Daryl Kootenay, co-founder of the Nakoda Youth Council, speaks at The Walrus Talks Youth Leadership.
On Feb. 20, a group of Suncor leaders and employees joined 500 others in Calgary for Suncor presents The Walrus Talks Youth Leadership. Six Indigenous speakers shared their perspectives on leadership, overcoming obstacles and the road to reconciliation.
“The times we’re living in are incredibly complex and challenging, but there’s also unprecedented opportunity,” says Eric Axford, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer, Suncor. “Young leaders have much to teach us, including around thinking differently, being more aware of the biases we all hold, and what’s needed to embark on the path for a brighter future.”
Since 2013, Suncor has supported The Walrus Talks events in cities across Canada in an effort to highlight and explore complex energy-related topics. This year, the focus was on Indigenous youth leadership.
Joining Suncor at the event were participants from this year’s Indspired Youth Experience , an initiative that brings together Indigenous youth from communities near Suncor operations to experience learning and leadership opportunities.
Daryl Kootenay, a member of the Stoney Nakoda Nation and co-founder of the Nakoda Youth Council, spoke at The Walrus Talks about some of the lessons he’s learned from volunteering around the world. “Opportunities like The Walrus Talks connect us and can help build more meaningful relationships,” says Daryl. “Looking from your ancestors’ perspectives, carrying that forward and following your heart is what’s important. It helps us make small changes that grow and become bigger and bigger.”
Another speaker, Jesse Thistle, shared his personal journey from being homeless to academic and governor general medalist. Eva Greyeyes, a 16-year-old actress and SHAD fellow, reflected on the value art has in storytelling and the strength and leadership young people have, unlocked by opportunities to share their Indigenous values.
“Indigenous young leaders have perspectives that can help us examine our own business and opportunities to change how we think and act for a stronger and more inclusive energy system,” says Eric. “Events like this are a chance for us to listen, reflect and, aligned to our social goal, act in areas of mutual interest that are impacting communities.”
Watch all the speakers from the event on Walrus Television.