 500 kw project in Renfrew and 50.01% partner in a 10 MW and a 12 MW solar project. Lisa continues to seek new partners and new opportunities for her community.
Matt possesses 20 years of senior management experience, including 15 years spent in the commercial gaming sector in Canada and the United States. He is the founder of three start-up ventures, and has experience conducting business in several jurisdictions including: China, South Korea, United States, and the Caribbean.
Matt holds a Post-Bachelors in Management and a Masters of Business Administration from Athabasca University.
In his role as CEO, Matt leads the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation’s (SNGRDC) economic development strategy and manages all SNGRDC operations including several investments in utility scale renewable energy projects and joint venture initiatives. Under Matt’s guidance and direction, SNGRDC has deployed $50 million of direct equity and participated in the construction of $2.25 billion of infrastructure assets.
In addition to these accomplishments, Matt was also the principle architect of the corporate governance model used by SNGRDC. This model now successfully operates autonomously from the political structure within the community.
Stacey’s work is all funding based. Development of plans, policies, procedures and laws to better manage the land has and continues to rely on successful application of government funds. In realizing the capacity demand of such processes she began to investigate more feasible approaches. Economic development was the answer though it needed to be sustainable, something that not only prevents environmental degradation but could work to mitigate climate change; something that would speak to the values and goals her community identified through Environmental Planning and protection; something that could back up her community’s stance on pipeline development to provide an alternative option to fossil fuels; and an approach that would provide employment, capacity building and revenue generation to move her community forward into the future.
Since Stacey decided to venture down the path of renewables she partook in the 2017, 2020 Catalyst Training Program. During the training she wrote/completed three proposals that include capacity building for community members in hydrology testing and data collection, community engagement sessions, member employment opportunity and a Youth Council all in the attempt to implement Leq’á:mel First Nation’s Clean Energy Plan. Leq’á:mel Leadership has since approved another $25k of own source revenue to have the community member continue to work alongside a seasoned small hydro expert in the prefeasibility stages of small hydro projects throughout Nation’s traditional territory.
Margaret Sault – Current Councillor for the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and lifelong resident. Margaret has taken a political sabbatical from her position as the Director of Lands, Research and Membership for the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, a position she has held since 1977 in which she has successfully settled three land claims. She has been doing public speaking on the history of the First Nation for many years now and has produced several booklets as public education tools, as well as a video of New Credit’s history.
Margaret graduated with honors in the Personal Support Worker program from Mohawk College in 2009. She enjoys both her careers very much and when not helping in the community she enjoys baking, reading and spending quiet time at home with visits from her three sons and grandchildren.