Spotlight Symposium

Indigenous Leadership and Environmental Sustainability


Friday, 25 October

10:15 – 11:30


Shaw Centre

Meeting Room 208

Available For Sponsorship

Click here for details.

Spotlight Symposium – Indigenous Leadership and Environmental Sustainability

Join Chris Henderson (Lumos Energy), Dr.Yogendra Chaudhry (Eco-Canada) and Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull (Quebec Cree First Nations) as they discuss two of Canada’s most successful training programs for Indigenous Clean Energy (Catalyst 20/20 and BEAHR), and the implications of Clean Energy for Indigenous Communities’ socioeconomic sustainability. This session is chaired by Professor Sharon O’Sullivan, Telfer School of Management (UOttawa).

Many Indigenous communities in Canada are seeking ways to improve their economic situation. With cultural traditions that are closely tied to the environment and communities adjacent to natural resources that are ideal for sustainable development they are, in many respects, ideally positioned to lead environmental projects that can support their environmental and traditional values and provide their communities with a long-term revenue stream (Henderson, 2013).

Although several Indigenous communities have already successfully adopted environmental technologies; the leaders of other communities could benefit from capacity building for sustainable project management decisions (Henderson, 2013) and ‘entry level’ human resource capacity in clean energy technologies. (Analytica Advisors, 2017).

The two organizations participating in this panel are notable not only by their leadership in  cultivating trusting relationships with Indigenous communities, but also by the quality of Clean Energy training they have provided to them. The participating regional deputy grand Chief of an Indigenous Nation is also essential to this panel because of her firsthand knowledge of the implications of energy projects for Indigenous communities.

The panel members will share their experiences  with mobilizing knowledge about best practices for building capacity and establishing developmental learning relationships that engage Indigenous participants and support their community development – critical to solving the greatest crisis facing all of humanity today: Climate Change.

Expected learning outcomes will include:

  • For Indigenous communities: Opportunity to reflect on how Indigenous communities are building greater capacity and adding to the pipeline of talent for Cleantech related work

  • For the local Cleantech sector: Opportunity to receive feedback from the public about the work they have been doing, including potential opportunities to gain further sponsors (private and/or public sector) and scale up their work for other Indigenous communities.

  • For the participating leaders of the training program: Opportunity to learn what training/mentoring methods have worked for Indigenous leadership in the environmental sector, and to explore the applicability of similar methods to their context.


STREAMS:  This panel will be of interest to two of the conference streams: Stream # 5 (Indigenous and First Nations Leadership) & #8 (Sustainability Leadership)

Chris Henderson 225 x 300

Chris Henderson, Program Director and Lead Mentor with the Indigenous Clean Energy: 20/20 Catalysts Program

Chris is the pre-eminent Clean Energy Advisor to Aboriginal communities. He advises Chiefs and Councils, Tribal Groups and Aboriginal Economic Development Corporations on how to effectively secure and leverage partnership positions in clean energy projects across Canada.

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Chris also guides utilities, financial firms, corporations and governments on engaging and partnering with Aboriginal communities. Chris has catalyzed clean energy projects in every Canadian province and territory. Chris is Program Director and Lead Mentor with the Indigenous Clean Energy: 20/20 Catalysts Program, an award-winning interactive three-month program that connects First Nations, Inuit and Métis Catalysts to a network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Clean Energy Project Mentors and Coaching Specialists involved in clean energy project development. His book, Aboriginal Power, was published in 2013.

Yogendra Chaudhry 225 x 300

Yogendra Chaudhry,Vice President of Eco-Canada

Yogendra provides strategic insight and technical support for environment and sustainability programs and works closely with a diverse range of stakeholders including government, industry, indigenous groups and the environment and sustainability professionals.

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Yogendra leads ECO Canada’s Indigenous partnerships and training initiatives. In 2001, a partnership between ECO Canada and the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (recently re-named Indigenous Works) saw the initiation of the BEAHR project as a means to increasing Aboriginal participation in the environmental sector. This led to the BEAHR Training Programs in 2006, a series of environmental training programs for Aboriginal learners (First Nation, Metis, and Inuit) that combine formal and informal methods of learning, blending both traditional and scientific knowledge.

Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull 225 x 300

Mandy Gull, Deputy Grand Chief of the Cree Nation

First elected to public office in 2014, Mandy served as Deputy Chief of her home community, the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi.

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Mandy held the Finance, Administration, Housing and Mining negotiation portfolios on the Executive Committee and led files that included mandates in the implementation of financial management and strategic planning for the community. As negotiator holding the mining portfolio, she was heavily involved in ensuring a strong relationship with, and understanding of, the mining industry and the companies operating in the Cree territory. She was instrumental in establishing Waswanipi as a key player within its traditional territory and ensuring that mining exploration would be carried out so as to be aligned with community concerns and environmental protection. Mandy has also represented the community in its efforts to protect the last intact forest in the Cree territory.

Sharon L. O'Sullivan

Moderator:  Sharon O’Sullivan, Professor of Human Resources Management at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

Sharon has conducted research and taught in the areas of cross-cultural management and international training and career development for the past 20 years.  She has recently been awarded a SSHRC grant to document Indigenous participants’ learning experiences with developmental work relationship training programs for sustainability.