Katie Young-Haddlesey

Professionalism pays off with national nomination for Curve Lake EDO

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Writer

Katie Young-HaddleseyKatie Young-Haddlesey got a bit more than she bargained for when her private consulting business was doing work with Ontario’s Curve Lake First Nation.

Impressed with her efforts and professionalism, officials from the First Nation offered her a job as its Economic Development Officer.

Less than three years after accepting that position, Young-Haddlesey is now in the running for a prestigious national award.

She’s one of two finalists for Cando’s EDO of the year. The winner and runner-up will be announced at the annual Cando Conference, scheduled for Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, Que.

“I was pretty surprised,” Young-Haddlesey said of her EDO award nomination from Cando, the organization which promotes Indigenous economic development across Canada. “But it’s quite humbling to know all the hard work to put our First Nation forward is being recognized.”

Besides running her own consulting business, Affinity Strategic Communications, Young-Haddlesey also had a lengthy work career near the Curve Lake First Nation.

She served 13 years as the communications officer for the corporation which has been renamed the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. She also spent a couple of years working for a group responsible for business development at the Peterborough Municipal Airport.

Young-Haddlesey, who is not Indigenous, has three children along with her husband Brian, a member of the Curve Lake First Nation. The family lives in Warsaw, located about a 30-minute drive southeast of the First Nation.

Young-Haddlesey had earned an advertising diploma from Belleville’s Loyalist College back in 2000. Six years later she was presented with an economic development certificate from the University of Waterloo.

As of October she’ll be back in school, working towards a Governance and Public Policy degree from Toronto’s Ryerson University. She anticipates it will take five years to complete the requirements for the degree, being offered through distance education via the First Nations Technical Institute.

While working for the Curve Lake First Nation, Young-Haddlesey helped with the development of its first strategic tourism plan.

“Tourism is something I’m really passionate about,” she said.

Young-Haddlesey’s projects with the First Nation have also included helping facilitate the development of a new commercial centre, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.

Young-Haddlesey though credits her co-workers for her successes.

“I’m very proud of my staff,” she said. “We have a really good team. I don’t pretend that I can do anything without those people at the table with me.”