Reconciliation leader, astronomy educator round out 2nd group of Future 40 finalists

CBC Manitoba's second round of Future 40 finalists features the leader of the Truth and Reconciliation Centre at the University of Manitoba, three women making waves in astronomy, community health and genomics, and six other Manitoba change-makers.

CBC Manitoba to reveal 10 more finalists Wednesday, Thursday

Your 2017 Future 40 finalists: top row, left-right: Frances Koncan, Ry Moran, Danielle Pahud, Anny Chen and Ji Hyun Ko. Bottom row, left-right: Ariel Polvorosa, Deirdre Khan, Deborah McPhail, Jarita Greyeyes and Clairissa Roy-Altares. (Submitted)

CBC Manitoba's second set of 2017 Future 40 finalists includes the leader of the University of Manitoba's Truth and Reconciliation Centre, three women making waves in astronomy, community health and genomics, and six other Manitoba change-makers.

We revealed the first 10 of 40 finalists on Monday and will continue to release the names of 10 more Manitobans each day on Wednesday and Thursday.

Select finalists will also be featured on CBC's Information Radio with host Marcy Markusa, Radio Noon with host Marjorie Dowhos, Up to Speed with host Ismaila Alfa, and the Weekend Morning Show with Nadia Kidwai. A handful of finalists will also appear on the supper-hour television cast of CBC Winnipeg News at 6 p.m. CT.

This is the third year of #CBCMbFuture40, which showcases some of the province's next generation of bright minds, builders and change-makers.

Jarita Greyeyes

Age: 32

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Jarita Greyeyes is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Graham Constant)

Jarita Greyeyes is the director of community learning and engagement at the University of Winnipeg, where she says her primary role is to develop connections between the university and youth in surrounding communities. That work includes building bridges to families in the inner-city through the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre and it's weekly Pow Wow Club, Sacred Seven Hoop Dancing and after-school homework and computer clubs.

Greyeyes, 32, graduated with a master's in Indigenous governance from the University of Victoria, and she previously served as chair of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students.

She was surprised if not taken aback by the news that she had been selected as a Future 40 finalist.

"I certainly work very hard, but really I am part of a team," said the Saskatchewan transplant from Muskeg Lake and Red Pheasant Cree Nations. "It was really exciting to be acknowledged for the work and efforts that I do, but at the same time I know I am just one of many that supports the work we do at the university."

It was on the suggestion of one of her high school teachers that Greyeyes moved to Winnipeg.

"As an Indigenous person, Winnipeg — with the largest urban Indigenous population and certainly a whole community of service organizations that are Indigenous-led — there some things I think Winnipeg really gets right, and I think this Indigenous approach to community development is one of them," Greyeyes said.

It's about trying to make everyone have access to the opportunities they need and the support they need to achieve their dreams.- Jarita Greyeyes

"Winnipeg has given me so much that through my work I just try to give back even a fraction of what I've received as a person who has decided to make Winnipeg their home."

Greyeyes sits on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and is currently a co-chair of the board at Ka Ni Kanichihk, a not-for-profit that provides programming and services for Indigenous Peoples in Winnipeg.

Her ultimate goal is to make university a reality for more youth in Manitoba. She challenges her fellow Future 40 finalists to take up volunteer positions on boards for local community organizations, and to reflect on how they can use their successess to support others.

"I've been given opportunties and support by many different people. So in my life I am always thinking, 'How can we provide a system of support and networks to give everyone those same opportunities who may not have them?'" she said.

"I've received that support through mentorship by other predominantly Indigenous women who have really taken the time to support me and the work I am doing, give me opportunities, teach me. And so I really try and do that in my personal life and professional life. It's about trying to make everyone have access to the opportunities they need and the support they need to achieve their dreams."

(Nominee profiles below were provided by nominators.)

Deborah McPhail

Age: 37

Category: Science and Technology

Deborah McPhail is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted )

Dr. Deborah McPhail is a University of Manitoba scholar dedicated to alleviating health inequalities, in particular those faced by people labelled obese and in LGBTTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, queer) communities. 

Deborah has extended the College of Medicine's LGBTTQ health curriculum by developing a number of innovative sessions for medical students in order to better serve the traditionally underserved LGBTTQ community.

In order to devise and deliver new LGBTTQ curriculum, Deborah has drawn on the talent, experience and resources within the community by forming an LGBTTQ advisory panel comprised of community experts. Deborah has also begun the process of creating safe space on campus for LGBTTQ-identified students, thus increasing access to Medicine for LGBTTQ people wishing to pursue medical education. 

Deborah has also written three books exploring the relationship between obesity and social inequities.

Ry Moran

Age: 38

Category: Leadership

Ry Moran is nominated in the Leadership category. (Submitted by Digvir Jayas)

Ry Moran is one of Canada's leading voices in the conversations of Truth and Reconciliation. As the first director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, it has been Ry's job to guide the creation of an enduring national treasure – a dynamic Indigenous institution with mandated responsibilities in archives, research, education and community engagement. 

Ry came to the centre directly from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as the director of statement gathering. At the TRC, he facilitated the gathering of 7,000 video/audio-recorded statements from former residential school students and others affected by the system. He was also responsible for gathering the documented history of the schools from more than 20 government departments and 100 church archives. He sits on multiple boards and advisory committees, including the Winnipeg Mayor's Indigenous Advisory Circle and the board of Canada's History Society.

Clairissa Roy-Altares

Age: 29

Category: Business and Entrepreneurship

Clairissa Roy-Altares is nominated in the Business and Entrepreneurship category. (Submitted by Adam Safiniuk)

Clairissa, of Indigenous background and the daughter of a young teen mom, grew up in Manitoba Housing and, by most measures, shouldn't have made it as an entrepreneur.

She started her body-sugaring (the ancient art of hair removal using a completely natural paste made from lemon, sugar and water) business out of her basement as a single mom. She now has two locations and is about to open another this year. She won a female entrepreneur of the year award in 2016. 

She donates to Siloam mission, Big Brothers Big Sisters and many other local charities in Winnipeg.

Deirdre Khan

Age: 27

Category: Science and Technology

Deirdre Khan is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Mark Belmonte)

Deirdre Khan, 27, uses her passion for science and sport to inspire and encourage the next generation of women in our province. 

A PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Deirdre is strengthening global food security through advances in genomics (the complete set of genetic material within an organism) technologies. Her work holds significant promise in promoting plant and food production, and maintaining Manitoba's position as an international innovator in agricultural biotechnology.

Deirdre has trained and inspired other young female students interested in becoming tomorrow's scientists to achieve great things. Deirdre was awarded a prestigious Vanier Canada graduate scholarship for her leadership in the community — leadership that extends to the court where she coaches girls volleyball. 

She is currently setting up a scholarship fund to reward young multi-barrier students who are striving to balance their academic, athletic, artistic and community involvements.

Ji Hyun Ko

Age: 36

Category: Science and Technology

Dr. Ji Hyun Ko is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by )

Dr. Ji Hyun Ko leads an interdisciplinary research team studying neurological and psychiatric disorders, with an interest in improving how health-care services are delivered to patients with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

His research focuses on developing quantifiable imaging-based biomarkers and novel therapies using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques.

He has received several research grants totalling more than $1.1 million, and has published 35 peer-reviewed research papers (he was lead author on 17 of them), three review papers and one book chapter.

He recently received an Rh Institute Foundation Emerging Researcher Award — one of only seven University of Manitoba researchers to earn the distinction.

Frances Koncan

​Age: 31

Category: Arts, Culture and Entertainment

Frances Koncan is nominated in the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category. (Submitted by Riva Billows)

Frances, 31, is an Indigenous writer and director from Couchiching First Nation currently residing in Winnipeg. 

She was the recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council's 2017 RBC On the Rise Award and the REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award for her work as a theatre creator. Her play zahgidiwin/love won the 2016 Harry Rintoul Award for Best New Play. She was shortlisted for the Tarragon Emerging Playwrights Award and for the 2015 Tom Hendry Award for Best New Comedy for her play, The Dance-off of Conscious Uncoupling

She has presented work in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and New York, and her writing has been published in Red Rising, Intermission, and Canadian Theatre Review. As a champion for equity and diversity in the arts, and a creative focus on the reconciliation and reimagining of the future of Indigenous and settler culture, her interdisciplinary work endeavours to pioneer new visions and forms about relevant contemporary issues that matter to our province's youth, and to the current cultural climate of Manitoba.

Danielle Pahud

Age: 32

Category: Science and Technology

Danielle Pahud is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Ruth Cameron)

Danielle Pahud is an instructor in physics and astronomy at the University of Manitoba and director of the university's Lockhart Planetarium. 

She has created innovative activities that reacquaint Manitobans with the night sky. She runs monthly astronomy open houses and special events, including Poetry in the Planetarium and Ancient Skies, which pair a retelling of Greek myths with the changes in the constellations. 

No planetarium was needed when she brought science to Nuit Blanche, where she helped participants download and use a star-finder app for their phones so they could follow along while listening to star-themed stories. 

At Science Rendezvous, a national science open house, you could find her providing an opportunity to view the sun through a solar telescope and explaining solar physics. An active researcher herself, she is also completing her doctoral thesis on aspects of the solar wind at Boston University.

Ariel Polvorosa

Age: 35

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Ariel Polvorosa is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Sean Hogan)

Ariel, BUILD's (Building Urban Industries for Local Development) longest standing employee, has mentored hundreds of individuals. The non-profit social enterprise is a contractor and training program for people who face multiple employment barriers.

His work has decreased crime, reunited families and created better citizens, making Winnipeg better for all. He has taken his own life experience, business acumen and trades background to help trainees believe in themselves and launch careers, using the labour market to solve social problems.

Anny Chen

Age: 32

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Anny Chen was nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Jobb Arnold)

Anny is a gifted facilitator, swing dancer, program co-ordinator and community educator. She brings people together and makes things work. Anny is a key part of 13 Fires Racial Inclusion Conversation Series, creating spaces for communities to share responses to racism in Winnipeg.

Working with Careers that Fight Climate Change Network, Anny connects diverse youth from inner-city Winnipeg schools with university student mentors, elders and leaders in renewable energy and food security to learn skills to build social and ecological interdependence.

A member of the Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, Anny brings her commitments to the work of helping newcomers situate themselves in ways that honour the territories of the Anishinabe, Cree and other Indigenous peoples. As a second-generation Canadian working closely with Indigenous communities, Anny demonstrates the many possibilities for creating beautiful and healthy communities together.