Free Discussion Forum
Our panel of experts will discuss and debate the business and corporate social responsibility case for engaging Indigenous employees in the workplace. Learn what employers, managers and HR professionals should know about creating an Indigenous inclusion strategy.
Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO, Indigenous Works (formerly the Aboriginal Human Resource Council)
Kelly is a social entrepreneur who is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators of workplace inclusion and partnership building. His dynamic communications style and social entrepreneurial success has earned him the reputation as an engaging thought leader, facilitator, and effective bridge-builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and companies creating trusted partnerships for new social and economic capital across Canada and abroad. A proud Canadian indigenous leader of Cree and Métis ancestry, he moves seamlessly between both worlds fostering a spirit of trust, relationship and healthy partnerships.
Leanne M. Bellegarde, Q.C., Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Nutrien (formerly PotashCorp)
Leanne M. Bellegarde is from Treaty 4 territory and is a member of the Peepeekisis First Nation. She fosters mutually beneficial relationships with First Nations and Métis people for economic prosperity with an emphasis on employment and business opportunities directly and through Nutrien’s local supply chain.
She completed her law degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 1991 and was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1993. Leanne has accumulated variety of experience over her career. She worked at the U of S Edwards School of Business leading Aboriginal Initiatives before joining Nutrien. She has also been engaged with the settlement of Treaty land entitlement, worked for SaskTel, been a solicitor with the City of Saskatoon, advised the FSIN, had her own law practice, and worked with Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority. Leanne was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2017.
Thomas Benjoe, President & CEO, FHQ Developments
Thomas Benjoe is from the Muscowpetung First Nation. He has a Bachelor of Administration from First Nations University of Canada/University of Regina and is a Certified Professional Director.
Thomas is a founding Board of Director’s member for FHQ Developments and served 6 years on the Board. FHQ Developments is the Economic Development Corporation for the File Hill’s Qu’Appelle Tribal Council that manages Partnerships and new Business Ventures on behalf of its Limited Partners, the 11 First Nations of FHQTC. FHQ Developments also provides services to its Limited Partners through Community Economic Development and Employment & Retention Services.
Sherman Kong, Business Development & Industry Engagement Manager, AMIK
Sherman has been closely involved with the Indigenous community for the last 15 years. He holds a degree in Economics & Business from the University of Manitoba and has worked at many large Canadian corporations such as RBC, First Nations Bank, The Business Development Bank of Canada, as well as private for-profit and non-profit organizations. In all his roles, he’s always had a connection with the Indigenous community in a variety of capacities including as a founding board member for Manitoba’s largest First Nation development corporation, and as a consultant.
As an entrepreneur, Sherman has worked with businesses stretching from Japan, China, Scotland, and the United States. After working with Polar Bears in Churchill, Sherman founded Maple Leaf Survival™ – Manitoba’s Leader in Survival Training – where he teaches mostly private industry on Wilderness and Extreme Cold Weather Survival Tactics. His clients have included Manitoba Hydro, Stantec Consulting, First Nation communities, arctic research teams, and military service members from the U.S. Airforce to name a few.
Sherman is currently the Business Development & Industry Engagement Manager for AMIK Inc. assisting Canadian companies such as CN Rail, Great West Life, Assiniboine Credit Union, and PCL Construction with strategic Indigenous Engagement Solutions.