Episode 87: Denise Williams, CEO, First Nations Technology Council

December 08, 2020

Joining us in this episode is Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council. From her childhood dreams of being an astronaut while raised in a logging camp, to studying at Vancouver Island University, to her acceptance at Simon Fraser University to pursue an executive MBA, Denise - as she describes - “meandered” through her education to the position she is in today, leading a non profit that connects with different levels of government, provides education and scholarship opportunities to Indigenous youth, and attempts to mend the digital divide between Indigenous communities across Canada. You will hear all about that and so much more in this interview.

(Please excuse any audio hiccups in this remotely recorded interview.)

Guest: Denise Williams (LinkedIn)

At the intersection of Indigenous sovereignty, technological advancement and a rapidly expanding technology and innovation economy, Denise has the privilege of working with Indigenous peoples, governments, academics, technology futurists and social change makers to map an ecosystem that will result in fair and equitable access to the tools and education required to lead digital transformation in the 21st century. Denise leads a theory of change that aims to ensure Indigenous peoples are leading and competitive in Canada’s technology and innovation sector and in growing connected economies at home. Her purpose is to create space for Indigenous peoples to access the knowledge they carry from their ancestors and bring back community, balance and humanity to the design, integration and evolution of digital technologies and online spaces. The legacy of which is meant to advance Truth and Reconciliation both in physical and virtual worlds.

With a passion for contributing and volunteering with organizations that influence real change and the advancement of Truth and Reconciliation, Denise proudly serves as Director on the Boards of the Urban Native Youth Association, Vancouver Foundation, MakeWay, Innovate BC, Policy Horizons Canada, Hollyhock Learning Institute and Simon Fraser University Board of Governors as Alumni-in-Order and Chair of University Relations, where she earned her masters degree in business administration in 2015.

Denise has been selected as one of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation's Mentors with the 2020 stream of scholars in technology and ethics, is an Activator with SheEo and has been awarded Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 in 2018, Motherboards Human of Year in 2017, BC’s Most Influential Women STEM Stars in 2017, and Women in Technology’s Community Champion in 2016.

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