Meet 10 more 2018 Future 40 winners
Saskatchewan has some awesome young people who are doing incredible things
CBC Saskatchewan is celebrating 40 amazing people under age 40 in the province.
From Monday, Nov. 12 to Thursday, Nov. 15, we'll announce 10 of 2018's Future 40 winners each day.
Meet some of this year's winners at the 2018 CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 Gala:
The submissions below are written by the nominators. They have been edited for length and clarity.
At only 22, Piyêsiw Okanawêyihcikêw (Leigh Thomas) is a leader within his community.
He honours his Nēhiyaw and Métis roots by learning and sharing traditional knowledge with the goal of keeping his language, stories, and culture at the forefront. He learns and teaches Cree, gathers traditional medicines while educating on their importance and collects stories from older generations to be passed on.
Leigh's academic interests include Indigenous planning and integration of ways of knowing into planning practices. This year he received a University of Saskatchewan academic achievement award.
Leigh has been a member of the planning committee for the Wicihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference multiple times, and this year was a keynote speaker. He is a graduate of the Next-Up Leadership Program and a Canadian Roots Exchange Youth Reconciliation Leader of Saskatoon. He has served as the First Nation-Métis representative for the Circles of Change: Decolonizing Youth Leadership Forum Report and secretary on the Reconciliation Saskatoon Committee. In 2018, Leigh was instrumental in bringing Saskatoon our first two-Spirit powwow.
Leigh is a naval reservist. In addition to his regular duties, he volunteers as a Veterans Outreach member where he engages Indigenous veterans in Saskatchewan. Leigh was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Military Service Pin for his dedication.
Leigh is also a talented poet. He shares his poetry at events including Readings on the River, hosted by the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild. Leigh is an empathetic, compassionate, powerful, and unapologetic force of progress and reconciliation within Saskatchewan.
Humble, selfless, and proud of her Saskatchewan roots, Alena Sherwood is a champion for diversity and equality and is committed to the continued enrichment of her community.
Alena frequently volunteers her time with a variety of organizations. Currently she works on the Equity & Diversity's Women of APEGS (Assoc. of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Saskatchewan) subcommittee which focuses on attracting and retaining women in the professions of engineering and geosciences. She is also on the executive for FEAT (Female Engineers, Architects and Technologists) which creates networking opportunities for local professionals. Alena mentors high school students who are interested in careers in engineering and technology and arranges related work placement opportunities.
As a principal engineer & partner with Saskatoon-based consulting firm PWA Engineering, Alena has endeavoured to incorporate environmentally sustainable design into countless commercial construction projects in the province over the past 15 years. Many projects have earned recognition, including last year's Premier's Award of Excellence in Design for integrated design.
Alena's volunteerism also extends to being an active contributor in her local community. She is currently president of her community association and devotes much of her time to developing youth programming. From planning fundraisers to volunteering at community events, Alena works tirelessly to help make Saskatchewan a better place for all of us.
Cole, originally from Spy Hill, Sask., is an honours graduate of the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan.
During his degree, Cole amassed experience in team leadership and project management, having led various non-profit organizations. This includes captaining Edwards to its first ever win at the annual JDC West Business Competition in 2012 and serving as the Co-Chair for the World Mining Competition in 2013 (which is North America's first mining strategy case competition).
With these experiences, Cole wanted to start something from the ground up and test his entrepreneurial skill set. He has always been proud of his prairie roots and heritage, while also striving to be a community builder. This is where the idea for Prairie Proud was born.
Prairie Proud can be summed up as "wear the pride, invest in the Prairies" — allowing current and former prairie residents the opportunity to show they are proud of their roots in quality casual wear, while investing back in the prairies via partnered local charities & initiatives.
Since launching from his spare bedroom in April 2014, Cole has been able to contribute a total of $35,000 to local charities and initiatives across prairie provinces. Furthermore, Cole has been a two time finalist for Young Entrepreneur of the Year with the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and most recently has started sharing his entrepreneurial story and passion with various high school students at career fairs and events within Saskatchewan.
Christina Lorentz is a 27-year-old living in Prince Albert. She has taught every grade from 1 to 12 in her six years of teaching.
Since receiving her Masters in Education two years ago she has become a literacy catalyst for her school. She has a passion for empowering her students.
Christina has worked at four different First Nations schools since graduating university. She has a passion for creating and promoting opportunities for First Nations youth to thrive and generate success in their lives. While working she has brought a $40,000 greenhouse to her school – which allowed students a hands on learning opportunity through the build – and resulted in produce for the school's breakfast and lunch programs. Christina also leads an exchange every year to allow underprivileged students the opportunity to travel to other places in Canada, something they would normally not be able to afford.
Outside of her workplace, Christina is the President of the Young Professional group in Prince Albert, which has a mission to create networking for post-secondary and professionals alike, as well as provide opportunities to volunteer within the community. Christina is also the vice-chair on the board of directors for the Mann Art Gallery.
Christina is passionate about her community and youth, which shows in her everyday life. She's always looking for more ways to bring people together in order to help empower one another.
Known primarily for his advertising and editorial work, Kiriako Iatridis is an accomplished award-winning photographer who has been achieving the needs of his clients for over 13 years. In this time, he has worked with a large variety of organizations and individuals across Canada.
Kiriako and his wife Shanda, along with their two daughters Eleena and Penelope, are currently based in Regina.
Yaya has made a measurable impact as a passionate advocate of the community, dedicating her time as a volunteer throughout the city for various initiatives in countless ways.
For the past six years, she has served as President of the Regina Chapter of Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (SYPE) and now Executive of the Provincial Board, with the goal of engaging young professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the province and providing a platform for learning and networking. In 2017 she was honoured with the Peddle Award for forwarding SYPE in the Saskatchewan business community.
Yaya has been volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross since 2012, focused on raising funds and awareness for the Imagine No Bullies Campaign, Pink Day and the Power of Humanity Gala.
As a proud alumnus of Campbell Collegiate and the University of Regina, Yaya works with the Campbell Business Club and U of R Alumni Association on various student engagement and development initiatives. Campbell recognized her as their Distinguished Business Alumni in 2017. Yaya has been an Ambassador to the City of Regina as chosen by the community, showcasing the best of city to locals and travellers through social media.
Since 2017, Yaya has been involved in Swinging with the Stars, a fundraiser for Hope's Home. Last year she helped raised more than $176,000.
Recently she joined Saskatchewan Professional Marketing Association as Co-Chair to boost the province's marketing presence. Her other volunteer activities include Movember, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, Jon Ryan Charity Golf Classic and Habitat for Humanity.
Sara Beckel has been a champion for maternal mental health for years.
She is a postpartum depression survivor. Her experiences with postpartum led to her passion for helping mothers navigate the perinatal period.
Her vision for years was to open a centre where mothers could access social support, pregnancy and birth education, programming and postpartum counselling all in one place. This fall her dream became a reality when she opened Family First Maternal Wellness Centre, the first of its kind in Canada, where families can come to access much needed supports in the perinatal time.
Saskatchewan families will have access to a unique care model that puts their mental, emotional and physical health first during the perinatal time.
Marvin Chan is the singer of Samurai Champs and the Artistic Director for Trifecta Music Festival as well as a year-round arts and culture series, the Trifecta Concert Series.
Trifecta is Saskatchewan's first admission-free, multi-genre arts and culture festival which is held in downtown Regina's City Square Plaza. Marvin has also played a lead role in Trifecta Artist Collective, a performing and recording collective whose artists have received press and toured internationally.
The grassroots Trifecta Festival gave rise to Trifecta Block Party and concert series, which hosts interdisciplinary arts events at venues in Regina and Saskatoon year-round. Chan has played a lead role in the these events. To date the series has promoted over 120 events, and programmed over 150 local and touring artists.
Chan has independently managed Samurai Champs since its formation in 2015 and has been at the forefront of building a diverse Saskatchewan music community. Within the past three years, Chan has secured substantial international press for Samurai Champs from outlets such as VICE Noisey, Exclaim!, and The Line of Best Fit. He has secured Samurai Champs' showcase performances at major festivals such as The Great Escape (UK), SXSW (US), and NXNE (CAN).
Marvin Chan aims to foster a healthy creative culture and community. Chan and the collective's ultimate goal is for independent artists from all parts of Saskatchewan to be empowered to create and appreciate music and art for all that it is — a force that integrates and brings people together.
Kelsey Kuz is an outstanding young teacher at the Yorkton Regional High School. In her three years of teaching at the school, she has taken the choir program — which had a former fifty-year history — from a non-existent program in the fall of 2016 due to low enrolments, to a current program of over 70 students.
Her enthusiasm, her love of music and her desire to instill that love of music in others has led Kelsey to have great success in many performances. She not only teaches bands, she directs two jazz bands as well as concert choir and chamber choir. She was asked to co-direct a high school musical in her first and third years which she willingly accepted. The musical was a tremendous hit with students, teachers and audiences alike.
As a person visits any of her rehearsal spaces, one can sense the love the students exhibit for her by just wanting to be around her. She demonstrates excellence in her performances, setting the bar high enough where her students are always stretching to reach each new goal. She is organized, providing many educational experiences when her groups travel.
During the week Kelsey also finds time to sing with the Yorkton Community Concert Choir, sing with the Yorkton Big Band Jazz band and play flute in the Community Concert Band. She also coaches volleyball.
Amazing, talented, inspirational and kind are just a few of the adjectives which begin to describe Kelsey Kuz. Yorkton is lucky to have her!
Growing up in small town Sask., 21-year-old Alix Norum knew from an early age she wanted to do everything she could to help others.
From making care packages for sick children at the cancer clinic, to collecting items to make Operation Christmas Child boxes, to helping to canvas for Terry Fox Foundation and Heart and Stroke, to participating in Relay for Life and helping her family to make food hampers for families, she was always looking for ways to do something for others.
As she grew older her passion for working with others in need continued through her involvement with raising money for Terry Fox Foundation, being a leader in her high school through numerous committees and being a senior CHUM for at risk students at the local elementary school.
After graduating she began university in Regina. She didn't skip a beat in wanting to be involved there. She started fundraiser campaigns for Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya so children there could have technology for therapeutic and recreation purposes.
She has been an influence in many fundraising projects to assist various organizations within Sask. During her summers she had the privilege of working at Camp Easter Seal and the Summer Literacy program at Astonished as well as volunteering to assist student researchers with personal goals and to directly help/mentor special needs adults.
Currently, she's the President of the University of Regina chapter for Best Buddies. The relationships she has built has taught her to celebrate differences and she has developed a deep passion for others and will go above and beyond to help.