Elevating Indigenous Businesses

Sobey School Impact Speaker Series

Our inaugural event in the Sobey School of Business Impact Speaker Series is Elevating Indigenous Businesses. It is important that Sobey School of Business, and business schools across the country, actively consider what the Truth and Reconciliation report means in our environment and context. This event is part of an ongoing conversation to ensure we are providing opportunities for recognition, reflection and reconciliation. This FREE, IN-PERSON event will take place from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm AST on Friday, November 19, 2021 at the SMU Scotiabank Theatre.

Event recording

Event Emcee: Kyle Cook, Vice President of Advocacy, Saint Mary’s University Student Association (SMUSA)
1:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Showcase of Cultural Elements, featuring L’nu drumming and dancing with special guests Garrett Gloade, Patience Sylliboy and Jesse Benjamin
2 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.
Opening Remarks and Elder Pray and Smudging, featuring Elder Cathy Martin, President of Saint Mary's University Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, Nova Scotia Premier, Tim Houston, and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Sobeys Inc. Heather DeBlois
2:40 p.m. - 3:10 p.m. 
Virtual Keynote Address: Re-valuing Indigenous Worldview in Business, featuring Carol Anne Hilton
3:10 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Panel Discussion, moderated by Cassandra Dorrington and featuring, Michael Maracle-Polak, Jesse Benjamin and Stephane Lavc, as well as video message from Natteal Battiste
4 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Live Q & A section
4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closing remarks featuring, Dean of the Sobey School of Business Dr. Harjeet Bhabra and Sobey School of Business Executive-In-Residence Ian D. Smith, Cheif Executive Officer, Clearwater Seafoods Limited Partnership. 
Garrett Gloade - Garrett Gloade of Millbrook First Nation is a pow wow singer & cultural knowledge keeper and lifelong learner. He has sang and performed with Award winning “A Tribe Called Mi’kmaq”, “Eastern Eagle”, “Iron Tide Singers” & “Cree Confederation”. He has also shared the drum and stage with Grammy Nominated Northern Cree & Randy Wood.

Dancer Patience Sylliboy - Jingle Dress, Millbrook First Nation

Dancer Jesse Benjamin - fancy shawl, Eskasoni Mi’kmaw Nation

Elder Cathy Martin - Cathy Martin is a member of the Millbrook Mi’kmaw Band. She is an award-winning filmmaker, an independent producer and the first Mi’kmaq filmmaker from the Atlantic Region. Cathy has also previously worked as a Native Education Counsellor with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaw based at Dalhousie campus and was the first co-chair (along with Senator Don Oliver) of the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq law program at the Schulich School of Law. Cathy was appointed the Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at MSVU 2015. She is a 2017 recipient of the Order of Canada and is currently working as Dalhousie University’s Director of Indigenous community engagement.    
We will also be showcasing the SMU Community Drum.
a person sitting on a stool with their hand on their chin.

"Re-valuing Indigenous Worldview in Business"

Carol Anne Hilton is a multi-award-winning business leader with an extensive background in community social, business and economic development. She is committed to increasing the visibility and inclusion of Indigenous business and economic growth globally, with a focus on multi-generational Indigenous wealth creation and impact, nationally and globally. Carol Anne is the CEO and founder of The Indigenomics Institute.

Cassandra Dorrington

Cassandra Dorrington is the President & CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), championing business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginal and Minority suppliers. Known for her involvement in both the business and community environment, Cassandra has been named one of Diversity Canada’s Influential Women in Diversity and HR. She sits on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) for the Government of Canada, Elevate International, and Dalhousie University Board of Governors. Cassandra is a Sobey School EMBA graduate and a former member of the Sobey School of Business Advisory Council.

Mike Maracle-Polak

Michael is a SMU Husky Alumnus, with a degree in Commerce followed by a Masters of Innovation from Queens University. Michael is dedicated to leveraging Indigenous pathways to solve global problems through his gift of Two Eyed Seeing. By incorporating principles from the Haudenosaunee Great Law into modern Innovation frameworks like Design Thinking and Agile, to develop what Michael refers to as “Creation Centered Design,” he is committed to helping organizations and community reconcile colonial science and ancient Indigenous knowledge.

Michael is also known as Ken’niwahkwahrita:a (Little Dipper) and is Mohawk, Bear Clan. His current roles include Portfolio Manager Atlantic, Media & Entertainment and National Chair, Royal Eagles Indigenous Community at RBC; Co-Chair, Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the City of Toronto and President, Akwekon Enterprises.

Jesse Benjamin

Jesse Benjamin graduated from SMU with a Bachelor of Science. She is a mother of four, a personal trainer, a veterinarian, fancy shawl dancer, and Mi’kmaq artisan. She is the founder of Two Eyed Wellness, helping Indigenous people reclaim their health and holistic wellness through fitness and nutrition programs that combine modern knowledge with traditional Indigenous knowledge and values. Jesse also works at the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre as the Active Living Community Coordinator. She loves animals, fitness, education, and empowering others to be their true authentic selves and pursue their passions.


Stéphane Levac

Nova Scotia forager and Indigenous chef, Stéphane Levac made his name with the launch of his own catering business, Frais Catering, in the Annapolis Valley with his partner, Sarah Morrison. Since then, he has worked in the kitchen at Studio East in Halifax under Chef Ray Bear and has also been the kitchen supervisor at Just Us! Coffee Roasters. He appeared on Season 9 of Top Chef Canada and was also Chef at popular drink and eatery, Maritime Express Cider Company. In October 2021, he appeared as a featured chef at Devour! The Food Film Fest.