ITAC Staff

The head office of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada is located in Vancouver, BC, on unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Led by the CEO, ITAC staff are responsible for the day to day operations of the organization including activities and plans as approved by the Board of Directors.

  • Keith Henry, B. ED

    President & CEO

    Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Henry achieved a B.Ed. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995.

    Mr. Henry began his career in 1995 with teaching positions and has become well known for his strategic administrative and negotiations skills. Since 1998 Mr. Henry has led numerous provincial, federal and industry negotiations on a variety of issues. He has been directly responsible for financial administration of a number of Aboriginal non-profits and has a proven track record of success.

    Mr. Henry has become an international Aboriginal cultural tourism leader receiving Aboriginal/Indigenous recognition as the former CEO for Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). In April 2014 the inaugural World Indigenous Tourism Alliance award recognized the work of AtBC and Mr. Henry’s leadership. Mr. Henry has been spearheading the growth of authentic Aboriginal tourism in Canada as he worked to redevelop the national Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada as elected chair when this organization incorporated in April 2015. In October 2015 Mr. Henry took the full time role as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s CEO.

    In Canada Mr. Henry continues to be recognized across the country as one of the leaders in Aboriginal tourism and has led many new initiatives including the national strategy entitled “The Path Forward 2016-2021”, contributions to the development of national standards on market readiness and authenticity, cruise industry opportunities and the national Aboriginal tourism research project on the economic value of Aboriginal cultural tourism. Mr. Henry was instrumental in the development of the national Aboriginal tourism strategy The Path Forward 2016-2021 which will focus on increasing Aboriginal market readiness, increasing jobs, and increasing revenues. Over the course of the last number of years Mr. Henry has been invited to numerous international locations to support Aboriginal tourism strategies.

    Mr. Henry volunteers time in the Aboriginal community and maintains several board positions including the former President of the Industry Council for Aboriginal Business, former chair of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, current Chair for the Native Education College, member of the Minister’s Council on Tourism, former member of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Aboriginal Opportunities Committee, member of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, member of the International Marketing Committee Destination Canada member, and current President of the BC Métis Federation.

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  • Casey Vanden Heuvel

    Director, Business Development & Partnerships

    Casey’s role as the Director of Business Development & Partnerships at the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is to strategically and tactically grow the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada by leading with strategic partnerships, supportive programming and innovative strategies. Casey leads the development team to deliver ITAC programs such as the Product Development Grant program, the International Indigenous Tourism Conference as well as working with new provincial and territorial associations to support new business and development.

    Experienced and knowledgeable in strategic business planning, communications, marketing and business operations/logistics, Casey has followed a diverse career path which includes independent tourism consulting work as well as leading the team at the award-winning Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, BC as their Executive Director. Casey also directed the communications and media strategy for Tourism Whistler during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Casey and his family live in Squamish BC and they look forward to every chance possible to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Canada.

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  • Dené Sinclair

    Director of Marketing

    Dené Sinclair serves as the Director of Marketing and is responsible for the targeted marketing and sales efforts in core and emerging markets through relationships with ITAC members, Destination Canada, Provincial/Territorial Marketing offices and key tourism organizations. Key partnerships include media and travel trade marketplaces, research, digital campaigns and co-operative marketing programs.

    Ms. Sinclair has more than 10 years experience in tourism marketing and destination development after spending more than a decade with Travel Manitoba. She also spent time working with the 2002 North American Indigenous Games, the Aboriginal Sport Circle and NAIG Council and has been recognized as one of CBC Manitoba’s 2016 Top 40 Under 40 as well as a 2016 Finalist of the YMYWCA’s Manitoba Women of Distinction.

    Dené has a diploma in Public Relations from the University of Winnipeg, and is working towards a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Communications, Tourism and Indigenous Studies at Royal Roads University and the University of Manitoba.

    Dené lives and works in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis Nation. She acknowledges her traditional homeland around Selkirk, Manitoba (St. Peter’s Band) as a member of Peguis First Nation and a proud Anishinaabekwe.

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  • Cecilia Point

    Director of Finance

    As the Director of Finance for ITAC, Cecilia contributes to the overall success of the organization by effectively managing all financial tasks for the organization including financial accounting and reporting, developing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with internal financial and accounting policies and procedures, developing and maintaining financial accounting systems as well as preparing and reviewing monthly results and monthly variance reporting. Cecilia also prepares budgets and financial reports for funding applications and project management accounting.

    A member of the Musqueam Indian Band, Cecilia has worked in the travel and tourism industry in excess of 25 years. Her career began at American Airlines and Air Canada working in Finance, Pensions and Pricing, she later joined Tourism BC working in Partnership Marketing’s inaugural Aboriginal Tourism division, and more recently held the position of Finance Manager at Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC. Cecilia has a certificate in Business from the University of British Columbia, supplemented with courses in Finance, and First Nations Studies including hən̓q̓min̓əm̓ (Musqueam language). She has donated a tremendous amount of her time to her nation and a number of local Aboriginal causes, which currently includes sitting as a volunteer Board Member on 2 cultural and women’s organizations in Vancouver’s downtown east side.

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  • Lori Beaver

    Regional Coordinator - Alberta

    Lori Beaver is from the Alderville First Nation in Ontario. She has lived in Calgary for more than 25 years. Beaver has worked in Aboriginal tourism many years, assisting entrepreneurs in all facets of product and business development throughout Alberta.

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  • Sherry Daniels

    Executive Assistant

    Sherry is the Executive Assistant who provides logistical and administrative support to the ITAC Board of Directors as well as the President & CEO. She has worked in Métis politics for more than 20 years and also spends time on her first love – interior design. Sherry is Métis from the Belhumeur & Hayden families in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan. She makes her home in BC now and loves fitness and being outside in the garden.

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  • Teresa Ryder

    Project Manager

    Teresa Ryder works as the Project Manager in the Industry Development Department at ITAC. Teresa is of Musqueam descent, born in the Lower Mainland and raised on Vancouver Island. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Criminology from Simon Fraser University.

    Before joining the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), Teresa worked for the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (AtBC), as well as in various roles throughout the hospitality industry. Her passion for working with people and joy in learning from and about other Indigenous communities has led her to her career in tourism and community development.

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  • Joe Hidayat

    Finance Manager

    Joe Hidayat, CPA, CMA moved to Canada from Indonesia fourteen years ago. He studied law before becoming an accountant. Passionate about finance and accounting, he holds a CPA, CMA professional designation in Canada. He is also member of the AFOA Canada.

    Joe has previously worked at University of British Columbia as a Senior Financial Specialist and then moved to FinTech Company, Hyperwallet, as a Risk Fraud Analyst. He currently works at ITAC as a Finance Manager. He enjoys implementing his interdisciplinary experience to develop strategy to solve complex problems, drive organizational growth, and deliver value to stakeholders.

    Joe loves travelling, culinary experiences and music. He is grateful to be working for an Indigenous Corporation, so he has a chance to support a bright positive future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together.

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  • Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard

    Sales & Marketing Manager

    After spending 10 years serving the Quebec Aboriginal tourism industry, first with Tourism Wendake and then with Quebec Aboriginal Tourism, Sebastien Desnoyers-Picard has joined ITAC as the Sales & Marketing Manager. Through out his career, Sebastien has developed many strong partnerships and relationships with industry leaders across the globe. As a member of the Huron-Wendat Nation and French speaking Indigenous person, Sebastien is a strong member of the ITAC marketing team working to achieve all the targets in the 5-year plan – A path forward.

    Sebastien has a diploma in Business, a degree in Sales and Marketing, and has completed an Indigenous studies program at Laval University. Born and raised in Wendake where he still lives and works, Sebastien takes great pride in defending Indigenous interest throughout all aspects of his life and career and focusses on bringing solutions to bring communities and the Indigenous tourism industry forward.

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  • Malcolm MacPherson

    Legal Advisor

    Malcolm MacPherson is a lawyer and negotiator of Mi’kmaq and Metis heritage. He was born and raised in Vancouver. Called to the bar in 2003, Malcolm has primarily practiced law in the area of economic development as it applies to First Nation clients. He has particular expertise in the large scale economic development of reserve lands – term sheet process leading to definitive agreement (focus on real estate). Malcolm was instrumental in a prominent multi-million dollar CP land transaction and development at the Tsawwassen First Nation. Malcolm also has expertise organizing and negotiating large scale proponent development proposals (oil and gas) – regulatory, engagement, economic development, supply chain management/goods and services. In his spare time, Malcolm is fond of fishing and travelling.

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  • May Verra

    Office Assistant

    May Verra serves as the office assistant and is responsible for providing administrative support to the Project Manager and Finance Manager. She moved to Canada from Brazil in 2016. Her original name is Maiara which means “wise” in Tupí, an Indigenous Brazilian language. She studied graphic design and marketing and is passionate about events.

    May enjoys solving problems and planning and executing a task meticulously with a flair for graphic design whenever possible. She also loves to read, play board games with her friends and listen to music. May is grateful to be in Vancouver living a blessed life with her husband in spite of being away from her family.

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  • Ron Ostrom

    Northern Coordinator (YK, NT, NU)

    Ron Ostrom in the Owner/Managing Director of RCO Tourism Marketing Services, a company dedicated to providing a wide range of services including strategic advice, marketing plan development, training and market representation. As a Metis person, and a longtime resident of the Northwest Territories, Ron is passionate about the Aboriginal Tourism industry in Canada’s north, and is pleased to promoting the wide range of diverse Aboriginal experiences that are offered throughout the three territories. Having worked as Marketing Director for Northwest Territories Tourism for ten years, Ron developed strong working relationships with key travel trade, media, meeting and incentive travel (MCIT) government agencies and local tourism operators who work in the industry, both on a national and international scale. Working as a sole proprietor for the past year, Ron has developed a deeper appreciation for the many challenges that entrepreneurs living and working in Canada’s north face on a daily basis. Ron is keen to bring his passion and skills to the work that ITAC is doing to develop the Aboriginal Tourism sector in Canada’s North.

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  • Jessica Dumas

    Central Coordinator (MB & SK)

    Jessica Dumas is the Regional Coordinator for Manitoba. She has several year’s experience as a Professional Coach, Facilitator and Public speaker. She has been passionately involved in executive coaching, group facilitation and training, conflict resolution and mediation, event management and event planning, social media marketing, customer service training, program development and community leadership.

    Jessica is an energetic and motivated professional who quickly gains the trust of an audience with her warm and engaging personality and professional style. She was recognized for her professional expertise through nomination as a finalist in the CBC’s Top 40 Manitoban’s under 40 for 2015 and most recently, a finalist for 2017 Future Leaders of Manitoba.

    Jessica’s volunteer contributions have gained her wide respect within Manitoba. She served two, one-year terms as Chair of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, she is a current Board of Director for the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the City of Winnipeg’s Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

    As a motivated Entrepreneur and skilled communicator, Jessica is the creator of Insights Inc., a digital space to talk about Indigenous Reconciliation and education in Canada. She leads essential discussions on inclusion of the Indigenous community, while also providing introductory training to educate business leaders on the historic roots of the relationship with government. Her vision is to help communities gain knowledge and skills on bringing reconciliation into everyday life.

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  • Trina Mather-Simard

    Atlantic Coordinator (NB, NS, PE, NF)

    Trina Mather-Simard is a proud status member of Curve Lake First Nation and an active community member of the urban Indigenous community of Ottawa. Trina has been President of the successful and award winning Turtle Island Tourism Company since 1998, operating Canada’s ONLY urban Aboriginal cultural experience“ Aboriginal Experiences in the heart of Ottawa” since 2000. Trina has successfully managed a number of local, provincial and national level projects supporting Aboriginal culture, heritage, tourism development and training initiatives for clients including Canadian Heritage, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (also INAC), Parks Canada and Aboriginal Tourism Marketing Circle (now Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada). During this time, Trina has also been actively engaged in the development of Aboriginal Tourism both provincially and nationally. She was one of the founding members of the Aboriginal Tourism Marketing Circle (now Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada) and served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the organization until leaving the Board in 2016.

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  • The Update Company

    Online Marketing & Graphic Design Support

    The Update Company is an online marketing agency based on Vancouver Island, BC, working primarily with Indigenous organisations, businesses and communities. The Update Company has been supporting ITAC since the organisation began, beginning with the design of the ITAC logo, branding and the corporate and consumer websites. Their agency has produced web and graphic design for ITAC’s marketplace at Rendez-vous Canada, the International Aboriginal Tourism Conference, ITAC reports and many other projects. The Update Company team also helps to deliver all of ITAC’s social media and email newsletters.

    www.TheUpdateCompany.com

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  • Beattie Tartan

    Communications Support

    Beattie Tartan is Canada’s leading integrated communications agency with a proud PR and digital marketing pedigree. Beattie Tartan supports ITAC with full service public relations services including media relations, reputation management and content creation. Founded 31 years ago, Beattie Tartan is one of the fastest growing integrated marketing groups in North America and Europe. Headquartered in London Beattie Tartan has four offices in Canada – Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Victoria. Clients include global, national and local brands spanning 12 industry sectors including tourism, health, retail, real estate and tech.

    www.BeattieTartan.ca

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