March 7, 2019 – Ohsweken, ON – Today, Indspire announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Nicole Bourque-Bouchier and Maatalii Okalik. Both appointees bring diverse and extensive Indigenous experience in business and public service to the Board.
Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, Mikisew Cree First Nation
Nicole Bourque-Bouchier, the 2018 Indspire Award recipient for Business and Commerce, is a business leader, philanthropist, and advocate for Indigenous women’s economic empowerment. As co-owner and Chief Executive Officer of The Bouchier Group, one of Alberta’s largest Indigenous-owned companies, she is one of the most influential women in Canada. In 2015, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. A member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Bourque-Bouchier was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta. On February 18, 2019, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business named Nicole as the recipient of the 2019 Indigenous Women in Leadership Award.
“I was absolutely honoured to be asked to consider the board position with Indspire,” said Bourque-Bouchier. “The Bouchier Group supports many educational and youth initiatives each year and it’s important to correlate what we are doing locally with Indspire’s efforts across Canada. With 40% of our employee base being of Indigenous descent we would like to understand how we can contribute earlier on to Indigenous education, ultimately leading to meaningful employment for our peoples.”
Maatalii Okalik, Inuit Nunaat
Maatalii Okalik is a proud Inuk from Nunavut. In her former role as President of the National Inuit Youth Council from 2015-2017 she represented Inuit youth in Canada from the Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut regions, building awareness and understanding of the circumstances of Inuit youth locally, nationally, and internationally.
She spent the majority of her career as a public servant for the Government of Nunavut, most recently as the Chief of Protocol with the Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs and formerly as an advisor at the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. She is completing her undergraduate degree in Political Science at Carleton University. Maatalii is the 2017 Indspire Award recipient for Inuit Youth.
“Education is very important to me,” said Okalik. “I recognize that there are many ways that First Nation, Inuit and Métis education is not equitable in investment, access and quality and I see Indspire as a positive pathway for Indigenous people to reach their individual goals and contribute to their communities and to Canada as a country. I am pleased to work alongside a dedicated Indspire board, staff and community who also prioritizes and celebrates Indigenous excellence. We will work together to ensure that more Inuit have access to investment in their quality education.”
The addition of these two new board members is welcomed by all staff and Board Directors at Indspire. “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Nicole and Maatalii to our Board of Directors,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. They bring unique new perspectives on the work that we do in supporting Indigenous youth to achieve their potential through education. Their respective contributions to the areas of business, philanthropy, language and culture will be of tremendous benefit to the future direction of our organization.”
Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students will achieve their highest potential. In 2017-18 Indspire awarded $14.2 million through 4,900 scholarships and bursaries to Indigenous students across Canada.