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Denise Williams, GDBA ’12, MBA ’15
Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Technology Council
Award Category: Service to the Community
Denise Williams, a member of the Cowichan Tribes, is a visionary who has made a remarkable contribution to achieving digital equity for Indigenous peoples in Canada. Leading the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) for 10 years, in a context where numerous Indigenous communities across the country have limited and/or unreliable access to technology (high speed internet, for example), Denise has brought together the goals of Indigenous sovereignty and technological advancement within a rapidly expanding, global tech and innovation economy.
As the architect of the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC), Denise has established several key initiatives including BC’s first Indigenous Innovation Institute, first research projects done on First Nations participation in the tech and innovation sector and the first Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy, calling upon influential groups of Indigenous, government and industry leaders to better coordinate and cooperate to achieve digital equity. When the strategy completes in late 2022, BC will have for the first time a comprehensive roadmap where investment, partnership and policy reform are required to move forward, ensuring all Indigenous peoples have both access to, and leadership of, the most powerful platforms our human society has ever built.
Giving her time and resources freely, Denise puts others first and consistently holds up and celebrates everyone around her. She is dedicated to creating and holding space for youth voices and is most often heard talking about future generations and the work we must do today for their benefit. She is proud to hold governance positions with the Urban Native Youth Association, MakeWay Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Innovate BC and SFU Beedie School Advisory Board, to name just a few.