Dr. Susanne Thiessen, Associate: Research, Writer, Facilitator
Susanne is an educational leader who has over twenty years of success in designing inclusive programming and curriculum and in modelling teaching practices that engage diverse learners in post-secondary settings in the areas of cross-cultural leadership, diversity and inclusion, strategic HRM and leadership development.
She has facilitated numerous workshops and seminars in classrooms, boardrooms and in Indigenous communities locally and internationally, that incorporate Indigenous values and approaches to frame analysis, and to inform research, business and leadership practices. Her methods have proven to engage participants and created opportunities for respectful, honest and meaningful dialogue that have inspired leadership development or supported participants in creating better alignment between organizational strategy, culture and organizational programs and policies.
Susanne has an MBA from the University of Victoria and holds a Doctorate of Business Administration with a focus in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University in Arizona. Her qualitative research explores First Nations cultural approaches to work and the relationship to employee engagement. With ancestral roots in Haida Gwaii and Metlakatla, Alaska, she now resides with her family on unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Victoria, BC.
Charlene Everson, Associate: Logistics, Executive Coordinator
Charlene was born and raised in Comox BC on Vancouver Island and is a member of the K’omoks First Nation. Charlene carries the name Xanusa’mega from the Walas Kwakiutl. She and her family are active participants in the cultural traditions of the Kwakwaka’wakw or Kwakwala speaking peoples.
Charlene has worked in her community for the past 7 years in various positions. Her primary role has been as an education coordinator, but has also worked assistant researcher, capacity development worker, cultural coordinator, and executive assistant. As education coordinator she has served as Chair of the Aboriginal Education Councils at North Island College and at School District 71. She also served as a director on the First Nation Education Steering Committee where sat as Chair on the Post-Secondary Sub Committee.
Charlene has a diploma in Indigenous Community Development and Governance from the University of Victoria. She believes in the integrity of cultural knowledge as the foundation of good governance and strong sovereign nations.
Mary Knox, Associate: Facilitator, Program Management, Indigenous Community Engagement
Mary Knox is from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation and currently, residing in the Cowichan Valley area.
Mary has strong cultural acumen and management skills, she is currently the Manager, Aboriginal Health – Central Island. Mary was contracted as Manager of Indigenous Engagement, Cowichan District Hospital Replacement Project with Island Health. She previously work with the Chiefs Health Committee, First Nations Health Council and the Public Health Agency of Canada both regionally and nationally. Mary served for several years as a Health Advocate in the arena of Non-Insured Health Benefits and brings a combined 20+ years’ experience working in First Nations health. Previous positions in community-based, provincial and national health agencies have provided Mary a unique fluency in the dialogue on First Nations Health.
Mary’s active participation in family potlatches has connected her with having a strong cultural identity, whereby this helped determine her career path. Recognizing and respecting cultural differences between her own people and other First Nations neighbors among whom she now works; she appreciates the opportunity to learn. Her short-term international work in Norway only added to her interest in the area of Health and Social determinates.
Mary’s goal is to serve First Nations peoples to the best of her ability, and strive to build a better future for children and families.
Danielle Mitchell, Associate: Facilitator, Project Management
Danielle was born, raised, and continues to be a grateful guest on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations. Danielle is Plains Cree and Métis with ancestral connections to communities in Treaty 6 Territory through her father’s lineage. She also honors her French, Irish, Scottish and English (maternal & paternal) roots.
Danielle is a proud Auntie and early Cree language learner who looks forward to one day returning to her home communities to continue her language and culture journey. She is passionate about social justice, Indigenous leadership and working collectively to build anti-racist, equitable, wellness-centred practices, organizations and systems.
Danielle’s experience is in the areas of systems transformation, organizational and leadership development, HRM and project management. Danielle is a senior leader within the health and social services sector working with organizations to address anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination through strategic, structural, practice and policy changes. Danielle holds a Master of Arts in Leadership degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.
Cody Dawson, Associate: Video Services
Cody Dawson is Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw. Cody is a young Indigenous entrepreneur, establishing his videography and photography business after completing his Diploma in Visual Arts at Camosun College in 2014. Cody has had the honor of creating videos for the BC Government, the University of Victoria, Island Marine Aquatic Working Group, the Royal BC Museum, the Breakfast Club of Canada, Groundswell / Tahltan First Nation, and assisted with the Comox Valley Art Gallery / Kumugwe exhibit Potlatch 6767 filming of the grand opening and feast.