Wildfire Business Transitions panel

Blair Gray-General Manager CF Thompson Country

Blair Gray joined the CFTC in the General Manager role in June 2017. His five plus years’ experience managing in Not for Profit environments and overseeing multiple government funded contracts made him an ideal fit for the GM role. Areas of expertise include employment services, economic and partnership development, leadership, strategic planning, public communication, and workplace diversity and inclusion. His prior experience combines well with his scholastic background as he brings a diploma in business management as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Thompson Rivers University. In the General Manager position Blair strives to continue the Community Futures mandate of promoting Community Economic Development by assisting and supporting entrepreneurs throughout the Thompson Country region.

Debra Arnott-General Manager CF Sun Country

Debra joined Community Futures in 1992.  Debra was in a business partnership with her husband Brian in the logging industry and they made the decision to close their business following the 2017 wildfire season. Debra is a Certified Aboriginal Economic Developer through the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers, completed the Northwest Economic Development Course with the International Economic Development Council and Business Retention and Expansion Consultation Certification. Debra is known for her passion working with rural development, appointed by the Provincial Government to the Rural Advisory Council for three years prior to the change of government. Debra also volunteers on many Societies in her region and was acknowledged for her work as a recipient of the BC Achievement award. Debra is a strong advocate of small business, developing partnerships with stakeholders to ensure services are shared with rural communities.

Karen Eden-General Manager CF Cariboo Chilcotin

Karen came from an accounting and manufacturing company background before starting with Community Futures in 1996.  Since that time has held several positions with the organization and for the past 11 years as General Manager of Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin.  She has a strong background in, and extensive understanding of Entrepreneurism.  Karen has served as a director for the Community Futures British Columbia Association for 5 years and remains a member on many of the working committees. Outside of Community Futures she served as the Co-chair for the Williams Lake Communities in Bloom committee, the co-chair of Williams Lake Senior Secondary School Parent Advisory Group for 5 years.   Karen is currently an active and proud member of the Williams Lake Rotary club and a Past-President.  

Cheryl Johnson- Executive Director Community Futures BC

Cheryl joined CFBC as Executive Director in June 2017. She has an extensive background in non-profit management, event production and marketing communications.  She brings over 20 years of senior management experience working with non-profit boards and industry associations to facilitate their strategic objectives, strengthen government and stakeholder relations and enhance revenue stream opportunities. Prior to joining CFBC, Cheryl was Director of Operations of the BC Wildlife Federation, where, as senior staff officer, she was responsible for operational and strategic management of the largest conservation organization in BC with over 50,000 members and 100 affiliated clubs across the province.  She was also the founding Executive Director of a regional community Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) in Metro Vancouver and prior to that managed the world-renown Vancouver International Wine Festival for several years.  She established and ran a successful full-service event management company and led the management of numerous international conferences, trade shows, festivals and fundraisers throughout Western Canada, including the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Cheryl is an avid outdoors enthusiast who is passionate about small business.  She grew up in rural BC in a family that owned and operated a successful small business.

Trevor Kempthorne- Agriculture Manager

CF of Central Interior First Nations 

Trevor Is currently the Agriculture Business Manager for CFDC of CIFN, heading the Wildfire Business Transition Program from Western Economic Development Corporation

Trevor has extensive experience in developing new economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples having delivered many training programs, consultations, and workshops for entrepreneurs across Canada. He is an invited speaker to public engagements at National and International conferences.

Trevor has provided mentorship training to business development officers from Bolivian companies ANED and Pro Rural. he is a former volunteer with the World Bank where he assessed agriculture projects from developing countries making recommendations and final approval for their initiatives.

 Trevor is Vice President and founding member, Aboriginal Agricultural Educational Society of BC,        

 Past Chair/Director, Aboriginal Business Services Network of BC,  

Former Treasurer/Director, Small Scale Food Processors Association of Canada, and

Past Chair, National Aboriginal Agricultural Council.

Lending Panel

Tyrone Joseph - Business Development Officer All Nation Trust Co.

Tyrone Joseph is a Business Development Officer with All Nations Development Corporation/All Nations Trust Company. ANTCO is an Aboriginal Capital Corporation that provides funding and financing for aboriginal majority owned business projects in most industries. Each project could qualify for certain funding programs or financing products and Tyrone helps applicants to determine the eligibility of their projects. There are usually several options for funding and financing your project and Tyrone will discuss some of those options at the agricultural forum.

Jordan George - Senior Business Development Advisor

Jordan George is a member of the Esketemc First Nation located in the Williams Lake area. He has been working for Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations since April 2001. Jordan is a certified Business Councilor through the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). He has also attended Thompson Rivers University working towards his Bachelor of Arts. More recently, Jordan has received the Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer (PAED) certificate from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers. Jordan attended Thompson Rivers University for a Management Skills for Supervisors program coupled with a negation training program for managers at the Banff University. His current position with this organization is Senior Business Development Advisor. During his employment with this organization Jordan has had a variety of responsibilities, from administering collection responsibilities, to administration duties for the operations department. As a Senior Business Development Advisor Jordan manages a group of loan clients through the loan process within Community Futures and monitors the clients through the inception and duration of the loan with business plan assistance to cash flow projections. Jordan continues to develop his skills and experience within Community Futures and promotes Aboriginal economic growth throughout the CFDC of CIFN designated service areas.

Scott Montagliani-BMO Bank of Montreal Agriculture Markets

As a Relationship Manager with BMO who specializes in the agriculure industy, Scott has benefitted from spending time banking all over the Province including the Okanagan, Kootenays, and Prince George areas. Each region brings a different and divererse set of economic opportunites in agriculture. Scott’s banking background includes a personal perspective on lending and investment planning for entrepreneurs before shifting focus more solely to business banking and supporting local businesses, farmers, and ranchers.

Amos Rossworm - Farm Credit Canada 

Amos grew up on a grain and oilseed farm in northern Alberta before competing his Agricultural Degree in Lethbridge and moving to the Okanagan in 2007. He has been working in the agri finance business since 2009 and has compiled a wealth of knowledge around the local agri sectors.

Registration & Insurance Panel

Michael Forbes-All Nations Insurance Brokers

Michael is the President of Kamloops Insurance Services Inc. He has worked in Insurance brokerages for nearly thirty years, both in insurance management, account management, training and leadership roles. Mike is the Nominee for the All Nations Insurance Brokers Inc. Mike has served his entire insurance career specializing in commercial risks. Twenty years plus working with First Nations communities and businesses. Current portfolio strengths include first nations and municipal accounts, construction and trades, transportation technology, wholesale and retail industries, and manufacturing accounts. Michael’s specialist portfolio strengths include intricate liability accounts, forestry, ranching programs and varied commercial, property and liability related accounts. Having headed up several Association portfolios in past years; he also owned his own small Ranch in Monte Lake, just south of Kamloops. Mike is a Rotarian and a long-term committee member of the IndoCan Links Charity Golf Tournament. He was a winner of the Insurance Institute of Canada’s Public Speaking Competition in British Columbia. He is a past Director of the British Columbia Insurance Broker’s Association. Michael holds a General Insurance Agent (Level 3, nominee) licensed through the Insurance Council of British Columbia. He is also licensed in Alberta and the Yukon Territory.

Flora Joe- Outreach Worker CF of Central Interior First Nations 

Flora Joe’s background is in First Nations Cultural Education. As a First Nations Education Worker Flora worked for school district 73 for 5 years. Recently Flora has moved into working with Indigenous small business owners as an outreach worker for the Wild Fire Business Transitions Project. As an outreach worker she provides small business support services to Indigenous communities in the interior. Working with the Wildfire Business Transitions clients effected by the 2017 wildfire season, has proven the importance of business registration and insurance for businesses to move forward after any natural disaster to avoid closure and faster recovery. 

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