Manitoba·FUTURE 40

Bisons soccer coach, cancer researcher among Future 40 Manitoba's first finalists of 2016

CBC Manitoba received 137 nominations in the 2016 instalment of Future 40, a project that highlights the province's next generation of leaders, builders and change-makers under the age of 40. Now, our judges have made the final cut.

10 finalists include business leaders, community activists, researchers and teachers

Meet your first 10 finalists in Future 40 Manitoba 2016. Top row, left-right: Fabian Seymour, Marcia Anderson DeCoteau, Chris D., Katie Powell, Nikki Komaksiutiksak. Bottom row, left-right: Lisa Liang, Vanessa Martínez-Lagunas, John Finkbeiner, Adam Brooks, Paul Cantin. (Submitted photos)

CBC Manitoba received 137 nominations in the 2016 instalment of Future 40, a project that highlights the province's next generation of leaders, builders and change-makers under the age of 40. Now, our judges have made the final cut.

We will reveal 10 finalists each day through Thursday. Finalists will also be featured each morning on Information Radio 89.3 FM with Marcy Markusa and each evening on CBC Winnipeg News at 6 p.m. CT.

Today's first round of 10 finalists includes a world-class athlete, an innovator leading work on zero-emission buses, a scientist leading childhood cancer research and seven other business leaders, activists and teachers.

CBC Manitoba will reveal 10 more Future 40 finalists on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Here's your first round of Future 40 finalists:

(Submissions below were provided by nominators.)

John Finkbeiner

Age: 35

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

John Finkbeiner is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Lynsay Perkins)

Through his work at the Canadian Mental Health Association Building Futures Program, John helps hundreds of teens and young adults in CFS care to transition into independent adult living.

At a time when the services they have counted on are no longer available to them, John works to provide a safety net for these young people who might otherwise slip through the cracks. He connects them to social services and mental health programs, helps find them homes, and helps young mothers stay connected to their own children.

John also works as an advocate in the social services field. He works collaboratively with social workers and other agencies, helping to foster a community of support for young people. He provides a voice for youth in and out of CFS care when the system is failing them, he campaigns for change where there are flaws, and has even stood side-by-side with clients in court to help them fight for what is right.

Fabian Seymour

Age: 40

Category: Sports and Recreation

Fabian Seymour is nominated in the Sports and Recreation category. (Submitted by Oleksandr Kondrashov)

​Fabian has worked in the community of Hollow Water, Man., for over 10 years. He co-ordinates recreation programs for all ages and networks with the neighbouring communities of Bissett, Black River, Bloodvein, Sagkeeng First Nations and Powerview-Pine Falls.

His program started out with only evening sports, to help subdue the rise in suicides amongst youth in the community at that time, but it has since grown over the years into something more.

Community events such as the annual Black Island Days celebrations, along with various sports leagues such as volleyball, ball hockey and softball, have given local youth and community members hope for the future.

Many youth involved in this program have gone on to compete in, or be involved in, different sporting events, most notably the North American Indigenous Games, of which Fabian is an avid supporter.

Vanessa Martínez-Lagunas

Age: 34

Category: Sports and Recreation

Vanessa Martínez-Lagunas is nominated in the Sports and Recreation category. (Jeff Miller)

Vanessa Martínez-Lagunas is the head coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons women's soccer team and a beacon of inspiration for young women chasing their soccer dreams.

Vanessa hails from Toluca, Mexico, and was a member of the Mexican women's national team. She also played professionally in Germany and served as a coach or assistant coach with teams in the United States and Germany.

She was assistant coach of the U-17 German women's national team in the spring of 2013. Later that year, she accepted the challenge of head coach of the U of M women's soccer team — one of the most inexperienced squads in the country.

Her place as head coach has already begun to pay dividends. The team qualified for the playoffs this season and achieved the best team record and winning percentage since 2007.

She's blazed her own trail in a field typically dominated by men. Vanessa is one of few females to earn the prestigious UEFA Pro Coaching Licence — the highest coaching certification in the world — and has been a FIFA Women's Soccer Instructor since 2008.

Katie Powell

Age: 28

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Katie Powell is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Brittany Semeniuk)

Katie Powell is the founder of Save a Dog Network Canada and devotes every free second to working with reserves and First Nations communities.

She has rescued hundreds of dogs on her own time, but what truly makes her remarkable is the way in which she engages with and befriends people in rural communities.

She brings people from all walks of life together, teaches locals about proper pet care, organizes and provides vet clinics at various reserves, works with organizations like the Winnipeg Humane Society to provide discounts for sterilization, and begs and pleads to provide hundreds of pounds of pet food and other items for starving animals — all while maintaining positive friendly relationships with all who meet her. And all of this done in her "spare time."

Nikki Komaksiutiksak

Age: 32

Category: Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism

Nikki Komaksiutiksak is nominated in the Community, Social Activism and Volunteerism category. (Submitted by Oleksandr Kondrashov)

Nikki Komaksiutiksak is an Inuk woman from Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut. She is now a mother of four and currently works for Manitoba Justice.

Nikki is an active member with the Inuit community in Winnipeg and helps other Inuit moving to the big city.

She is an experienced throat singer, teacher of Inuit history and culture and a heartfelt musical performer. Nikki has participated in a number of international events, representing Manitoba and Inuit at such prestigious venues as the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Summer Games and more recently at the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg.

She has recorded music with local Canadian talent, including such names as the Weakerthans, Demetra Penner and Moses Mayes. Nikki truly believes it is critical that Inuit culture is remembered, recognized and celebrated throughout Manitoba, Canada and worldwide.

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau

Age: 38

Category: Teaching and Health Care

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau is nominated in the Teaching and Health Care category. (Submitted by Melissa Brown)

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau recognizes the importance of Indigenous knowledge and traditional healing practices in improving patient care.

Marcia is currently the MD section head of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Health. She is also an assistant professor in the departments of Community Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

Marcia was the youngest Aboriginal graduate from the Facility of Medicine in Manitoba at the age of 24. She went on to receive her master's degree in public health in 2007.

Marcia is a past-president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and has received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her contributions to the health care field. As well, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman named her to the Mayor's Indigenous Advisory Circle in June 2015.

Follow Marcia Anderson DeCoteau on Twitter: @MarciaDecoteau

Lisa Liang

Age: 28

Category: Science and Technology

Lisa Liang is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Tamra Werbowetski-Ogilvie)

Lisa Liang is a PhD student at the University of Manitoba, where she is conducting research to identify the driving force in an aggressive childhood brain tumour, medulloblastoma.

As current treatments are very harmful on the developing brain, it is important to find more effective and safe therapies. Lisa's work, which was recently published in a high-impact journal, has led to the discovery of a cellular fingerprint that identifies the stem cells contributing to medulloblastoma progression. 

Her current efforts in the lab involve testing a drug that can target these cancer stem cells, which she hopes will lessen the toxic effects of current treatments and provide a better quality of life for children with brain tumours.

Lisa has received a Research Manitoba studentship and has presented her work at local and national conferences.

She has also shared her research with the public through platforms such as Café Scientifique and the 3MT competition, where she was one of the finalists.

Chris D.

Age: 29

Category: Business and Entrepreneurship

Chris D. is nominated in the Business and Entrepreneurship category. (Submitted by Oleksandr Kondrashov)

Chris D. is the managing editor and digital journalist behind, a Winnipeg news website launched in March 2007.

Chris's company supports numerous community organizations and initiatives, including Special Olympics Manitoba, Winnipeg Harvest, the Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad, United Way of Winnipeg, Red River College's Creative Communications program and a multi-year sponsorship of the University of Manitoba Bisons.

Chris D. is an active member of the business community through the support of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, while maintaining accountability in storytelling by belonging to the Canadian Association of Journalists and Radio Television Digital News Association.

Follow Chris D. on Twitter: @ChrisDca

Adam Brooks

Age: 36

Category: Arts, Culture and Entertainment

Adam Brooks is nominated in the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category. (Submitted)

Adam Brooks is an award-winning artist, filmmaker and founding member of the film collective Astron-6.

His most recent work, a feature film entitled The Editor (in which he also starred) was awarded Telefilm's Micro-Budget Production Award, premiered at TIFF, was called "loud, proud and gloriously silly" by the Hollywood Reporter and swept Winnipeg's inaugural Windy Awards earlier this year, winning all five categories in which it was nominated.

Adam began as a painter, exhibiting at both the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Royal Art Lodge as well as receiving grants from both the Manitoba and Winnipeg Arts councils.

In 2007, he formed Astron-6 with four of his closest friends and they began making short films on borrowed camcorders. As of today, they've produced three feature films, two collections of short films and a web series.

Adam has lectured at high schools, universities and film festivals all over the world about indie filmmaking and the advantages of working in a city like Winnipeg.

Follow Adam Brooks on Twitter: @Astron6

Paul Cantin

Age: 35

Category: Science and Technology

Paul Cantin is nominated in the Science and Technology category. (Submitted by Glen Naylor)

Paul Cantin is the project leader in the Battery Bus Program, which is part of the New Product Development department at New Flyer Industries. He leads a team of engineers and designers in the development of zero-emission transit buses.

Since 2014, small fleets of electric buses have been operated successfully by Winnipeg Transit and the Chicago Transit Authority in this first roll-out of game-changing technology that promises to eliminate diesel emissions and greenhouse gases.

Winnipeg Transit currently has at least three New Flyer Xcelsior battery-electric buses running along Route 20 (Academy-Watt) daily as part of a four-year test period.


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