Through the years, women have entered and succeeded in the workplace with exceptional speed and skill. In Thunder Bay, Indigenous women are taking over the workforce and moving into sectors that have previously been dominated by male workman.
Margaret Kenequanash, Larissa Mikkelsen, and Joan Tangie are three such women breaking the barriers for women in these sectors.
While all three women began within their sector separately, it was through the Mooka’am Kwe: She Rises BizCamp that all three began building within their industries and succeeding through their business.
Tangie was struggling with her business, Cleaning by Tangeeze: Residential and Commercial Cleaning and almost gave it up during the winter when she experienced a struggle with her mental health.
“I almost gave up my business [and] threw in the towel,” she says about her experiences.
Through PARO and the introduction to like-minded Indigenous women, Cleaning by Tangeeze now has four new employees and a brand-new truck. She says the business is growing and succeeding better than she could imagine.
“The Mooka’am Kwe: She Rises BizCamp impacted my life and my business in a positive way. The emotional and professional support was there for me when I needed it the most.”
From residential and commercial cleaning to mining and energy, women are continuously doing the work and making strides to benefit and grow these sectors.
Mikkelsen has been a continuous leader in the mining industry with her consulting firm and prides herself on creating space for women, adapting to needs and working in ways that benefit the women and the business.
“PARO empowered me to take my business to the next level. PARO’s tailored approach, led by dedicated advisors, guides individuals through funding applications and available resources,” she says about the growth she’s experienced this past year.
Succeeding in the long term
Kenequanash is a role model and long-time activist and expert within the energy sector. She has worked with First Nation Tribal Councils and has experience in financial, health and project management fields. With numerous awards granted, Kenequanash presented the keynote for Mooka’am Kwe: She Rises BizCamp saying, “if it makes sense, don’t walk away from it. Even if the majority don’t agree.”
As the CEO of the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project, Kenequanash is the leader of a 2021 Clean50 company and has led the $1.9 billion First Nations Initiative which is slated to eliminate 6.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Her topics during her keynote included opportunities about power, working within male-dominated sectors and leveraging to grasp opportunities and engagements.
While beginning a business or entrepreneurial venture, or succeeding within one over the years, Indigenous women are taking male-dominated sectors and flipping them on their axis to provide better opportunities for women.