Chief Executive Officer
At the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and a rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy, Denise has the privilege of working with Indigenous peoples, governments, academics, technology futurists and social change makers to map an ecosystem that will result in fair and equitable access to the tools and education required to lead digital transformation in the 21st century. Denise leads a theory of change that aims to ensure Indigenous peoples are leading in Canada’s technology and innovation sector and in building new connected economies. Her purpose is to create space for Indigenous peoples to access the knowledge they carry from their ancestors and bring back community, balance and humanity to the design, integration and evolution of digital technologies and online spaces. The legacy of which is meant to advance Truth and Reconciliation both in physical and virtual worlds.
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 a governor with the Urban Native Youth Association, MakeWay, Vancouver Foundation, Hollyhock Learning Institute, Innovate BC and Simon Fraser University as the Chair of university relations, and where she earned her MBA in 2015. Denise is as advisor on innovation to the Governor General of Canada, a member of Status of Women Canada’s Indigenous Women’s Circle, BC’s Indigenous Business and Investment Council, and a mentor with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Denise has been awarded Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 in 2018, Motherboards Human of Year in 2017, BC’s Most Influential Women STEM Stars in 2017, and Women in Technology’s Community Champion in 2016.
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.
Manager of Executive Services
As the Manager of Executive Services, Katie works closely with the Executive Leadership Team to ensure that executive led initiatives are coordinated with collaboration and efficiency. Katie supports the development and implementation of processes in the organization to enable the Council to achieve its goals, objectives and mandates. She is a member of the Administrative Division whose aim is to ensure that the operations are effective and efficient and that staff have the tools they need to do their work.
Katie recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from Royal Roads University and is excited to apply her learning in the knowledge areas of project management to streamline cross-divisional collaboration and provide high-level oversight of the implementation and execution of projects at the council.
Katie joined the First Nations Technology Council in 2019 and is grateful to be able contribute to digital equity for Indigenous peoples. She is on a journey of continuous learning to further understand and participate in decolonization and reconciliation.
Katie has a passion for spending time in nature connecting with the earth through forest running. She lives and works with gratitude on the traditional and unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish Nations.
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 Strategic Initiatives and Ecosystem Relations
Kiri Bird (she/her) is a passionate, strategic and experienced social impact leader, who identifies as a white settler of European ancestry. Kiri is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Ecosystem Relations at the First Nations Technology Council where she champions and oversees digital equity and innovation initiatives and nurtures academic, philanthropic, and technology sector partnerships. Originally from Toronto, Kiri is honoured to be living on the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh unceded territories and to be working in service of First Nations communities in BC at the intersection of technological advancement and Indigenous sovereignty.
Kiri brings over a decade of social enterprise, innovation design, and systems change experience to the Technology Council. Kiri previously worked at Vancouver Foundation where she managed social finance and investment readiness funding programs, and at RADIUS SFU, where she developed and led the organization’s social innovation lab and systems change portfolio for over five years towards a vision of economic transformation. Kiri is adept at relational leadership, network development and capacity building. She brings to her work an entrepreneurial approach, commitment to equity and justice, and accountability to colleagues, partners, and communities.
Kiri writes and speaks publicly on social innovation and the social impact sector both locally and internationally. She advises a number of social enterprises and social innovation labs and sits on the board of the global social innovation network, Social Innovation Exchange. Kiri holds a Master’s Degree in Resource and Environmental Planning from Simon Fraser University, and an undergraduate in Communications and Political Science from Concordia University.
Director, Indigenous Innovation and Development
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, Indigenous Education
Robyn is both Metis and Lithuanian, raised on the unceded territories Nlakapamux and Sylix Nations and currently living on the unceded lands of the Okanagan and Sylix Nations. Robyn is grateful for her many years of experience working as an instructor in Indigenous Adult Education across BC. She has been able to translate her formal education, a Master’s Degree in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University with focused research on creating communication efficacy in digital communications, into creating success in online education.
Robyn carries an education philosophy 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 the education sector, Robyn is a successful entrepreneur with many years’ experience working as a communications specialist. She is a dreamer and a writer, currently co-writing a creative coaching guide for change. She is also a person with a big heart making a global impact helping children access books and learning tools in developing countries, and in Canada through her passion project – Creating Global Generational Change.
Robyn loves fresh air, biking, kayaking, and being a Mom (not in that order).
A/Director, Student Services and Partnerships
As Acting Director, Student Services and Partnerships, Jasmin leads the planning and implementation of the Technology Council’s student services and partnerships initiatives, including the Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology training programs.
Jasmin was born in Vancouver and is of Hong Kong and British descent. She received her undergraduate degree in International Development Studies at McGill University and went on to complete the Masters in Development Practice program at the University of Winnipeg. There 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 and augmented reality, video games, and immersive apps) and the potential of these platforms for increasing representation of Indigenous stories and worldviews.
Jasmin has been on the First Nations Technology Council team since 2018, and is inspired every day by the organization’s passion for digital equity and innovative visions for the future.
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.
As Manager of Financial Services, Natasha leads all areas of financial administration for the Technology Council. She is responsible for the delivery of financial services such as accounting, reporting, budgeting and payroll, in accordance with legislative requirements and organizational policies and practices.
Natasha holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, specializing in accounting, from India. She has spent the majority of her early career in the accounting industry, working on compliance, business process, audit and financial reporting. She has been on the First Nations Technology Council team since 2019. Prior to joining the Technology Council, Natasha held various accounting and management positions in India. She also holds vast experience in auditing and now is pursuing CPA from the Western School of Business, Canada.
Natasha feels blessed to be a part of the Technology Council which is passionate and committed to creating a positive change in Indigenous communities. In her spare time, Natasha enjoys DIY projects, experimenting with new recipes to cook for her family and exploring new places.
Web / Design Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Project Coordinator, Sector Transformation
Leah Karpan is the Project Coordinator for the Sector Transformation Division, where one of her primary responsibilities is ensuring our Regional Coordinator network is supported and organized while administering their community engagement work. Leah also supports the coordination of research engagements with the 203 First Nations communities in BC.
Leah’s family comes from the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation on her Mother’s side and Croatia on her Father’s. Leah was born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and moved to Vancouver, British Columbiain 2009. Leah is honoured to be living on the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh unceded territories since her arrival into British Columbia. Leah has earned a masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern British Columbia, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Alberta.
Leah has worked with Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia for the majority of her career in non-profit and governmental organizations. Leah believes it is her life’s calling to be a continuous support for Indigenous populations and is excited to be a part of the First Nations Technology Council team, supporting Nations with technological capacity building.