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Speakers

The 2024 Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurship Camp Speakers


Program Coordinator and Lecturer, Indigenous Business & Public Administration


Associate Dean, Community, Research, and Graduate Programs
Associate Professor, Indigenous Business & Public Administration


Lecturer, Indigenous Business & Public Administration

Guest Speakers

Michelle Brooks, Owner, Brooks HR Group & Venue B Coffee Lounge & Events

Driven by a passion for advancing reconciliation, Michelle owns two businesses in Regina focused on creating and enhancing careers, entrepreneurship, and leadership opportunities for Indigenous people. Her HR company, Brooks HR Group, collaborates closely with dedicated employers who share the goal of building a diverse Indigenous workforce across all organizational levels. Michelle has developed the Reconciliation Action & Accountability Network (RAAN) and works with network members to create and implement Indigenous inclusive strategies, initiatives, and action plans. Her company conducts training sessions on recruitment-focused Indigenous awareness and best practices, speaks at conferences and forums about these topics, and works with Indigenous students and professionals on career strategy.

Michelles second business is Venue B Coffee Lounge & Events. In addition to being a specialty coffee shop, caf矇, and catering service, the business transforms into an event centre after hours. This is more than a coffee shop, it is a way for Michelle to advance reconciliation by bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together in a social setting. Michelle learned how to start businesses by doing her own research and loves to share her knowledge to help other Indigenous people who want to become entrepreneurs.

Michelle believes that career and industry awareness and strategic collaboration between Indigenous career seekers and employers are the most effective ways to create impactful opportunities across diverse industries.

Christine Marie, CEO & Owner, Awsis Boutique

Christine Marie, a Filipino/M矇tis mother of two, launched Awsis Boutique in February 2018 as an online shop. Awsis means child in Cree. It is the first Indigenous-inspired baby and kids fashion shop in Western Canada. After noticing a gap in the market for Indigenous-inspired clothing for babies and kids in Canada, she set out to fill this gap. Her aim was not only to provide little ones with fashion pieces that connect them with their language and culture but also to educate others about Indigenous culture.

Christine started off by sewing baby drool bibs, aprons, and blankets. She also offered a selection of onesies and toddler tees featuring phrases in Cree and English languages. Since then, she has expanded her product selection with pieces for the entire family to keep up with the demand. Now recognized as a national brand, a selection of products also includes items made with authentic, Indigenous-themed fabric prints. You can find some of the goods in all of the Wanuskewin Gift Shops, Ready Set Baby, Groovy Mama Shop, and the USASK store.

A teacher by trade, she did not know how to launch a business, start an online shop, or begin an Instagram page. She set out to work part-time hours as her children were 1 and 4 at the time. The plan was to slowly build her business so that she could still spend quality time with her boys and be ready to dive in full-time when they were both in school. September 2022 marked the transition into full-time hours, hiring three part-time staff to keep up with the demand.

Awsis Boutique would not have grown as it has over the last few years without the incredible support of customers, suppliers, and collaborations. In June 2021, a successful “Every Child Matters” tee campaign was launched. Within 45 minutes, 600 tees were sold. Proceeds of $9,375 were donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. By the end of September, an additional $15,000+ was donated to the Legacy of Hope Foundation and the SPSchools Literacy program. In the Summer/Fall of 2022, over $30,000 was raised from a successful orange tee campaign in collaboration with The Jilly Box/Jillian Harris.

In 2023, Awsis Boutique opened their first retail space at 808 Broadway in Saskatoon. As of 2024, over 100K has been donated back into the community. Christine is passionate about making an impact beyond the business sector. Her aim is to do her part in revitalizing the Indigenous language, which was lost, be intentional about educating others about the culture, give back to organizations that support all things related to babies and families, and act on the calls of reconciliation by engaging in relationships and business partnerships with non-Indigenous people.

Kelsey Coutts & Destiny Houshte (Hoostie), Co-owners, Bangin Bannock

Bangin’ Bannock is a social enterprise that specializes in creating and selling traditional and cultural Indigenous foods, with a focus on bannock. Our mission is to celebrate Indigenous culture through authentic cuisine, promoting economic sustainability and empowerment. We educate and inspire through food, fostering community, growth and prosperity. Bangin’ Bannock will empower and uplift future generations through economic sustainability rooted in traditional values while sharing the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous cuisine.

Bangin’ Bannock is not just a business, it’s a symbol of empowerment and community engagement. As an Indigenous-owned, woman-powered enterprise, we take pride in our roots and use them as a driving force behind our operations.Every decision we make, and every product we produce, is imbued with a deep respect for our heritage and a commitment to serving our community. We believe in the power of unity and strive to create a space where everyone feels welcome and appreciated.

Kelsey Coutts, Co-owner, Bangin Bannock

Hadih/Hello, My name is Kelsey Coutts. My father is Jay Coutts (Okimaw)- who is Nakazdli Dakelh, and my Mum is Gina Coutts (Blaney)- of Irish/Scottish isles descent. I am the oldest of seven sisters, who inspire me every day (whether they know it or not), and the proud guardian of a gentleman house weasel (Ferret) named Vincent.

Currently, I am residing on the unceded traditional territories of the x妢m庛k妢ym (Musqueam), S廎硬x戔w繳7mesh (Squamish), and slilwta优 (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Aside from my journey with Bangin Bannock, I also work in the events industry, presently holding a role in operations management for a non-profit contemporary indigenous traveling festival that focuses on bringing high level production entertainment to areas with little resources, while training youth, live broadcast streaming of events, and keeping the whole operation free and accessible.

Bangin Bannock was created in a way like Frybread itself was created- out of necessity and limited options. During what felt like a strange dark period of pandemic a beautiful business was born with a vision to share, to uplift, to represent, and to succeed for our future generations. Bangin Bannock, as simple as a bag of flour can be, has taught me so much- not only about business, but about life and about myself.

Mussi

Destiny Houshte (Hoostie), Co-owner, Bangin Bannock

Amb獺 wast矇 (good day), In our Nakoda language we say Good Day, because we honour today as a gift. My name is Destiny Houshte (Hoostie). I am a Nakoda/Assiniboine from my maternal side, and Norweigan/German on my paternal side. I am the daughter to Cynthia Hoostie and Michael Lewis. I am a registered treaty member of White Bear First Nation, in Southern Saskatchewan in Treaty 4 Territory. I was born in BC and raised on the Unceded Traditional Territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.

Currently, I reside on my traditional territory of Regina, SK where I am raising my three children. I am a graduate of a Bachelor’s of Social Work from NVIT, an Indigenous-based program. In 2021, I began my journey into entrepreneurship – co-founding Bangin’ Bannock & founding Takaya Indigenous Designs.

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