Energy, passion and talent are all attributes needed to make a success in business and they definitely apply to Métis businesswoman and advocate Paulette Flamond.
Flamond has been the executive director of the Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre in Fort St. John for the past 15 years. Her enthusiasm inspires others and is helping Indigenous entrepreneurs of all ages to follow their dreams.
“I’ve got an abundance of energy and I love being a servant leader,” Flamond said. “I’m focused on what I can do for other people, how I can touch their lives and help them navigate through systems.”
Flamond’s drive to help people started when she was a child. When she was 10 years old, she went to her local Salvation Army depot in Battleford, Sask. and asked how she could help. That help turned into a door-to-door clothes drive, followed by a two-day sale to raise funds for the depot so it could help people who depended on its services. She’s been driven to help people ever since.
In recent years, Flamond has sat on various Indigenous business boards, including the Canada Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers and the Aboriginal Business Service Network. In 2011, she became a founding member of B.C.’s Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women (MACIW).
“What excites me about the council is the way it has developed over the years into a real grassroots entity,” she said. “Indigenous women are having their say at the table, and policy makers are listening.”
Influencing change and inspiring others are running threads through Flamond’s work. “I believe when Indigenous women step up, claim their self-esteem and draw on their cultural identity and traditions, then change can happen quickly,” she said. “I love learning and rate my education experiences as an important accomplishment in my life. One thing I’d say to young women coming up behind me, is to take leadership training whenever you can and get involved, whether it’s at a community, provincial or federal level. It will build a network of contacts that will help influence change in the future.”
Métis culture and heritage are important to Flamond in her day-to-day work. She is proud to be Métis and aims to bring a Métis cultural lens to her business life and remind everyone around her that Métis people have a unique voice among Indigenous people in B.C. that needs to be heard.
Despite all her business and life achievements, Flamond is not standing still. As well as running three businesses in Fort St. John that employ 20 people, and her work at the Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre and MACIW, she is talking to social media experts so that she can deliver a training program to help entrepreneurs in the Northeast learn to use new tools to their best advantage.
Her next project is to help inspire women in the region to explore their passion by developing a leadership program. She’s also supporting social enterprises, such as an Indigenous artists' market with funding from the provincial Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan and the Treaty 8 Tribal Association.
Flamond has dedicated her life to helping Indigenous people.
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who was kind and helpful,” she said. “Creating a supportive environment is important and, in the business centre or in any other environment, we’re here to serve people. If someone has a crazy idea, then it’s our job to help them focus it. I would never pull down someone’s dream. You do what you can to help them achieve it.”
October is Women’s History Month, when the achievements of women and girls are celebrated across Canada. Paulette Flamond is an inspirational businesswoman whose achievements will inspire generations of women in the Northeast and across British Columbia.
Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre: neabc.ca/
Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women: ow.ly/d1Qr30g88RM