As Executive Director with Canada Bridges, Alyssa draws on her experience in systems thinking and collaborative facilitation to support change leaders in the communities of Calgary, Morley, Siksika and Tsuu T’ina. Alyssa was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario where, from a young age, she was actively involved in serving her community through various organizations, including leadership positions in the Girl Guides of Canada and St. James United Church. Alyssa graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Engineering and continued on with several programs including a Certificate in Communication Processes focusing on intercultural and interpersonal communication, human development, adult education, organizational development and leadership. Prior to joining Canada Bridges, she spent four years working with Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) in Malawi, where she supported the coordination, learning and leadership role of district government offices providing water and sanitation to rural communities. Her work involved the co-development of management tools and learning resources to strengthen connections between government staff and civil society organizations and improve the collaborative planning and efficiency of long term, sustainable service delivery. Alyssa has also helped to build local chapters of EWB in three different communities across the country, including leading the development of Member Learning, Public Outreach, and High School Outreach programs.
Anna-Marie (she/her) joined Canada Bridges in April 2019 as Operations Manager. She loves singing, dancing, making jewelry, and taking care of business. Anna-Marie was born on unceded land stewarded by the Syilx and Secwepemc. She was lucky to learn about small business as part of the management team at the Bean Scene Coffee House in Vernon. Next came a year-long internship in arts administration at the Takitimu Maori performing arts centre in Hastings, New Zealand - a life changing adventure. On return, Anna-Marie joined the WestJet team, working as an analyst for methods and standards and eventually as manager of the Strategic Project Office. Her curiosity about collaboration, conflict, resilience and persistence eventually pulled her into the field of leadership development, and she is happy to be applying her skills in an organization that works so meaningfully with youth.
Cory Beaver is a passionate and creative individual from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation who is actively involved in the arts as a dancer, performer and actor. He is also a strong individual who always strives to make a change. In 2019, he Co-Chaired a summit called Sevengen, gathering over 200 Inuit, Metis, and First Nation youth from every province and territory. Since then, Cory has been an advocate for youth and indigenous people on various platforms. Cory is very optimistic and ambitious and believes that every voice matters. He is well-rounded with aspirations to inspire, empower, and uplift as many people as possible. Cory currently sits on the advisory board for Clouds Way Theatre company and is also involved with the Making Treaty 7 cultural society. When he is not training or performing, he is out in the mountains hiking or biking.
Ike is a Program Manager with Canada Bridges, and is currently working in the community of Morley. Prior to working with Canada Bridges, Ike earned a BA in Political Science with a Minor in History, he is also pursuing a graduate degree in International and Intercultural Communication from Royal Roads University. Ike’s passion is in developing capacities within communities through fostering a sense of pride within the people. Having worked within Calgary’s Afro Caribbean community for the past ten years, he has helped to nurture competencies related to relationship-based development initiatives. Ike is very excited to now be working in Morley with Canada Bridges as the role really speaks to who he is. Aside from work, Ike enjoys drumming, playing sports and traveling.
Jacie (she/her) is nehiyaw iskwew, from Wabasca, Alberta. She is a member of Bigstone Cree Nation, of Treaty 8. Jacie joined the Program Management team with experience supporting collaborative approaches, development of sustainable partnerships and coordination of coalition initiatives. Previously, she worked at the organizational level coordinating reconciliation and decolonization efforts, as well, participating in research and data mobilization for system change. She graduated from the University of Calgary with a BA in International Indigenous Studies, with a minor in Geography.
Her involvement in community building began when she entered university as a single parent. Participating in student leadership opportunities and volunteerism, often with her children, opened a world of learning and growth potential – from travels to Peru, connection through ceremony and land-based learning, and sharing her story on campus. Her passion is rooted in creating and deepening relationships for unity, wellness, and sense of belonging. Her greatest teachers are now teenagers, she raises with her partner - instilling purpose and curiosity for life.
Jacie is excited to work alongside youth and the Canada Bridges team to help utilize story to empower and identify strength in diverse communities and embrace collective potential toward transformational change for future generations.
Jaiden (She/They) is a Niitsitapi/Nehiyaw Iskwew from Siksika First Nation, Alberta, and Peepeekisis First Nation No.81 in Saskatchewan. Recently graduating from the University of Calgary with their BA in International Indigenous Studies, Jaiden harnessed their lived experience as a youth advocate and worker to create a community of wellness around them. Passionate about communal collaboration and intergenerational healing, their studies led them to Miskanawah Community Association to engage and learn with, and from Indigenous youth. Leading an Indigenous youth wellness program, they wove culture, ceremony, and wellness practices together in support of Elders and Knowledge Holders to nourish Indigenous youth towards a life of wellness.
Jaiden is also an apprentice yoga-teacher in the making, loves creating art through beadwork, sewing, paint, digital art, and other forms of media. They enjoy spending time in nature, hiking, plant harvesting, gardening, and attending ceremony. They strive to create space for youth to speak their truth, learn about themselves, and connect with community. With a collaborative mindset and heart space, Jaiden is excited to join the Canada Bridges team to coordinate the 2023 A Youth Explosion event and support other Canada Bridges Initiatives.
Hi, my name is Rachel (she/her) and I was raised on the land known as Mohkinstsis. From a young age I was pulled into positions of leadership, wishing to create safe and inclusive spaces. This took me to Xixi'ai, Chengdu to collaboratively create a framework for running youth summer camps. Locally, I am a founding member of Empirical Freedom, and have used my experience in the wellness sector to run youth programs at the Mustard Seed's Neighbour Centre. I'm driven by a desire to help people feel better in their day-to-day lives and believe that starts with being seen and heard. As the program assistant for Canada Bridge's social enterprise development, I hope to leverage the knowledge gained from my General Studies BA from Athabasca University to inform the discourse surrounding structural and systemic inequality as we work toward sustainable and equitable social development. Outside of work, I enjoy travelling, movement, concerts, video games, and being by the river or under the stars.
Spirit River Striped Wolf (He/Him) is from the Piikani Nation which helps make up the Blackfoot Confederacy in Treaty 7 Territory. His Blackfoot name is Makoyiomahka which describes an enduring running wolf. Spirit River, in his own journey, has learned from his own experience of intergenerational trauma as a second-generation survivor of the Indian Residential Schools, 60s scoop and the Indian Day Schools.
Spirit River has dedicated his life to improving the conditions of Indigenous Peoples through advocacy, volunteering, and leadership initiatives since his adolescence. He finished his degree at Mount Royal University, achieving a BA in Policy Studies. From 2016 to 2020, Spirit River and a professor created a social enterprise called Otahpiaaki which focused on supporting and promoting the work of Indigenous artistic based entrepreneurs. Spirit River’s role was to research barriers to Indigenous economic success, and so he wrote his award-winning paper “Indigenous Genocide: A Path to Indigenous Self Determination and Success” and now does workshops based on this research for businesses, nonprofits and all other groups and organizations.
From May 2020 to April 2022, Spirit River was the first Indigenous elected President for the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (re-elected in 2021). In this role he helped secure $5 million for Indigenous student academic centres from the Alberta Government, integrated policy development processes that ensure that marginalized students are prioritized and helped with the rebuilding and shifting that COVID-19 brought to the post-secondary educational system.
Tyra was born and raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta and represents the Kainai Nation. Tyra is our summer student and works alongside Alison in Siksika as a program assistant. Tyra primarily works with the Meaningful Futures Program, and Girls group at the high school. She enjoys guitar, music, films, and reading. Tyra attends the University of Calgary and recently finished her first year in the Aboriginal Student Access Program. In the future, Tyra hopes to pursue a career in social work and work in Siksika Nation. Tyra loves to engage with her community and with youth. Upon working with Canada Bridges, she hopes to gain knowledge on facilitating and being a role model for youth.
Hey, my name is Vincent, I am in my second year at MRU currently enrolled in Athletic therapy . I have a passion for sports and basketball specifically, I also enjoy listening to music and playing video games in my free time. I looked at SOS Congo and Canada Bridges as an opportunity to reach out, support/be a part of something that the community has been looking for since forever. It's great to be an active leader in our community and lend a helping hand where it's needed!
Student, Bachelor of Child Studies, Mount Royal University
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Director of Operations,
Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
University of Calgary