Damilare Onajole – Look North Natural Resources Officer
Locations: Head Office
Damilare is the Look North Natural Resource Officer in charge of the implementation of the Forestry Resource Optimization Strategy. His role is to provide necessary support and resources for the development and expansion of forest-based business both in Timber and Non-Timber Forest Products across Northern Manitoba.
He has a BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, an Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a Certificate in Lumber Grading Course awarded by the Central Forest Product Association (CFPA), Canada. Damilare has over 10 years of work experience in Accounting, Business, Banking and Finance environment providing financial services and business support for individual and corporate organizations in both the public and private sectors.
His goal is to contribute to the economic development of Northern Manitoba thereby improving the GDP of the Province as a whole. The CEDF/Look North strategy has provided himself and everyone the opportunity and support needed to become a business owner. Being a member of the team, coupled with his background and expertise has equipped him with the required skills to help people actualized their business aspirations.
Jim Scott – Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: The Pas Office
Jim resides in The Pas, which along with the Rural Municipality of Kelsey and the Town of Churchill, are his main focus of attention within the Look North Initiative. While working to grow these communities he is also focused on engaging with industry and investors to identify gaps and barriers that could potentially hold back development of a healthy economy throughout Northern Manitoba. Working closely with his CEDF colleagues, they are removing those barriers, such as the lack of broadband width for internet services in remote and northern communities. Amongst his priorities is his work in partnership with the Arctic Gateway Group (AGG), growing the Port of Churchill in harmony with an active railway. Jim is excited to see the North grow and looks forward to playing an active role in its development.
His passion for a strong Northern Manitoba has been with him for years. As former Mayor of The Pas and current committee member of the Churchill Regional Economic Development Fund (CRED), he is dedicated to developing this region so it can continue to reach its potential.
Stephanie Johnson - Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: Flin Flon Office
Stephanie works with CEDF as an Economic Development adviser delivering the Look North Report and Action Plan. Geographically, she is working with the City of Flin Flon and their interprovincial committee, Community of Sherridon, Town of Snow Lake, Village of Cranberry Portage and Mathias Coulombe Cree Nation. Her functional roles are tourism and housing for all Manitoban communities north of the 53rd parallel. Stephanie moved to the Flin Flon area in 1999 from Central Alberta and has remained a resident since then with her children and husband. When she’s not busy raising their blended family, she can be found appreciating the tranquility of Northern living, either fishing both summer and winter, or out on a trail. Stephanie has a passion for growth in the North and believes diversification is key in the ever-changing environment. For centuries, her and other Northerners have held close to their chest the beauty, tranquility and peace of their culturally rich area and she’s focusing on experiential tourism to diversify Northern Manitoba.
Shirley Jensen - Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: Head Office
Shirley is a proud Cree Indigenous woman from Misipawistik Cree Nation. Her geographical responsibilities include the delivery of the Look North initiative to 10 communities which include; Thompson, Thicket Portage, Pikwitonei, Bunibonibee Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, Ilford, Grand Rapids, Misipawistik Cree Nation, Easterville and Chemawawin.
Among the duties to her clientele, she also has the expertise to assist in Social Enterprises, Co-operatives and Not-for-Profit structures of business. It is also her duty to give support and direction in the development of community based Economic Development Strategic Plans. Her functional roles are disseminated to her clients and her peers.
She has a diploma in Band and Northern Community Administration, Business Administration and is currently obtaining her Bachelor of Management with a major in Indigenous Nations and Organizations. Shirley is also a voluntary Board member of a Credit Union of which she is the Vice-Chair. Her background as a Project Manager and a former Economic Development Advisor for a Northern Indigenous organization has equipped her well for her new position with CEDF. She feels that the North has such beauty and grandeur and so many opportunities for those who so desire. Shirley believes that this is an exciting time to be a part of the Look North initiative and to be in Thompson where she can be of assistance to the entrepreneurs of the North.
Shannon Goulet - Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: The Pas Office
Shannon was born in The Pas, raised on Opaskwayak Cree Nation and has family from Sapotawayak Cree Nation. She’s always wanted to be in an environment where she can help people develop the skills they already have, so that he or she is able to maximize their potential. Working for the Look North initiative, she can do what she does best – help other people.
She believes that our youth are the key catalyst for economic development in the North. They are the ones she wants to meet with, to plant a seed of commerce by offering them the tools and skills needed to fill those gaps of convenience and comfort. For those that are ready to get into business and individuals that are ready to work in a team setting, such as a social enterprise, then Shannon and her team are ready to guide them to their goals.
Shannon’s functional role as a Look North Economic Development Advisor is to encourage the “Culture of Commerce” through partnering with youth programs and schools on initiatives and workshops; facilitate social enterprises and other initiatives in schools and communities that provide exposure to the youth on operating a small business; and work with other Look North staff to lead the establishment of informational and capacity building workshops to UCN students.
The communities she works in are Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Mosakahiken Cree Nation, Moose Lake Community Council, Cormorant Community Council, Shamattawa First Nation, York Factory First Nation, Brochet Community, Barren Lands First Nation, Lac Brochet Community, Northlands Denesuline First Nation, God’s Lake First Nation, God’s Lake Narrows Community, God’s Lake Narrows First Nation, Sayisisi Dene First Nation, and Granville Lake First Nation.
Ken Slobodian - Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: Head Office
Ken spent the early years of his life growing up in Northern Manitoba communities digging snow forts and playing hockey on the frozen lakes and rinks. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, he’s always known he would own a business someday. At 19 years old, he moved to a small community in Southern Manitoba and opened a small business. Once it was running successfully, he found myself wanting to open a different type of business.
He realized at this time that his passion lies in the start-up process of successfully opening a business. The next 30 years, Ken found himself moving around the prairie provinces helping others with an entrepreneurial spirit realize their dream of opening and operating their own business.
After years of moving from town to town, Ken decided on settling in one place for the remainder of his career. He noticed a job opportunity at CEDF for the position of a Look North Economic Development Advisor. With this job he can pass on his knowledge of starting, expanding or operating a business to many individuals in my assigned region.
The nine communities in his area include but are not limited to: Cross Lake First Nation, Incorporated Community of Cross Lake, Norway House Cree Nation, Norway House Community, Wabowden, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, Incorporated Community of Nelson House, Fox Lake Cree Nation and Gillam.
Part of his functional role with CEDF is to create a network of volunteer business mentors that have a proven success rate in operating their own companies. These mentors can help businesses with certain concerns work through their problems with greater ease. With his knowledge of small business as well as a network of mentors, Ken’s intention is to show individuals that they too can be successful business owners in Northern Manitoba.
Kurt Thibault – Look North Economic Advisor
Locations: Head Office
Kurt has been a resident of Northern Manitoba for the past 40 years, who doesn’t believe he will ever leave because it’s a great place to live, work and fish. He lives in Thompson, with a cabin on a lake near Leaf Rapids – the place where he grew up. Both he and his wife consider those communities, their homes. To them, the North is our own personal fishing and camping playground.
Kurt’s formal education was in finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. After that, he and his father operated their own business in the North for 24 years. They served up a blend of long-term investment and personal financial advice to approximately 300 families. His father retired in 2001, and he retired in the fall of 2019. The experience and knowledge that he gained are very helpful in his new position as a Look North Economic Development Advisor for CEDF. There, his main functional focus is financial and other support programs available to individuals, businesses and communities. The communities that he has been assigned to as the Look North contact person include Leaf Rapids, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation, Marcel Colomb First Nation, Lynn Lake, Split Lake, Garden Hill First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation, Red Sucker Lake First Nation, and Island Lake. Together, CEDF will find the gaps in service that are a bitter reality for those living in the North. Kurt and CEDF will see those gaps as opportunities, and they’ll find ways to fill those gaps – creating jobs & wealth and improving Northern Communities along the way.