Please note we are currently in the process of developing our agenda and will be confirming speakers each week. Stay tuned!
CEO, k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation
Conrad is the CEO of K̓awat̕si Economic Development General Partner Corporation (KEDC) which consists of a number of business entities; Construction, fisheries (Shellfish aquaculture), fish processing, forestry, marine services, real estate, and Tourism. As well as his role of CEO, he also continues to be a trusted advisor to Chief and Council during negotiations of agreements with private businesses and all levels of government. KEDC is currently operating within its 5 year ecdev plan, which flowed from the GNN Comprehensive Community Plan. KEDC started with 1 employees and this summer had over 150, in 3 years of operation.
I was born and raised in Gwa’dzi (Port Hardy) I am a Gwa’sala – Nakwaxda’xw member through my parents. After many years in the work force as a laborer I decided it was time for a change and so I went to study Destination Resort Management at Capilano University, I hold a diploma from Port Hardy Secondary School. I have been a proud member of the community from a young age I have had strong ties to the community through my parents (Johnny and Tina Henderson) giving me the drive to learn more about our culture and our history. Through this past it has given me all these great opportunities to work in such great fields like Sacred Wolf Friendship Center, KEDC and k’awat’si Tours some of my greatest accomplishments working side by side with my elders and my father. I am a proud father to four wonderful children and am happily married to Shannon.
Executive Director, Indigenous Tourism Ontario
Kevin, an Anishnaabe from Manitoulin Island, is a member of the Pike clan. He has been a key player in the development of Indigenous cultural tourism in Ontario since 2003. Kevin helped grow the Great Spirit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island, one of the province’s most renowned Indigenous tourism organizations that provides culturally authentic Indigenous experiences to visitors along with marketing support to Indigenous operators. He has provided leadership to GSCT formally for over 15 years and has imparted his guidance to countless individuals throughout Manitoulin Island and Ontario.
Kevin is now the Executive Director of Indigenous Tourism Ontario and works tirelessly to unite Indigenous tourism providers, grow market reach and bring meaningful employment opportunities to the region. He was a key proponent in the development of the Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre that brought together 7 different Indigenous investors and 7 different financing agreements. Kevin is a mentor and visionary who works closely with the Indigenous community to ensure sustainable and organic growth within the Indigenous tourism industry.
In 2015, Kevin was named the Tourism Champion of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. He has also been recognized by numerous media outlets for his accomplishments within the industry. Kevin sits on a variety of boards including Grants for Aboriginal Trail Tourism, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and owns his own tourism business and business consulting firm.
Founder of Canadian Ecotourism Services
As an Indigenous person from South Africa, Clinton brings an innovative approach to tourism development gained through his entrepreneurial abilities and community driven tourism ventures such as cultural infrastructure projects, tourism strategies, business planning, technology and product development. As founder and CEO he has operated Canadian Ecotourism Services for 21 years, providing sustainable economic development solutions with a social conscience.
Clinton works across Canada and internationally to develop Indigenous tourism projects ranging from individual grassroots efforts to large scale community developments. He is motivated and understanding of cultural keepers and entrepreneurs and their importance to the sustainability of Indigenous tourism. He is thankful for the opportunity to learn from and empower community champions that believe cultural preservation is central to a vibrant and sustainable community. He believes all good ideas start with a conversation and are brought to life by the willingness of the human spirit.
As a speaker Clinton has delivered over 200 workshops to small, medium, and large corporate groups; developed and delivered over 50 interactive workshops on various tourism development models; and has presented as a keynote speaker at many tourism conferences including hosting the 1st International Ecotourism Summit in Chile.