Indigenous leaders can upgrade business skills through new HEC Montréal school – Montreal Gazette

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The first cohort of 12 to 15 students will include chiefs and grand chiefs of First Nations communities.
In a bid to foster better management and business practices in Quebec’s Indigenous communities, the HEC Montréal business school has launched an educational project designed for current and future leaders of First Nations.
The new school, called First Nations Executive Education, was designed by Indigenous community leaders in conjunction with the Université de Montréal’s business school.
The program will offer short, university-level courses for elected officials, administrators, managers and entrepreneurs in First Nations communities.
The school is the brainchild of Manon Jeannotte and Ken Rock, both graduates of the McGill-HEC Montréal executive MBA program.
“Our vision is to give every leader the tools they need to be a force for positive change and success within their communities — elements that are critical for First Nations’ self-determination and improved socio-economic conditions,” Rock said at a news conference in Montreal Thursday.
The first cohort of 12 to 15 students will include chiefs and grand chiefs of First Nations communities.
The free classes, which begin next month, will be held online, in local communities and at the HEC.
One of the goals is to improve the business acumen of community leaders and allow Indigenous people to play a greater role in the economic development of their community .
“The Cree have experience with Hydro-Québec, the Atikamekw have a lot of experience in forestry and the Innu have experience in the mining industry,” Rock said. “People who participate will share their experience with other communities.”
HEC faculty and First Nations trainers will lead classes. The modules offered will be tailored to meet the needs of participants.
The HEC is committed to educating business and community leaders across Quebec, said Serge Lafrance, director of HEC Montréal’s executive education program.
The new project “is unique because it was initiated by and for the First Nations community,” he said.
The announcement was made on the first day of the Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous Peoples and Quebec, a two-day event in which First Nations, Quebec business representatives and elected leaders discuss ways to improve the economies of First Nations communities.
Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, said he was so impressed by the new project that he has signed up to be one of the educators.
“It addresses the need for improving leadership skills that will have positive repercussions in all of our communities,” he said.
“For too long, we have been on the margins of economic development. This will improve the participation of Indigenous people in the local economy.”
kwilton@postmedia.com
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