Meet our Team

Edmund Bellegarde, MBA, Pro.Dir – Chief Executive Officer

Okimaw Kihewîkwan (King Eagle Feather) is a citizen of Little Black Bear’s Band of Cree & Assiniboine Nations of Treaty 4. Edmund is a recognized leader in Indigenous development and an influential bridge builder focused on advancing Reconciliation. With more than thirty years of experience, he specializes in Nation Building, Indigenous governance, corporate governance, strategy, partnerships, consultation, intergovernmental relations, and international diplomacy. He is an accomplished executive with broad leadership experience and an extensive network in all levels of government, economic development, commercial gaming, banking, e-commerce, public healthcare, education, affordable housing, and public policy.

John Desjarlais, P.Eng, MBA, PsGov – Chief Impact Officer 

John is Néhinaw (Cree)-Metis from Kaministikominahikoskak (Cumberland House), Saskatchewan. John has a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, and an MBA from the University of Saskatchewan and started his career in 2001 in the mining industry and worked in a variety of roles including environment and safety, maintenance and reliability engineering management until moving onto executive leadership in economic development and construction. As a management consultant, John serves as the Executive Director of the Indigenous Resource Network and volunteers as Past President of APEGS. John also has extensive regulatory, volunteer, governance, and civil society experience serving on a variety of boards, committees, and other initiatives.

Bailey Watson, BA – Chief Relations Officer

A member of Little Black Bear, Bailey has demonstrated expertise in First Nations governance and political relations. In her most recent roles with the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council as Director of Stakeholder Relations & Administration at FHQ eCommerce and Community Relations & Special Projects with FHQTC, she gained extensive experience in community engagement, inter-governmental relations, economic development, and project management. Bailey is dedicated to advancing the interests of First Nations and fostering partnerships that create positive change. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Environment (Concordia University, Montreal, QC).

Denise Stroeder, B.Sc. – Chief Alignment Officer

Denise has worked in the economic development field for over 20 years with a particular focus on the tourism industry. Her last 12 years were spent with Tourism Saskatchewan where she worked with many indigenous businesses, communities and regions to increase their tourism potential. She was instrumental in the creation and management of a program that helped them develop new and immersive experiences for their guests. These experiences were a natural bridge that allowed business owners to tell their stories to their guests through true reconciliation. Her keen eye for detail, incredible organization skills and outgoing personality fit perfectly with her role as CAO of Kihew.

Michelle Hooey, DipAccy – Finance & Administration Officer

Michelle has worked in the accounting industry for 30 years, and for the last 16 years, supported entrepreneurs and disabled peoples’ dreams of small business development through mentorship, education, and navigating financial situations. Michelle has a passion for volunteering, having served on many boards and committees throughout the years, with an interest in assisting special needs friends expand their inclusivity in the community. Her recent relocation and career change open a new chapter for her and Kihew is the perfect company to guide her on her new path.

Meet our Associates

Carley Duckmanton, BTM

Carley is a member of the Adams Lake Indian Band (Secwépemc Nation). Inspired by her passion for travel, she has utilized her knowledge and education to create a professional path of advancing Indigenous tourism and truth and reconciliation through policy, engagement, and Indigenous tourism-related initiatives. Carley has over 20 years of expertise in Indigenous tourism and economic opportunities and holds understanding and insights in collaborating with Indigenous communities, organizations, and governments including 16 years at Parks Canada. Knowledgeable and experienced in research, she excels in analyzing and presenting information to decision-makers and developing resources, toolkits, and programs. As a highly effective communicator and presenter/speaker, Carley is a skilled meeting and workshop planner and facilitator. Carley is a highly motivated, personable Indigenous professional, who takes responsibility, strives for authenticity, and makes things happen.

Stéphanie Blondin, MPA, B.A., L.L.B.

Stéphanie Blondin has extensive experience in providing strategic policy advice to move complex files forward using skills honed over two decades of advancing through the federal government ranks, including six years as an Executive at Indigenous Services Canada. In her work within the federal government, Stephanie developed and managed multi-million-dollar programs in the areas of Indigenous economic development and clean energy. With a deep understanding of how government programs and policy are developed, she is in a unique position to support socio-economic projects for the advancement of Reconciliation. Fully bilingual with a degree in Law (L.L.B.) and Master’s in Public Administration, she has a well rounded approach to creating partnerships in governmental affairs.