Jean Paul (JP) Gladu

JP is currently the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) based in Toronto. Anishinaabe from Thunder Bay JP is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek located on the eastern shores of Lake Nipigon, Ontario. JP completed a forestry technician diploma in 1993, obtained an undergraduate degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University in 2000 and holds an Executive MBA from Queens University.

JP has over two decades of experience in the natural resource sector. His career path includes work with Aboriginal communities and organizations, environmental non-government organizations, industry and governments from across Canada.

In JP’s current capacity at CCAB, he speaks extensively not only across Canada but internationally as he shares the challenges and successes of Aboriginal business in Canada today. In 2014 he addressed delegates at the World Indigenous Business Forum in Guatemala; in 2015k, he presented at both the Sodexo Quality of Life Conference and the Corporate Leadership Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Building a Community of Practice Conference in New York City.

Currently, JP serves on the Colleges and Institutes Canada (previously ACCC), the Northern Policy Institute, Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, is an advisory member to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a committee member to the Provincial Forest Policy Committee and was recently appointed to Ontario Power Generation’s Board of Directors. In 2014, he was identifi ed 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.

Deborah Richardson


Deborah Richardson, LL.B, BA is a seasoned intergovernmental a airs executive and Indigenous relationships expert. A business-savvy lawyer, with nearly two decades of private, not-for-profi t and public sector experience, Deborah is a true visionary and dealmaker with an abundance of wisdom and experience in addressing inter-governmental a airs matters at all levels of government. Her caring, collaborative style and ability to nurture relationships have demonstrated wide-ranging impacts in the fi eld of Indigenous a airs Canada-wide. A forward thinking, fi scally responsible leader, she has been able to e ectively motivate large, diverse teams in rendering her ability to deliver, transform, connect and inspire.

Her distinguished career began as an articling student in a criminal law fi rm in Ottawa then she jumped into the fi nance industry where she worked as a business banker before becoming Manager of Diversity for the Royal Bank of Canada.

Over the years, Deborah Richardson has been on the forefront of Indigenous A airs, spearheading many wide-ranging initiatives benefi ting Indigenous youth, addressing poverty in the Far North and improving social conditions in Indigenous communities. Her professional foray into Indigenous A airs began as Executive Director of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto in 1999. She used her fi nancial and operational expertise to build the Centre into one of the strongest Aboriginal organizations in Toronto. Much sought after for her operational experience, she then served as Director of Operations and Aboriginal Business Development for the OI Group of Companies located in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Beginning and since 2004, Deborah has held progressively senior positions in the federal and provincial public service including Regional Director General for Indian and Northern A airs Canada, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Aboriginal Relationships and Ministerial Partnerships division of the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal A airs, and the Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ring of Fire Secretariat at the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. In 2013, Deborah took a two-year leave of absence from the provincial government to pursue an Executive opportunity in the private sector with a company based out of Akwesasne First Nation called Ishkonigan. She is currently the Deputy Minister of Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation since her appointment in January 2015. She has been recognized as a Top Leader under 40 (in 2008) and was selected for the Governor General in Leadership Program.

Deborah is a proud Mi’gmaq woman with strong ties to her home community of Pabineau First Nation on the north shore of New Brunswick. She lives with her husband Bob, and her daughters Jasmine and Fiona. She also has three step children: Katherine Faith, Gri n and Miigwans.

Chastity Davis

Chastity Davis is a mixed heritage woman of First Nations and European descent. She is a proud member of the Tla’amin Nation, located in Powell River just o the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC. Chastity strives to keep her sacred First Nations culture, traditions, and values incorporated into her modern day life. She feels it is her life purpose to facilitate the building of bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and has dedicated her professional and personal life to do so.

Chastity is sole proprietor to her own consulting business, Chastity Davis Consulting and founding partner of the Raven Institute. She is also a board member at the Minerva Foundation and Chair of the Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women. Chastity will be completing her MA in International and Intercultural Communications in Winter 2016, has a BA in Professional Communications and a Diploma in Marketing Management and Professional Sales. Chastity has spoken at several international, national, and local events on the importance of building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. She dedicates her work to her 2 nephews, niece, and 9 year-old brother, as they are the future generations.

Mary Jane Loustel

Mary Jane leads the IBM Canada strategy to advance Indigenous participation in the technology sector. In her work, she leads four key areas of development: Employment, Business Partnership, Community Relations and Community Investment. A Chartered Accountant, with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Mary Jane also holds a Masters degree in Native Studies on the topic of entrepreneurship and economic development in which she focused on women entrepreneurs and business value systems. Mary Jane enjoys her professional and community work. In 2015, she co-founded SHE Day, a one day event in which Winnipeg women network, share leadership experiences and build alliances. Mary Jane currently serves as on the Winnipeg Police Board, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and for the community organization Ka Ni Ka Nichihk. As a leader, Mary Jane believes in forging new pathways and in her work she creates opportunities for enriched social and economic engagement.

Jennifer David

Jennifer David is an NVision Insight Group (formerly called Stonecircle Consulting) partner, board member and senior consultant who has worked in the fi eld of Indigenous communications and consulting for more than 15 years. Prior to consulting, Jennifer was the Director of Communications for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She started her own communications consulting company as a youth entrepreneur. A member of Chapleau Cree First Nation, Jennifer has degrees in Journalism and English literature from Carleton University. As a skilled and experienced communicator, planner, writer and facilitator, Jennifer brings energy, creativity and professionalism to every project, driven by her commitment to the promotion of Indigenous communities and cultures. She is currently a board member of Makonsag, an urban Aboriginal Head Start/ preschool program in Ottawa.

Kristine Crook

Entrepreneur/Social Activist

Kristine Crook is a proud member of the Tahltan Nation in northern British Columbia. Kristine is a Power Engineering graduate from BCIT. She has found success early in her career in real estate after purchasing her fi rst home in 2004 she went on to establish a successful business in renovating, fl ipping properties. In recent years, her focus has shifted to the beauty industry and she is now an established lash artist and is currently building her business as a permanent makeup artist. Kristine spends much of her free time working with multiple charitable organizations including Big Brother & Big Sisters and Moms Against Hunger. Since 2009 Kristine has been an ambassador & board member for Hope Africa Kabale Society. She avidly travels the world focussing on her spiritual growth and connection.

Michelle Thrush

Michelle Thrush has been working professionally in fi lm, television and theatre for over twenty years – having experienced her fi rst fi lm role at the age of seventeen. At the age of twenty-one, Michelle pursued her dream of acting professionally.

Ms. Thrush has currently over forty professional credits in the entertainment industry and is an award winning actress with many noted accomplishments.

Her latest achievements include:

  • Ms. Thrush won Best Alberta Actress 2012 2013 2015 and two nominations in 2016
  • 2012 Rosie Award for Best Performance by an Alberta Actress
  • Appointed 2012 Alberta Aboriginal Role Model of the Year
  • 2011 Gemini for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role for her character Gail Stoney from the hit APTN dramatic series “BLACKSTONE”
  • 2009 Best Supporting Actress in San Francisco at the “American Indian Film Festival”
  • In 1999, she received the Best Supporting Actress at the First Americans in the Arts Awards in Los Angeles for her role opposite Jack Palance in the comedy western “EBENEEZER”

Michelle’s other television credits include being a regular on the popular APTN Showcase series “MOCCASIN FLATS”, as well as starring as Kate in two seasons of the comedy hit “MIXED BLESSINGS”. Well known for her recurring role as Sylvie Lebret in the hit CBC series “NORTH OF 60.”

Stevie Salas

A guitar player, writer, producer, and composer, Stevie Salas has recorded on over 70 di erent albums with artists as diverse as George Clinton, Justin Timberlake, Buddy Miles, T.I., Mick Jagger, and Rod Stewart. Having sold over two million solo albums around the world, Stevie has been cited as one of the top 50 guitarists of all time.

Dreaming of a career in music, Stevie left the small town of Oceanside, California in 1985. Eight months later he was discovered by funk music legend George Clinton as the lead guitarist for Clinton’s albums. Stevie received his fi rst major label producer credit with “Was (Not Was)” when he co-produced the UK hit “Out Come the Freaks” from the Album “What up Dog?” Rolling Stone Magazine listed “What up Dog?” as one of the top 100 records of the decade.

In 1988, Stevie was asked to join Rod Stewart on a world tour as lead guitarist. Skipping cities in a private jet to sold-out stadiums led to Stevie signing the largest record deal Island Records had ever paid for a new artist. Stevie’s fi rst record, “Colorcode,” is still a cult classic in the UK and Europe, and his second solo album, “Back from the Living,” ousted the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith for “Best Album” in Japan. From 2006 to 2010, Salas served as music director and consultant for American Idol and 19 Entertainment, nurturing Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, and their respective touring bands for subsequent American tours.

An accomplished composer, Stevie is credited with providing the score for several fi lms including Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the 2009 fi lm Darfur. Over 50 of Stevie’s compositions have been released on major labels.

A Native American, Stevie has been involved in prominent projects that support indigenous communities, including serving as the Advisor of Contemporary Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. For his e orts in support of Native American culture, Stevie received the Native American Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

Stevie is continually making his mark in television by working as the Executive Producer on several successful venture. He co-hosted Arbor Live!, a musical variety show featuring aboriginal artists for 3 jampacked seasons.

He’s currently working on a PBS documentary entitled Rumble and episodes of Catch the Dream Bios with Adam Beach.

In 2014 Stevie wrote When We Were the Boys, a memoir about Stevie’s fi rst tour with Rod Stewart. The book met with outstanding reviews and was #1 for 8 weeks on Amazon’s book chart.

Santee Smith

Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith is a multi-disciplinary artist, producer and director from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River. At the age of two years old, Santee was creating dances and after an injury that left her with two broken legs, she went on to complete six years of formal dance training at Canada’s National Ballet School. After leaving the ballet world, Santee went onto postsecondary education completing Physical Education and Psychology degrees from McMaster University and a Master of Arts in Dance from York University. While she was working on her Masters she also produced her fi rst choreographic work entitled Kaha:wi based on her family creation story. In 2005, Santee Smith founded Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (KDT) as vehicle for her artistry which she would grow into an internationally renowned company sharing Indigenous artistic voice globally. Her body of works include 12 full productions and over 9 short performance works. Santee has appeared on numerous television and documentary shows, and special events like the upcoming Opening Ceremonies of the North American Indigenous Games 2017.

Kanata Conroy

In-House Counsel, Intact Insurance Company

Kanata Conroy is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, originating from Tyendinaga and living in Ottawa. Kanata is a civil litigator, who has worked inhouse at Intact Insurance Company for 5 years. Kanata’s primarily area of practice is personal injury matters, such as motor vehicle accident litigation. Kanata attended law school at the University of Western Ontario and graduated in 2010 with a J.S.D. Tory Writing Award. While attending law school, Kanata spent her summers working at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, with the Ethics O ce and Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health. Kanata has continued her interest in healthcare by volunteering at The Ottawa Hospital.

Ryan McMahon

Ryan has blended the best practices of life skills, leadership programming, cultural teachings and Indigenous world views to create presentations grounded in fun, challenging & practical pedagogies that engage & activate communities. He tailors each presentation to the goals of the host community. When not on stage and when not in a studio, Ryan can be found helping Indigenous Youth communities in the area of Leadership & Empowerment.

Ryan is the CEO of the Makoons Media Group – a digital media company that focuses on telling Indigenous stories to worldwide audiences. In October 2013, Ryan founded Indian & Cowboy, the world’s only listener-supported Indigenous podcast media network. Creatively, he has grown the Red Man Laughing & Stories From The Land podcasts into major players in the Canadian digital media space

Ryan became the 1st Native comedian to ever record a full mainstream comedy special with CBC TV titled UnReserved, and later that year made his debut at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, QC where he was named to the New Faces list at the festival. His full-length CBC comedy special, Red Man Laughing, aired nationally on CBC Radio 1 in 2015.

He has a serious side too, as evidenced in his 2016 documentary, Colonization Road featuring Canada’s colonial past told through interviews, comedy & rantings, with its world premiere at the 2016 ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival in October 2016.

Ryan has written for the Globe & Mail, VICE, CBC, CBC Aboriginal, APTN among others, and has earned his degree in Theatre & and is a graduate of the prestigious Second City.

Peter Lantin

President of the Haida Nation

Kil tlaats’ gaa, Peter Lantin was fi rst elected President of the Haida Nation in 2012 and was re-elected in December 2015 for a second 3-year term. The Council of the Haida Nation is the political body of the Haida nation. As the primary spokesperson on behalf of the Haida Nation, kil tlaats’gaa is responsible for fulfi lling the Council of the Haida Nation’s mandate, which is to “strive for full independence, sovereignty and selfsu ciency of the Haida Nation”.

With over 20 years experience in governance and administration, kil tlaats’gaa has served as chairman of the Gwaii Trust Society, an $80-million community trust fund, and Chief Operating O cer of Tricorp (Tribal Resources Investment Corporation) for 7 years. He will be sharing his experiences as being a young leader throughout his professional career and wishes to share these experiences with the YES delegates and encourages youth leadership in all areas within governance, business and community development.

Kil tlaats’gaa is 41 years old and calls Old Massett, Haida Gwaii home with two daughters, Taylor and Brooklyn.

Orene Askew AKA O-Show

Orene Askew aka DJ O Show is from the Squamish First Nation in Vancouver. DJ O Show is the Head Instructor at the School of Remix, teaching students with an inspired approach to pursue their dream of becoming a DJ. In addition to DJ’ing, she is an inspirational speaker, traveling across Canada and the US to bring ambition and drive to youth, encouraging them to make any dream they have into a reality. In 2015 DJ O Show won a BC Aboriginal Business Award for Outstanding Business Achievement and was nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the year by The North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. O Show has played many shows which include We Day Vancouver, The Honda Celebration of Lights, The Vancouver International Film Festival, The Americas Masters Games, and Vancouver Eco Fashion Week. Coming from a diverse background, O Show is driven by her passion. Her mixes make people happy and always keep the dance fl oor packed. With an outgoing personality and friendly demeanor, O Show is one of the easiest DJ’s to work with.

Dawn Madahbee Leach

Dawn is a proud member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario where she has served as a member of her community’s Council. Since 1988, she has been General Manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation, an Aboriginal Financial Institution that provides fi nancing and economic services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities throughout North-East Ontario. Waubetek also delivers an Aboriginal business program to Aboriginal people in Southern Ontario and aquaculture services to Aboriginal people in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Under her leadership, Waubetek has proudly invested $75 million in 2,216 Aboriginal businesses who experience a business success rate of 94%. A graduate of the University of Waterloo Economic Development Program, Ms. Madahbee also holds a degree in Political Science with a minor in Law from York and Laurentian Universities. Dawn is the fi rst Aboriginal woman in Canada to head up a regional commercial lending institution. In 2004, Dawn was recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” for economic development in the Northern Ontario Business newspaper. She was also celebrated as one of Laurentian University’s 25 Alumni during the university’s twenty-fi fth anniversary. She also contributed chapters to two published book compilations: 1) “Changing Lives: Women of Northern Ontario”; and 2) “Governance in Northern Ontario – Economic Development and PolicyMaking” by Segsworth and Conteh with her chapter “First Nations Inclusion: A Key Requirement to Building the Northern Ontario Economy”. She has been a speaker at international forums in Australia and Europe on Indigenous economic development.

Dawn currently serves on various Boards and committees including the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board where she is Interim Chair; the Board of the Peace Hills Trust Company; the Board of the Northern Policy Institute (a northern Ontario think tank); and the Board of the North-East Local Health Integrated Network. She is a former Chairperson of the Northern Ontario Development Corporation, and former Director of both the Ontario Development Corporation and Innovations Ontario. Dawn is the owner of Indigenous Business International, a company that provides assistance to Indigenous peoples on sector strategies and corporate partnerships.

Sharing her knowledge on the Aboriginal economy, she was instrumental in the development of the National Aboriginal Economic Benchmark Report (2012) and the follow-up National Aboriginal Economic Progress Report (2015). She also co-chaired the development of the “Anishnawbek Nation Economic Blueprint” which is used today by several First Nations in Ontario. She also guided the establishment of the internationally renowned “Great Spirit Circle Trail” Aboriginal tourism organization based on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario.

She believes strongly that economic development and following the Anishinabek traditional values are the keys to addressing the challenges that her people face. She is a northern style traditional dancer on the powwow circuit. Dawn is happily married to the National Hockey League legend Reggie Leach and is the proud mother of Crystal Madahbee.

Event Information

Young Entrepreneurs Symposium (YES) 2017 will be held Monday, November 27 to Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the following location:


Westin Wall Centre, Vancouver Airport
3099 Corvette Way, Richmond, BC
V6X 4K3


Nov 27 – Nov 30, 2017

For more details contact

Matt Cook-Contois

Senior Project Officer