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March 23, 2016

NACCA Committee Appointments

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Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) Committee

The newly appointed members of the AEP Committee are Leonard Odjick, Dana Soonias and Sakiasie Sowdlooapik.

Leonard Odjick, Quebec

Leonard Odjick has significant leadership experience in governance, community and economic development. He serves as Vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Native Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA), has been a Director of a Tribal Council, a band manager which oversaw 350 staff, started a band police department and is currently a financial consultant.


Sakiasie Sowdlooapik, Nunavut

Sakiasie Sowdlooapik has substantial experience with community and regional economic development and developmental lending. Currently, Sakiasie serves as Chair of the Atuqtuarvik Corporation and was past President of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, served as a Mayor, and has experience in both the private sector and the public utilities government sector.

Dana Soonias, Saskatchewan

Dana Soonias has extensive national governance experience including with the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association, the First Nations Financial Management Board, and Chair of several Audit and Finance Committees. His experience includes being CEO of Wanuskewin Heritage Park in SK, implementation of the Aboriginal Business Development strategy for the credit union system, AFI Operations at SIEF as the former General Manager, as well as finance, developmental lending, and financial certification.

National Nominating Committee (NNC)

Rick Labrash will serve his second term on the National Nominating Committee and he will be joined by Maria Benoit and Gerald DesRoches.

Rick Labrash, Saskatchewan

Rick Labrash is a Certified Management Accountant with significant experience in economic development and developmental lending and has worked at Aboriginal Business Canada and with different AFIs in the network. He has also served on the first NACCA National Nominating Committee in 2015 and sits on the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation’s Contribution Committee.

Maria Benoit, Yukon

Joins the National Nominating Committee for her first term and brings many years of leadership and significant experience in developmental lending, governance, and economic development. Maria is currently Chair of the Däna Näye Board of Directors, and serves on many other community, regional and national boards of directors.

Gerald DesRoches, Saskatchewan

Joins the National Nominating Committee for his first term and brings experience in developmental lending with AFIs, and in program management. He has worked with other developmental lenders on syndicated projects and has governance experience at the community and regional levels.

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