Current Catalysts

Alex Cook

Iqaluit

Alex is the owner of ArchTech, a start-up which aims to bring industry professionals together with arctic designers to develop and build affordable, efficient, and resilient residential and commercial spaces across the arctic. His background is in human resources management and he has extensive experience in program and policy development, staffing and recruitment, training and development, performance management, career development planning, and labour relations. He studied at Saint Francis Xavier University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a major in Management and Leadership.

Chad Bonnetrouge

Dene First Nations

Chad is a member of the Dene First Nation. He was born in Yellowknife and raised in Fort
Providence, Northwest Territories. He did some volunteer work for his community
until he moved to Alberta where he finished secondary school. After graduation he returned home to help with his family, he started working at a local store for the next two and a half years
and was  involved in  community work at that time. After that he got an opportunity with
Northern Loco in the clean energy sector and has been working with them since March. He is
really interested in learning more about how clean energy can benefit his community, and
hopes to gain the knowledge necessary to help ease reliance on diesel fuel and to help
promote greater energy independence in the North.

Clay Polchies

Woodstock First Nation

 

 

Bio to come! Stay tuned.

Crystal Campbell

Six Nations of the Grand River

Crystal, originally from Brantford, Ontario, is the mother of 2 young girls, and used to own a residential cleaner business for the past 10 years. She applied for the Community Energy Champion with Six Nations of the Grand River, because she wanted to do something different and apply herself toward a career with a purpose. Not knowing exactly what she was getting into she jumped in and so far has loved what she has been learning. Her family has a background of electricians, so to work along the same lines has been very rewarding.  She has always had an interest in a greener way of living, and how we can contribute to conserve and maintain a greener environment. She looks forward to broadening her knowledge in the field and jumping into any upcoming projects.

Daphne Kay

Cowessess First Nation

Daphne is a proud Anishinaabe woman from the Cowessess First Nation, Treaty 4 Territory. Daphne studied Political Science at the University of Regina and Land Management at the University of Saskatchewan. Daphne worked in the Lands and Resources Department of Cowessess First Nation for two years where she was able to work on special projects like Cultural Site Documentation. Recently, Daphne moved to Cowessess Ventures Ltd., the community’s business development organization, as the Community Energy Specialist where she can work on clean energy initiatives.  

Daphne has always been passionate about sustainable living and protecting the land. In her spare time, she likes to read, bead, sew and dance.

Devin Rachar

Skidegate First Nation

Devin was born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia and moved to Haida Gwaii on a whim 5 and a half years ago. He lived with his dog Rebel in the Village of Queen Charlotte. He went to University at UBC and studied Anthropology with a specialization in Archaeology and worked as a Consulting Archaeologist for 5 years after school. After moving to Haida Gwaii, he decided he no longer wanted to travel as frequently for work and that’s when he began to transition away from working in Archaeology. He gained an interest in renewable energy projects after being elected as a Councillor for the Village of Queen Charlotte, and eventually accepted a position as Climate Action Co-ordinator with the Skidegate Band Council. He is passionate about renewable energy and especially the transition of Haida Gwaii away from diesel power. He is very excited to be a part of the 20/20 Catalysts Program cohort.

Harlan Schilling

Lower Post (Daylu Dena)

Harlan is Kaska and grew up in Lower Post, B,C. He moved back home three years ago after being honorably discharged after seven years of service in the Canadian Forces. Since then he has been working with the economic development corporation and was elected Chief in late June.

He and his partner have a one-year old daughter, and would like his child to grow up in a clean and healthy environment in order to learn and practice traditional ways of living. With a young new family, he believes it is imperative to continue to take care of the environment and traditional values. Harlan enjoys spending time out on the land and river, hunting and fishing and his hope is that opportunities like the 20/20 Catalysts Program will ensure that our people will continue to do so.

Jacob Jadis

Abegweit First Nation

Jacob is proud father and member of the Mi’kmaq First Nation.  He grew up in and currently resides in the community of Scotchfort, Abegweit First Nation on Prince Edward Island. Jacob graduated with a Diploma in Information Systems Management from Nova Scotia Institute of Technology in 2003. A few years of working in this area, fueled his ambition to become an entrepreneur. He was the sole proprietor of an IT supply business for 12 years, and then accepted an operator/management position with the Abegweit First Nation where he has worked since 2012. There he was tasked with a large project to upgrade/replace an outdated water system with modern infrastructure technologies. With this experience, Jacob’s ambition was fueled again to bring more positive infrastructure projects to his community; to develop a plan to harness new clean energy technologies and build capacity and resources for Abegweit First Nation.  Jacob is excited to be part of the 2020 Catalyst cohort, to be part of a team and to gain new knowledge to support his community with new energy initiatives.

Jessica Winters

Inuit Region of Nunatsiavut

Jessica Winters and is from the Inuit region of Nunatsiavut, Labrador. In December of 2018 she graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a undergraduate degree in Biology of Ecology and Conservation. Last winter she attended the SevenGen Indigenous Student Energy Summit in Calgary – during this time she worked at the Nunatsiavut Government as a Regional Youth Strategy Facilitator, where she produced a report on youth wants and needs within othe Inuit communities. More recently she worked as a Project Scientist for JASCO Applied Sciences conducting marine mammal analysis from underwater acoustics. Jessica is now a part-time project scientist and full time Community Energy Lead for the Nunatsiavut Government. As a conservationist she has always been interested in sustainable energy, efficiency and waste reduction, so she is very excited to enter this field. She’s eager to learn as much as she possibly can from this cohort so she is better prepared to develop community energy plans in her region. 

Kendra McGregor

Whitefish River First Nation

Kendra is an Anishnaabe woman and proud member of Whitefish River First Nation. Kendra is also a Mother to 1 son who has always been her driving motivaiton and inspiration. Kendra is currently serving her community as the Energy Advisor. She has had experience in both the health and buisness fields. Kendra always knew she wanted to make a positive difference and change in her community, and now she is very excited to have that opportunity. Kendra is now currently working on, and committed to clean energy initiatives for her home community while also incorporating the traditional ways of the Whitefish River First Nation peoples.

Mason Morley

Fort Chipewyan 

Mason is representing the Metis Local 125 located in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. He works with Elders, and different community members doing maintenance work, landscaping, grounds keeping and project drudgery. Recently, he has been tasked with consulting and training from various industries to bring clean energy and jobs to his northern hamlet. He is interested in environmentally friendly technologies and is very passionate about reducing all types of pollution in multiple ecosystems; not only locally but maybe globally. His hobbies include personal development and artistry of self. Some of the skills he possess are: dynamic problem solving, technological literacy, and the many safe work practices obtained over his lifetime, both; in the field and inside the classroom. The achievements of education along side on-site training he has or will receive will further misunderstanding of the growing environmental impacts of clean and un-clean energy allowing him to pursue more professional roles and responsibilities where ever this beautiful life may take him. 

Mike Bellegarde 

Little Black Bear First Nation

Mike Bellegarde is a member of the Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty #4 territory and he currently works for the Saskatoon Tribal Council as the Community Economic Developer. He is very interested in assisting Indigenous communities to plan and implement clean energy projects as a part of their economic development strategy. Having recently graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Executive MBA program in Indigenous Business and Leadership, Mike is well prepared to help guide communities into a sustainable future. In addition to the many small changes that Mike’s family have made to be more sustainable at home, he is also eagerly awaiting delivery of a Tesla Cyber Truck sometime in 2021. 

Morgan Calliou

Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement 

Morgan is Metis from Paddle Prairie Metis settlement. She was raised with strong cultural practices and family ties. She had many types of jobs in her life and great teachers along the way guiding her to realize her passion, which is the environment and indigenous rights. She wants her community to be resilient and flourish with green practices as is their inherent right to live off the land. Being led to this part of her life was game changing not only for her community to move forward but for her career to start developing bigger goals. It has been two years since she started working in the climate leadership department for Paddle Prairie as the Solar Assistant. She is  involved in many types of projects within the Settlement, not strictly solar projects. One of my favorite ones involves climate workshops for the children in our local school. She loves that she can have this opportunity to make a difference that will surely have long lasting effects for generations to come.

Nathan Kaye

Zagime Anishinabek Nation

Nathan Kaye is from the Zagime Anishinabek Nation, in Treaty Four territory. Nathan is currently enrolled in, what he considers strategic education program for the benefit of his people, a Financial Services degree program with a keen interest in sustainable finance for renewable energy initiatives. Nathan is an advocate for the importance of Indigenous knowledge, youth and Elder inclusion, and environmental initiatives. He was on the organizing committee for SevenGen, an Indigenous Student Energy Summit hosting over 200 Indigenous youth from all across Canada, to learn about green energy opportunities as well as network with professionals currently in the renewable energy space in one way or another. He has aspirations to work with Indigenous communities and organizations to bring green initiatives and projects to light for either a community or organization while encouraging Indigenous youth to actively play a role in being stewards of the land.

Penny Polchies

St. Mary’s First Nation

Millicent (Penny) Polchies is the Economic Development Manager with the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI).  In this role, Penny leads a team providing all aspects of Indigenous economic development and sustainability; they also build supports within the realm of Indigenous entrepreneurship.  A big believer in sustainable Indigenous economies, Penny supports communities who strive for success.

Penny has spent 25 years in Indigenous economic and labour market initiatives; where she created a provincial network of employment and training officers (ETOs) and facilitated the creation and implementation of their career practitioner certification and training. This was done in partnership with the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) and resulted in one of the largest Indigenous groups in Canada, becoming certified ETOs.

Indigenous inclusion is very important to Penny.  She is a strong advocate for inclusion in the work place and equal opportunity for business development.  Penny brings awareness to the systematic barriers that the Indigenous population faces; and in support of this, led JEDI to the creation of JEDI’s Indigenous Reconciliation Awareness Module, focusing on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92.

Steven Crowchild

Tsuut’ina Nation

Steven Crowchild (Ninagha Naʔitsidi) is a Tsuut’ina Isgiya, father, and elected member of the Tsuut’ina Nation Chief and Council. Steven holds the Governance and Administration Portfolio and sits on the Education Board. Prior to being elected to council in November 2019, Steven worked in the areas of Tsuut’ina language and culture revitalization and education and has been directly involved in the development and piloting of various initiatives and projects such as app development, curriculum development, culture camps, language nest, mentor-apprentice initiative, animation, language/culture film projects, professional development initiatives, recording projects, and so much more.

Steven is passionate about being a good ancestor and works to create a sustainable future by advocating for the transition towards more clean, sustainable, and renewable energy use within Tsuut’ina and abroad. Steven is also a huge advocate for food sovereignty initiatives, language and culture revitalization initiatives, sustainable development, treaty rights, and other areas. Steven carries with him a deep sense of love and responsibility to the land, water, his Tsuut’ina people and future generations.

Teresa Harrigan

Rama First Nation

Teresa Harrigan is the Lands & Environmental Specialist for the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. She holds an HBASc in Environmental Sustainability from Lakehead University. While attending university, she was employed with Rama First Nation to manage the development of her community’s very first Community Energy Plan. Since 2019, Teresa has been working within the Lands Department on projects outlined as priorities under their Land Code. Teresa is very passionate about sustainability, energy efficiency, clean energy generation, and effective land management. Teresa strives for the betterment of her community, and within her role, has the opportunity to help preserve the environment and culture of Rama First Nation for future members.  As she is fairly new to the energy field, she is extremely enthusiastic about learning new renewable technologies, while also improving her current skillset. In her spare time, you will find her exploring the outdoors with her dogs. 

Una Gott

Sandy Lake First Nation

Una is a single mother of two very special boys. She’s worked very hard to get where she is in life because of them. She has graduated from Confederation College in 2015 studying Police Foundations. She is a firm believer of leaving the world a better place for the children. Children, are the future. She currently lives in her hometown of Sandy Lake and proud to represent that. She has been working as the Community Energy Adviser since December 2015 and will be hitting the 5 year mark. She truly enjoys what she does, loves working towards a goal, and she loves entire process of the learning journey. 

Valerie Kogvik

Gjoa Haven 

I am the Community Economic Development Officer (CEDO) for the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven since July 2019 and have successfully been training with Algonquin College, taking part in the Project Management Essentials Program. I have a great passion for helping the Community of Gjoa Haven where I’ve accomplished all my goals for finishing Elementary, Junior and High School, I graduated grade 12 in 2008 of April. I believe education is key to a brighter future, I believe each day is a learning phase of our lives, by working hard to strive for my daily goals, and I never hesitate to give a helping hand to those who are in need. I have a great passion for helping my community’s youth. I have been involved with the King William United Soccer Program for Gjoa Haven Athletes since it was founded in 2016. As a member of the Nunavut Territory and in time of change, my skills and knowledge of times of change will adapt as time goes on. I am always eager to learn each day, and I believe in making great changes and being a role model to those who are the future entrepreneurs of our nation.