Business | Canada

Lisa Charleyboy: Group helps young Natives succeed in business





Lisa Charleyboy reports on efforts by the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada to help young Natives succeed in urban settings:
Gabrielle Scrimshaw's story is a twist on the classic Bright Lights Big City tale: a young 20-something moves from a small town to the biggest city in Canada, and can't find her feet.

But unlike James McInerney's novel of the same name, in this version the 20-something in question is not overwhelmed by her new surroundings. Instead, Scrimshaw broadens her path to urban success, so that others can make the same leap.

A Denesuline from Hatchet Lake First Nation, Scrimshaw grew up in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, population 810. After graduating in the top five per cent of her class with a business degree from the University of Saskatchewan in April 2010, she found herself on the executive track at Royal Bank of Canada, accepted into the bank's competitive Graduate Leadership Program.

That meant moving to the biggest city in Canada.

"No one in my family had ever worked for a large corporation," said Scrimshaw. She was lonely. She yearned for a place where she could feel centred in her culture, while at the same time pursuing her professional ambitions. But to her surprise there was not one organization in the Greater Toronto Area that fulfilled that mandate. So, she set out to create it, working through Toronto's DiverseCity Fellows program to co-found the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada, or APAC.

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Lisa Charleyboy: Professional Networking, Indigenous-Styles (The Tyee 4/1)