Chief Executive Officer
At the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and a rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy, in demand of new ideas and new skills, Denise has the privilege of working with Indigenous peoples, governments, academics, technology futurists and social changemakers to map the ecosystem that will result in fair and equitable access to the tools and education required for success in the digital age. Denise leads a theory of change that will not only ensure Indigenous peoples are competitive in BC’s technology and innovation sector, but leading and growing local digital economies.
With a passion for contributing and volunteering in initiatives and organizations that influence real change and the advancement of truth and reconciliation, Denise proudly serves as the President of the Urban Native Youth Association, advisor on innovation to the Governor General of Canada, Status of Women Canada’s Indigenous Women’s Circle, on the board of the First Mile Connectivity Consortium, Vancouver Economic Commission and on the Simon Fraser University Board of Governors as Alumni-in-Order, where she earned her masters degree in business administration in 2015.
Chief Operating Officer
Known as a highly innovative and strategic thinker, Sasha Hobbs is excited to bring her extensive experience and talents to the new role of Chief Operating Officer. She brings over 20 years of direct leadership experience and is passionate about advancing indigenous sovereignty through technology, education, and leadership development. Sasha is a member of the Métis Nation, and is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving Indigenous peoples and communities.
Beginning her career as an Instructor at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, she has held progressively higher positions as Program Coordinator at Native Education College, and Associate Director and Director at Simon Fraser University. Sasha may be best known for launching and leading the Indigenous Youth Internship Program (IYIP, formerly known as AYIP) through its early years, a program created in partnership with the BC provincial government and First Nations leadership.
In her career with the provincial government, Sasha has held several leadership positions as Director of Performance Management, Director of Executive Development and Diversity, and most recently as Executive Director of Multiculturalism.Sasha brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in strategic and organizational development, partnerships, program development, employee engagement, leadership development, and best practices in business administration. She holds a BA and MA in Literature, and is the recipient of several academic and provincial awards for her work. She is also a screenwriter, musician, and an avid mountainbiker.
Director of Sector Transformation
As the Director of Sector Transformation, Lauren is responsible for overseeing the Technology Council’s work designed to transform and disrupt the status quo of economic sectors including the technology and innovation sector to make space for Indigenous peoples, worldviews and leadership. Lauren convenes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations, skills and training service providers, academia, government agencies and industry partners across the province to ensure the broad reach, participation and representation for this work.
Lauren received a Master’s degree in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria, where her studies focused on the role of a settler ally in the Indigenous rights movement and looks forward to bringing this critical discourse around colonialism, aspiring allyship and responsibility in reconciliation to key conversations with industry partners seeking to participate meaningfully in tangible and measurable reconciliation.
Lauren is honoured to be a part of the First Nations Technology Council as an aspiring ally and to participate in the Technology Council’s work to support Indigenous self-determination.
Director of Skills Development Division
Earl is from the Ktunaxa Nation and is an experienced instructor (10+ years) specializing in digital design, digital development and creativity software. He has been an instructor for our Foundations program and helped to develop the curriculum for our upcoming Focus Web Development program. We are so pleased that Earl now joins us full-time as the new Director of Skills Development.
Earl brings to the Technology Council a demonstrated successful history of working in the internet industry. He is skilled in Adobe products, Strategic Planning, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Management, and Leadership. He is a strong entrepreneurship professional with a Web Development and Business background.
Earl’s addition to our team means that Lauren Kelly, former Director of Skills Development, has taken on a new challenge as Director of our Sector Transformation Division. We applaud Lauren’s contributions in growing the division to what it is today, and are excited to support her as she build up another important piece of the organization.
Manager of Community Engagement
Maggie is tasked with Managing the day to day activities of the Technology Council; in the area of Program & Project Management, Organizational Operations & Development, Human Resource Management, Financial Management oversight and establishing a sound system of procedures to contribute to optimal Organizational Performance; including the design and delivery of Community and Sector Engagement and Funder Reporting.
Maggie is from the Nisga’a Nation, she belongs to the House of Ksim Xsaan. Her Indigenous name is Ant’aam Lax Gaa’askw Gaak “Raven looking over the rest of them”. She has three adult children, four grandchildren with Gary. Maggie has a depth and breadth of management experience in Operations, Project management, and Human Resources.
Maggie Is currently enrolled to continue her Masters Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University in December 2018. Maggie’s previous training and experiences are in the areas of Labour Relations, Strategic Management, Board Governance, Human Resource Management, and Organizational Development and Design. Maggie Is honoured to be a part of the First Nations Technology Council’s team to participate in the growth and development of a fast-paced and evolving organization.
Manager of Curriculum
Robyn is known for her wealth of experience developing and delivering Indigenous curriculum across BC. She is grateful for her many years as an instructor with Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), delivering courses both on campus and in community education. Robyn’s education philosophy is of traditional grass roots learning, which is a belief in two-way learning where the teacher and the learner are both a teacher and learner. Robyn believes that planting a seed of knowledge in one mind can create generational change, and that planting seeds of knowledge in many minds can have a global impact.
Along with extensive experience in Indigenous education, Robyn is a successful entrepreneur with many years experience as a communications specialist. She is also a dreamer and a writer, currently co-writing a TV series and a creative coaching guide for change. Along with writing, Robyn loves fresh air, biking, kayaking and being a Mom (not in that order).
Robyn earned an MA in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University in 2018, where her research focused on relationship building in digital communications. Through a self-study of five of her business clients, Robyn’s research draws conclusion that traditional communication of face to face (F2F) and voice to voice (V2V), are required elements of building communication efficacy in the digital era. From this research she designed a communication framework.
While Robyn is proud of her achievements at university, she is most grateful for the teachings of Felix, Pearl, Margaret, and Bernice – the Elder’s Council who guided and shaped her work in Indigenous education.
Foundations in Innovation and Technology
Fabian is Cree/Saulteaux from Cowessess First Nation -Treaty Four- located in Saskatchewan. He currently resides in Prince George, BC with the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. Fabian received his Bachelors of Commerce – Marketing from University of Northern BC (UNBC) and a Graduate Certificate – Online Learning and Teaching from Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
Manager of Futures in Innovation and Technology
As Programs Coordinator, Jasmin is supporting the planning and implementation of the Technology Council’s initiatives, including Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology and the Labour Market Project.
Jasmin was born in Vancouver and raised by a Chinese mother and European father. She received her undergraduate degree in International Development Studies at McGill University and spent the summer months working on early literacy support programs with James Bay Cree communities. Jasmin went on to complete the Masters in Development Practice program at the University of Winnipeg, where she focused her research on reorienting discourses surrounding the “digital divide” towards strength-based approaches that position Indigenous peoples as creators and influencers of technology. Jasmin is particularly interested in Indigenous participation in new media development (such as virtual reality, video games, and apps) and the potential of these platforms for increasing representation of Indigenous stories, worldviews, and visions of the future.
Jasmin hopes to bring all the learning and experiences that she has been fortunate enough to gain with her to this new role at the First Nations Technology Council.
Program Manager, Foundations
Kim is Inuit from her mother’s side and Scottish from her Father’s. She’s a lifelong Northerner from Yellowknife NWT who relocated to Vancouver BC in 2018. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Vancouver Island University and is currently enrolled with the Project Management Institute to gain PMP certification.
Before joining the FNTC, Kim worked with the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health within the Project Management Services Division assisting with various information system deployment projects throughout the Territory. Her interests with connecting remote communities to technology lead her to join the FNTC under the role of Skills Coordinator where she is assisting with the planning and deployment of the Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology program.
Tirzah Swampy is a Program Coordinator for the Skills Division, where she is tasked with recruiting students for the Foundations program. As one of the first people in contact with potential students, Tirzah has the privilege of interacting with Indigenous people across BC who are interested in developing their skills in technology and ensures that those selected are able to attend, participate and complete the training successfully.
Tirzah is a mix of Cree and Blackfoot, originally from Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. Before relocating to British Columbia, Tirzah earned her Bachelor of Arts where she focused on Psychology, from Macewan University in Edmonton, Alberta. She is also a Certified Coach Practitioner.
Prior to her role with FNTC, Tirzah spent many years working with Indigenous families as a youth/family support worker, where she forged relationships as both a mentor and advocate. As the newest Program Coordinator, Tirzah hopes to combine her education and training to help her in her search for the next Indigenous Innovators (and the best bannock recipe that she can pass on to her daughter)
Program Coordinator, Futures
Adrienne is Nehiyaw (Plains Cree) from Maskwacis, Alberta in Treaty Six. Though she is not from British Columbia, she lives with gratitude and respect on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. As the First Nations Technology Council’s Community Coordinator, Adrienne’s responsibilities are to oversee project administration and coordination in assigned short-term and long-term projects, ensuring deliverables meet quality standards. Adrienne serves as a liaison in the coordination efforts with Indigenous Peoples and communities, as well as community organizations as it pertains to the participation and engagement in programs and services.
Adrienne earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours from the University of Alberta where her research focused on Indigenous Governance. Adrienne brings with her over 5 years of experience at the provincial and non-profit sector in policy analysis, strategic initiatives and community relations. For the last several years her focus has been creating opportunities for Indigenous people to access post-secondary education and training opportunities. In addition to this work, Adrienne is also an Indigenous Artist who is reclaiming her cultural practices through her sewing and beadwork and is a strong believer in life-long learning.
Lloyd Taghavi is an MBA, CPA and CMA, with 25+ year of experience in accounting and financial management, including 11 years working for First Nations organizations as a CFO. He moved from U.S. to Canada in 2006. He is married with one child.
Bio coming soon!
Trevor Jang is a storyteller who blends an Indigenous worldview with the tools of journalism and technology to support First Nations empowerment. His role at the Technology Council includes leading the development and implementation of a communications and social media strategy, working across programs to create relevant content that engages the Technology Council’s many audiences on multiple platforms.
Trevor is an award-winning writer and journalist whose work on Indigenous issues has been published with the CBC, Walrus Magazine, BC Business Magazine, National Observer, Discourse and others. He has a mixed-race background of Wet’suwet’en Nation, Chinese and European ancestry. In 2012 Trevor graduated with a Diploma of Technology in Broadcast Media and Communications from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Web / Design Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Project Lead, Sector Transformation
Whitney is from the Gitxsan Nation and brings nearly 10 years of experience as a policy analyst to the Technology Council. Most notably, Whitney served as Parliamentary Affairs and Policy Advisor to the former Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould. Whitney is the Project Lead within the Sector Transformation Division, taking the lead on key projects such as our Labour Market Project and the Income Assistance Technology Capacity project.