Inspiring Success - Scholarship supports student in program that serves “my heart and my brain”
Scholarship from the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund is a “huge relief” for Kandice Charlie's family
By Shari Narine
A $2,000 scholarship from the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund is a “huge relief” for her family, says recipient Kandice Charlie.
“My husband falling sick for a while, it was all falling on me to financially support us,” said Charlie. “It’s not like we have an extra $1,000 for winter tires and we need to keep our family safe and we live remotely on a reserve. So anything like that is something I don’t have to worry about or stress out about.”
Charlie, registered to the Xaxl’ip community of the St’at’imc Nation, lives in Sts’ailes with her husband and two children. She has spent the past 10 years working with Sts’ailes leaders and community champions on a variety of projects and community initiatives, which has provided her with a hands-on approach to looking at self-determination and economic viability and sustainability.
It was with this experience in mind that Charlie decided to pursue an Executive Master of Business Administration program in Aboriginal Business and Leadership.
“It’s the first of its kind and what I wanted was to gain knowledge in mainstream business and business development area. But what’s unique about this program is that it’s woven very nicely with Aboriginal values and Aboriginal management. In an Aboriginal organization it’s not necessarily the same as maybe a corporate organization but you kind of get the flavour of both,” said Charlie.
The scholarship money helps with the costs of living in Vancouver for six weeks over the seven-month time frame needed for her to do her course work at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University where she’s enrolled in her second year of the program. Charlie leaves Vancouver with her assignments and can complete them in her home community.
Charlie achieved a 3.83 grade point average in her first year.
“Kandice brings a wealth of community-based knowledge, experience, sensitivity and understanding of Indigenous issues, such as governance, social welfare and economic development,” said Mark Selman, director of the EMBA program
“Her classroom contributions consistently show her genuine interest and passion for her community and family,” said Selman.
Charlie stresses that both community involvement and connection with her culture are important.
“I do my best to stay informed and involved when possible,” she said. “I carry myself as a proud First Nation’s woman and I encourage our teaching with my children and those around me. I am still growing and eager to learn our culture and traditions, a lifelong journey I will always embrace.”
Paul Andrew, finance manager with Sts’ailes, calls Charlie “a great example for the youth in the community (and)… a successful hardworking St’at’imc that knows her community, culture and travels home regularly to practice her Aboriginal rights and her culture.”
To that end, Charlie says the Executive Master of Business Administration program in Aboriginal Business and Leadership is a perfect fit for her.
“It’s a very unique program and it serves my heart and my brain well,” she said.
She plans to bring back to her community what she learns in order to build capacity, strengthen the local organizations, and help in making informed decisions.
Executive MBA, Aboriginal Business & Leadership, Simon Fraser University
Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick
Business Administration - Accounting, New Brunswick Community College, Fredericton
Serpent River First Nation, Ontario