The Future is Now!

The final gathering for the Business Network for Aboriginal Youth was held on June 1st and 2nd at the Glooscap Heritage Center in Millbrook First Nation. The highlight of the gathering was, without a doubt, the musical performance and keynote speech by Wab Kinew (, who is a TV journalist for CBC Winnipeg by day, and a hip hop artist by night.  One of his main messages was “the future is now!”In addition, he talked about how important your public image is and to post via social media with the mindset that anyone, including future employers, may be watching.  The students, as well as the rest of the attendees, were very captivated by his speech!

Saturday was filled with various interactive and educational activities focused on social media and marketing practices. The most impressive was a competition between the students called “Rant Your Resume.”  Up for grabs were two bursaries ($1000 & $500) to attend the Shannon School of Business at CBU.  In 50 seconds or less, students had to pitch in a “Rick Mercer like” rant, why they should be chosen for the award.  Winners were chosen by a panel of 4 judges based on style, creativity, uniqueness, and relevance.  With very little guidance, the students created fantastic videos showing how confident, well educated, and creative they are. In the end, there was a tie for second place, which meant there were 3 award winners.  All three awards winners attend Wagmatcookeway School.  Check out their videos by clink their names:

1st place:  Kyle Simon, Wagmatcookeway School

2nd place:  Taneillia MacDonald, Wagmatcookeway School

2nd place:  Peter Simon, Wagmatcookeway School

It was absolutely amazing to see how much these students have grown since I met all of them at their schools back in September/October.  What we have now is not just a group of Aboriginal youth interested in business; we have a group of Aboriginal youth who are passionate and knowledgeable about business!

Of the 30 students who began the program in January, 21 completed all of the requirements for year one of the program.  Of these 21, 6 are in grade 12 and will graduate later this month. Of those graduating at least 2 will start their business degree in September, both at CBU.  From the feedback I’ve received, along with my own observations, the consensus is that year one of this two year pilot was a huge success!