Margaret Kenequanash, a prominent First Nations leader and energy executive, will share her powerful story next week when she addresses the Brock community as the Goodman School of Business 2021 Distinguished Leader.
Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power, will detail her leadership journey and experience leading what will be Canada’s largest First Nations-owned infrastructure project at a virtual event on Thursday, Oct. 28.
Each year, the Goodman School of Business honours a prominent Canadian business leader and connects the recipient with Goodman students and the broader Brock community.
For more than a decade, Kenequanash has been championing the Wataynikaneyap Power Project, an endeavour between 24 First Nations to bring power to 17 remote communities that are currently powered by diesel fuel. Wataynikaneyap, which means ‘line that brings light’ in Anishiniiniimowin, represents more than the power it will supply the communities — it also reflects the socio-economic opportunities it will bring for future generations.
The 1,800-kilometre, up to $1.9-billion transmission line has a 2023 target completion date and has First Nations majority ownership, in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors. Kenequanash ensures that the work between all the partners is anchored in First Nations protocols, culture and respect for the land and the environment.
Kenequanash thanked the Goodman School of Business for the Distinguished Leader recognition, which she said she is accepting on behalf of “our People and our partners.”
“I am honoured to have been asked to share insights on my own personal journey, successful business partnerships and meaningful engagement with First Nations with Ontario’s future business leaders,” Kenequanash said.
“The Wataynikaneyap Power Project is an unprecedented undertaking, majority owned by First Nations controlling the development in their homelands. I hope students will be inspired to think about new, innovative partnership models for the 21st century as they embark on their own careers.”
Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes called it an “honour to have Margaret Kenequanash accept our invitation to be recognized as our Distinguished Leader for 2021.”
“We discuss with our students how the actions of one person can impact many,” he said. “Margaret is a shining example, where her collaborative approach to leadership and holistic perspective on project management can lead to a positive transformation in the lives of an entire community.”
Kenequanash has more than 30 years of experience working with First Nations and Tribal Councils in senior positions, was the first female Chief of her community, North Caribou Lake First Nation, and has significant experience in the fields of financial, health and project management and supporting community development initiatives.
Prior to the public event, she will have a virtual roundtable with Goodman Student Leaders, sharing personal leadership insights from her experiences.
Kenequanash will then join Gaudes in conversation in an online fireside chat from 3 to 4 p.m. and everyone is welcome to virtually attend. To receive a link to the event livestream, register here. The Distinguished Leaders event is supported by the Willmot Foundation and is part of the D.G. Willmot Leader Series.
Past recipients of the Distinguished Leader award include Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General of Ontario; Michael Lee-Chin, Founder and Chairman of Portland Holdings and Chairman and CEO of Mandeville Private Client Inc.; Julia Deans, CEO, Habitat for Humanity; and Ned Goodman of Dundee Corporation, among others.