Cedric Pepelea is an Energy Systems Technologist with experience in research, public and private sectors, and has worked with multiple non-profits. His passion for sustainability and self-sufficiency is clearly translated in his role as Operations Director and Design team lead where he consults with our community partners to develop a design that would meet their needs with minimal operational costs. Utilizing Sustainable Building Techniques and Renewable Energy provides the youth with exposure to these new and innovative technologies that can help their communities thrive for the next seven generations.
I am Oneida from Oneida Nation of the Thames. I am part of the bear clan. I am the Aboriginal Youth Worker at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Center and I am working on providing Cultural training for our team at Focus Forward For Indigenous Youth. Working alongside community members, I plan to bring pieces of the culture to the team members to help them understand the culture and the different ways of living, as well as educate them on the past and present relationships between the indigenous peoples of Canada and the Settlers.
Nicole is a recent Queen’s University graduate with a BSc in Life Sciences and has hopes to pursue a career in healthcare. She is currently working with the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s as a course development associate, a position that has led her to develop skills that directly translate to Focus Forward’s educational initiative. Her partial Iroquois ancestry and passion for bringing both awareness and solutions to communities in need have drawn her to Focus Forward, where she is involved in community outreach, fundraising, and event planning.
My name is Rick Helgason, I have experience working with the project management team for a large mechanical contractor. With them, I have worked on several large construction projects, including one in a remote community in Nunavut. I am currently completing my master's degree in mechanical engineering at Queen's University.
Focused on the implementation of energy and technology solutions central to environmental stewardship, community engagement, sustainability, and opportunities for growth and development. Partial Cree genealogy has drawn me to the values and objectives inherent to FFIY and offer an opportunity to connect indigenous peoples with technology and opportunities at the forefront of human accomplishments wherever/whenever possible, in most cases pushing boundaries and/or advancing established methodology.
Andrew Ward is an graduate of the MA program at the Department of Art History & Art Conservation at Queen's University. He has extensive experience in research, and funding and grant writing. He joined Focus Forward as a way to contribute to his own iteration of reconcili-action. He hopes to work in a position that positively contributes to the reconciliation efforts in Canada. He enjoys literature, most stringed instruments, and traveling to Europe.
Taylor Bluhm is currently in the Nursing program at Queen’s University, and will be entering her fourth and final year in September 2018. Originally from the Six Nations reserve and self-identifying as Indigenous, Taylor joined Focus Forward in hopes of strengthening the relationship between the Indigenous communities in Canada and the non-Indigenous. As well, Taylor hopes to incorporate cultural training for the team to provide education on Indigenous culture.
Evan Veryard is a chemical engineering graduate from McGill University and is currently taking graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada. He also teaches woodworking to youth at a local alternative school, an opportunity that sparked the idea behind Focus Forward for Indigenous Youth. After realizing how much the hands-on learning opportunities he was exposed to in his youth helped him grow and build self-confidence, he wanted to try to bring more of those same opportunities to Indigenous youth all across Canada while taking a community-centred approach to develop the projects.
Althea (Wishloff) is an investment analyst working in downtown Toronto. She is originally from Vancouver and is of Gitxsan heritage on her maternal side. During her undergrad, she devoted substantial time to work with the Ch’nook Indigenous Aboriginal Program, coaching and mentoring Aboriginal youth to encourage them to seek out post-secondary education opportunities.
I am an energy analyst working in the Toronto area. I went to school for Energy Systems Engineering Technology at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. I wanted to be involved with focus forward to share my knowledge and put it to good use helping show indigenous youth the satisfaction that can come from a life of work in technology and the trades.
My name is Michael Suenaga, I am a recent graduate from Carleton University where I studied Criminology and Criminal Justice. Concentrating my studies in the field of Sociology, my electives consisted mainly of Indigenous studies courses where I was fortunate enough to learn about the discrimination, the socio-cultural oppression, the institutional and systemic inequalities and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples within our Canadian Criminal Justice System and society as a whole. I am currently pursuing a career in policing where I feel it is my obligation to develop a better understanding of these issues. At Focus Forward FIY myrole mainly falls under the category of website maintenance and marketing design.
My name is Paul (Colosimo), I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education Program at Queen’s University. I grew up in Thunder Bay, where there is a large cultural divide between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people and I wanted to join an organization that nurtured collaborative relationships that build trust between our communities. I enjoy community outreach and working to create awareness and organizing fundraising initiatives. My undergraduate background is in biology, which has guided my thinking in a direction that seeks sustainable solutions to a variety of issues. I am currently studying to become a biology teacher in the Consecutive Education Program at Queen’s University.
Boozhoo! I have been living in Thunder Bay, traditional land of Fort William First Nation for just over a year now! I am from the beautiful region of the 1000 islands, Gananoque, traditional Iroquoian land. I have been passionate about Indigenous issues and affairs for many years and am excited to be involved with Focus Forward! I love music, travelling, thrifting, laughing and learning! Miigwetch!
Lexy Engberg is a business school graduate with a Marketing Management diploma from Copenhagen Business Academy. Born and raised in Thunder Bay and its surrounding area she has a love for the nature and history it has. Lexy just recently moved back to Thunder Bay after living abroad in Denmark for four years and traveling around Europe. She has a passion for learning about the many different beliefs and culture around the world, having a big heart to lend a helping hand where it is needed. Lexy currently is part of the marketing team for FFFIY, helping spread awareness and raise money to help fund projects.
Jason Whatley is a graduate of the Business Administration Human Resources Program at Confederation College. After receiving his diploma, he completed a summer internship at Oshki-Pimache-O-Win as a Recruitment Assistant. In this role, he successfully recruited several students for multiple Post Secondary programs in Indigenous Communities across Ontario. Additionally, he was tasked with delivering time-management workshops to guide students in best practices for prioritizing tasks. After completing this work, he realized the positive impact he could make on the lives of youth and continues with that endeavor with his placement at FFFIY. Currently, Jason works as a Research Associate at the Phelpsgroup where he is responsible for fulfilling numerous executive searches across Canada.
Matt Olinski is a Civil Engineering graduate from Lakehead University. He has a variety of experience in the contracting industry, from the position of the contractor, consultant and owner. When possible he enjoys providing solutions through the use of technologies; such as various computer programs, cloud based file systems, Microsoft Suite, Autodesk Suite and UAV imagery. He has competed in multiple engineering design competitions while attending university and takes pride in developing small scale structures with limited materials.
My name is Patrick (Galloway), I am a graduate of the Business Marketing program at Confederation College. Growing up in Thunder Bay, I wanted to get involved with a group to help bring light to those who need it. Locally, there is a discomfort of cultural divide between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people and I wanted to join an organization that help bring a rapport between the communities and with evidence, show that it doesn't have to be this way. I enjoy being involved in many different boards in the community and have experience bringing awareness of local events/campaigns. Experience with working directly with the PGA to run a world class event, has given me the opportunity to express interest in community involvement for planning and execution. With my background of Sports Marketing and general Marketing, I creating a path for myself to become a Sports Agent .