Melvina Aubichon is a strong advocate of community sustainability.
She believes sustainability has to come from entrepreneurs and from business development at the community level in order for communities to persevere.
Economic development is something she is passionate about and it is what led her to the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation.
Elected to SIEF’s board of directors in November 2019, Aubichon brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in business and community economic development.
“I’ve always had an interest in community economic development and throughout my career and work experience I have come into contact with a lot of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” Aubichon said. “Some of them face different challenges, particularly with finance and business development services. Not a lot of them are in urban centres and have access to business resource centres. This caught my attention and I felt there was some sort of gap there.”
Last year, Aubichon was the recipient of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority Indigenous Economic Development Scholarship, one that recognizes leaders in the Indigenous community and who is actively enrolled in the Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development.
Prior to her enrollment in the MBA program, Aubichon earned a Business Administration diploma from Saskatchewan Polytechnic, followed by a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Aubichon spent nine years on the board of directors with the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando), the only national organization that focuses on education and professional development for economic development officers working in Aboriginal communities or organizations.
During her time with Cando, Aubichon engaged in partnership with Federated Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and launched a community economic development initiative project. This project aligns First Nations communities with neighbouring municipalities to create partnerships to eliminate redundancy and stretch resources.
Aubichon also has a background in human resources. With her undergraduate degree, she majored in human resources and through a good portion of her career has worked in labour force development.
She currently works as an HR advisor at the Prince Albert-based Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority.
The second-oldest sibling of six children, Aubichon is from English River First Nation territory, which is approximately two hours northwest of Meadow Lake.
Aubichon’s involvement in business and economic development was sparked at a young age by her father, who was an avid hunter, commercial fisherman and harvester.
“I watched my father work very hard during his life with us and he gave us a really good upbringing with strong values,” Aubichon remembers. “He taught us about sustainability. I admired his hard work and his tenacity.”
Many of his qualities were absorbed by Aubichon.
Upon her completion of her MBA in Community Economic Development, her goal is to engage more employers and industries in meaningful, long-term employment opportunities for Indigenous people, particularly in northern Saskatchewan.