Kristin is a manager of Indigenous markets at CIBC and is a proud member of the Red River Métis Nation. Born and raised on the Red River Métis homeland and Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg), she is currently an uninvited guest living on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
What or who has been the greatest influence in your career?
I’ve been lucky to have had several powerful influences and amazing leaders in my life. Each of whom has inspired me throughout my career in Indigenous finance in their own unique way.
When people think of banking, their mind goes to a boring desk job solely crunching number. However, a person I worked with early on in my career showed me that it has the potential to be so much more. To me, my position in banking has allowed me to build relationships with Indigenous people and organizations. It gives me the ability to specialize in Indigenous economic development, but I also have to be involved in the community in a meaningful way through my work. I can truly make a difference for people in Indigenous communities.
Currently, I am a member of the inaugural cohort of the Indigenous Leadership Circle, which has allowed me to connect with other business professionals, each of which continues to inspire me throughout my career. Mentorship opportunities like this have allowed me to meet people who share my goals and values. I think it’s important to have mentorship circles like this to connect and learn from each other.
What is your favourite thing about what you do in your career and why?
I work with Indigenous organizations to provide financial services and custom solutions to meet the needs of Nations and their citizens. My favourite part of my job is travelling to First Nation communities across British Columbia to build relationships with the Nation’s leadership and members. I love learning about each community and the traditions that are unique to them. The ability to truly make a difference within Indigenous communities across the province brings meaning and fulfilment to my work.
Do you have a mantra or phrase you live by? What is it?
One of my favourite phrases by Buddhist monks, Thích Nhất Hạnh, is “the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.” This reminds me to focus on the present rather than get lost in the future. In the past, I’ve noticed that I lose the present in anticipation of what I have coming next; I don’t want to take my current placement for granted. Instead, I want to balance being excited for what’s to come with an appreciation for where I’m currently at. I am not living solely for the future by enjoying the moment I’m in.
What keeps you motivated on a daily basis? I am motivated by my ancestors. My family lineage consistently inspires me and makes me proud of my Métis roots. I am connected to my ancestors through my sense of knowing who they are and their sacrifices. Therefore, I try to acknowledge their past to understand where I came from truly. While I can proudly identify as Indigenous, my ancestors were forced to suppress their identity. I accredit my parents for giving me the confidence to be proud of our family roots.
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