On October 15th and 16th, we attended the inaugural Workforce Forward conference in Calgary. The conference was held in collaboration with Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Alberta to explore best practices in HR, barriers and success stories related to the Indigenous workforce. We were thrilled to be able to sit on the Workforce Forward’s Leadership Council for and work with an organization who understands the current climate and is looking to educate other organizations and leaders on how to bridge the gap and create environments where Indigenous employees feel valued and can thrive.
As part of our involvement with Workforce Forward, we facilitated a special pre-conference Kairos Blanket Exercise for people who were looking to better understand the context of some of the challenges that would be discussed during the conference. We were blessed to have Grandmother Delphine Pipestem from Tsuu T’ina join us to provide cultural support and share her beautiful kindness, grace, and wisdom with us. If you have done the Blanket Exercise before, you know that the content can be challenging and unsettling and so it was an honour to work with participants who were dedicated to holding space and leaning into their discomfort in order to grow and learn.
We also sat on a panel focused on Culture and Retention in the workplace where panelists discussed how Indigenous cultures and teachings can create a more inclusive and productive working environment. We spoke about the importance of integrating culture in the workplace and our work providing organizations with the tools to build a culturally confident workforce, something that we believe is essential to increasing the retention of Indigenous employees and fostering meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.