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Building knowledge about Trusts and Investments for Indigenous people by Indigenous people, to enhance the professionalism and accountability in the management of this important resource.
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Board of Directors

Meet our Board Members
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Leith Cardinall

NATOA Chair

A member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Leith started participating as a Trustee in 2007 and has managed the Onihcikiskowapowin Business Trust for over 10 years. Leith has been in the financial industry since 2001 and was recommended by the Trustees to assume the role as the Trust Manager. With a diploma in Management, Leith is currently working towards an MBA through the Cape Breton University. Leith has been on the Board of Directors for NATOA since 2014 and has been the Chair of NATOA since 2017.

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Alanna Jones

Secretary

Alanna is Ojibwe Band member from Kitigaun Ziibii (Garden River FN) Ontario. As Trust Manager for the Garden River First Nation Community Trust since 1997, Alanna believes that the traditional values (respect, humility wisdom, bravery, honesty, truth and love) can be a vehicle to return to our traditional ways of caring for one another with modern / western tools such as those found in community trust agreements. In 2006, Alanna along with a group of like-minded Trust managers and administrators were instrumental in organizing NATOA, focusing on networking and online training for Indigenous communities to become self-sustaining in managing such a vital economic resource. Alanna is one of the 3 founding members of NATOA and currently the Secretary for them.

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Meghan Shannon

Member of the Board

Meghan Shannon is Cree and her family is from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in Saskatchewan. She is a Senior Manager for Indigenous Markets at CIBC where her specialization is Indigenous Trusts. As the primary relationship manager for the Indigenous Trust practice, Meghan engages with communities regarding the delivery of their tailored Trust services and funding, strategic planning, reporting, communication, and training. Meghan completed a Bachelor of Science (Major in Economics and Mathematics) at the University of Victoria. Prior to her current role, Meghan worked with and for Indigenous communities through her work with another leading financial services firm and their Indigenous Trust practice as well as an Economic Development Officer, Capacity Development Officer, and Communications Administrator for the provincial government and a non-profit organization. Meghan brings with her a deep understanding of and respect for the value of history, language, and culture.

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Max Skudra

Member of the Board

Max has a background in human rights, business development and finance. He began his career working for Human Rights Watch in Toronto & New York. He later worked in the financial services industry, performing derivatives administration & valuations analysis in Toronto. Max went on to organize micro-finance and community savings programs in marginalized areas of Bogota, Colombia. From 2011 to 2020, Max worked for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, conducting research on the Aboriginal economy. His research led to important reports on Aboriginal entrepreneurs, community owned corporations, & Aboriginal business relationships. He is currently the Director of Research and Innovation at Creative Fire.

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Leslie Walkus

Member of the Board

Leslie is the elected Trust Chair of the 13 member Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Band Trust which is made up of the 9 members of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations (GNN) Council, 2 community member trustees and 2 independent trustees. Leslie has served on Council of GNN and on the Trust since he was elected to Council for a two year term in 2014. Prior to that time, and for six months overlapping, he was the Manager of the GNN Marine Services and GNN lead for the Guardian Watchman program, which meant he patrolled the waters in the GNN traditional territories to monitor the health of wildlife and environmental conditions and the impact of industrial and recreational uses of the area, gathering data to inform decision-making and policy development.

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Vickie Whitehead

NATOA Vice Chair & Secretary Treasurer

Vickie Whitehead is the Director, Indigenous Services at Crowe Mackay LLP and has worked with First Nations in British Columbia and across Canada for over 22 years. She specializes in Indigenous trust management and structures, financial management, board governance and program management. The majority of her early career was at the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (DISC) in the British Columbia and National offices in various financial and management related roles for over 17 years.Vickie is Cree Métis, and volunteers on the following boards and committees: as the Vice-Chair of the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association, the Advisory Council of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) of BC, board of directors of AFOA Canada, and she serves on the CPA BC bylaws committee. Vickie completed her Masters of Business Administration in the Spring of 2012, holds a CPA, CGA, designation, and is a Certified Aboriginal Finance Manager (CAFM).

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Brittanee Laverdure

Member of the Board

As a Regional Vice President on the Indigenous Wealth team located in Calgary, Alberta, Brittanee manages a variety of relationships with Indigenous clients throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. She is responsible for the administration of a wide range of Indigenous Trusts, including providing ongoing reporting, training and support to clients at the community level.
Brittanee graduated from the University of Calgary in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Indigenous Studies. In 2011, She obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Calgary, which included a placement at the UBC First Nation Legal Clinic operating out of the Vancouver Downtown Eastside serving the marginalized indigenous population in the area. She is a member of the Law Society.
Brittanee is a former international athlete representing Canada in the sport of Freestyle Wrestling. Her achievements include being a 2014 Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist, a World Championship Medalist, World SportAccord Champion, and World University Champion, and a two-time Olympic Alternate for Canada. Brittanee has proudly represented Canada around the globe for over 10 years, including attending the 2008 Beijing Games as a training partner for Team Canada. As a University of Calgary Varsity Athlete, Brittanee was a National Champion, and was named the University of Calgary Female Athlete of the year in 2006.
Raised in the small remote community of Watson Lake, Yukon, Brittanee is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Kaska Dena Nation (Liard First Nation). She volunteers for the Calgary Legal Guidance and for Pro Bono Law Alberta, and serves as a volunteer board member for the Dena Kayeh Institute, and the Aboriginal Sport Circle.