Believers.
Building a more inclusive Canadian workforce

Change Makers

Established in 1991 by English River First Nation (ERFN), the Des Nedhe Development Corporation was designed to grow sustainable employment and business opportunities for ERFN community members.

Now, driven by our purpose, rooted in our character and led by a team of experts, Des Nedhe Group has grown into a national leader in Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development – a diverse collective of Indigenous-owned businesses dedicated to creating lasting change in Indigenous communities and corporate supply chains across Canada.

ERFN group shot
english river logo

Deeply rooted

For generations, the local Dene people have used the word Des Nedhe to describe the “great river” that flows next to them – known today as the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. Like that great river, Des Nedhe Group is powerful and relentless – always moving forward.

Rooted in the strength of the people and Elders of English River – and in the spirit of the river itself – we carry ambitions and dreams that will inspire the next generation of Indigenous leaders in the English River community and beyond.

Purpose-built

Des Nedhe Group is driven by powerful twofold purpose:

TO EMPOWER

a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs in English River First Nation and Indigenous communities across Canada, helping them to forge their own paths to economic self-determination.

TO DELIVER

top tier performance and value-adding partnerships to our clients, cultivating a skilled and inclusive workforce and supply chain that benefits all of Canada.

Business Success.
Transparency.
Accountability.

Our Board’s Story

As a group of enterprising companies, Des Nedhe Group is committed to the ambitions of our ERFN members, our community owners, and our industry partners. 

Back in 2016, ERFN decided to take Des Nedhe to the next level when it comes to governance. ERFN leadership brought in a structure modeled on the best Indigenous-owned companies globally.

It was determined that having a business board rather than a political board would be better for our company’s growth and needs. We wanted to ensure business decisions were made by people with the right skills and experience. We wanted there to be regular and rigorous oversight of the CEO and Executive Team, and we wanted ERFN leaders and members to have an easy line of sight on what is happening at their companies. With this, came greater certainty and stability for our lenders, investors, partners and our community members.  

Good Governance by Design

Our Board is governed by a best-practices Business Charter. The charter is a roadmap that defines the relationship between EFRN and its businesses. The Charter sets out things like:

  • How directors are appointed
  • Who sits on the board
  • When the board must seek approval from the Council
  • Reporting requirements back to ERFN leaders and members

The role of our board is to ensure business success, and to enhance transparency and accountability. 

From Community to Industry 

We feel a good board represents a range of sectors. We want our board members to be leaders in their communities, and leaders in their industries. Their unique insights, skills, and expertise are a resource we can draw from, and this is reflected in our criteria:

  • Board Members are professionals with demonstrated expertise in areas like construction, retail, renewable energy, or law
  • There can be up to seven seats on the Des Nedhe Board. Two of those seats must always be EFRN Band Members (but not Chief or Councillors)
  • One representative from ERFN Band Council attends board meetings, but cannot vote

The Board of Directors plays a number of important roles:

Helping

Helping guide the overall direction and strategy of Des Nedhe Group, in coordination with ERFN leadership

Developing

Developing a framework on how our company operates and what our policies will be

Protecting

Protecting our organization’s assets and making sure they are kept in good order. Assets include our facilities as well as our employees and contractors

Ensuring

Ensuring we as a company do what is best for our community owner and the membership


Board of Directors

Paul Martin

Chair

View bio

Melvina Aubichon

Director

View bio

Isidore Campbell

Elder Advisor

View bio

Norman Wolverine

Elder Advisor

View bio

Blair Davidson

Director

View bio

Alfred Dawatsare

Director

View bio

Heather Forbes

Director

View bio

David McFadden

Director

View bio

Management

Des Nedhe Group

Sean Willy

President and Chief Executive Officer

View bio

Des Nedhe Group

Jamie Dickson

Vice President, Law, Property and Retail

View bio

Des Nedhe Group

Preston Kalyniuk

Senior Director, Finance

View bio

Des Nedhe Group

Greg Miller

Senior Director, Technology

View bio

Des Nedhe Group

Lacey Unrau

Director, Human Resources

View bio

Des Nedhe Group

Trent Campbell

Manager, Community and Client Engagement

View bio

Des Nedhe Retail Management

Jason Allen

Director of Retail

View bio

Des Nedhe Properties

Lorne Wolfe

Director, Property Management

View bio

Des Nedhe Properties

Jeff Balon

Land Manager

View bio

Tron Construction and Mining

Mikhail Hanna

Vice President, Ontario

View bio

Creative Fire

Leanne Hall

Chief Executive Officer

View bio

Creative Fire

Jordan Baptiste

Managing Director

View bio


Strategy-First

We seek to build value and prosperity for English River and all of our stakeholders through:

Diversified investment

We pursue a range of investment opportunities that support growth, add value, and diversify our income streams.

A national presence

We seek opportunities to strategically grow our national footprint, expanding our impact geographically while reducing business risk.

Powerful partnerships

We actively engage and support long-term partnerships with companies and communities, including budding Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Social Responsibility

We invest our time, money, and effort uplifting communities where we work, further contributing to our purpose and building a legacy of hope.

Workplace Wellness

We make workplace safety and employee wellness a central consideration in all our decisions.

Diversity and Inclusion

We work daily to ensure diversity is reflected at every level of our companies, and optimize local Indigenous employment wherever we operate.