Managing Partner, Tourism Café Canada
Entrepreneur, educator, researcher, award-winning instructional designer
Nancy’s been described as a visionary, pioneer, champion of small businesses and community tourism. Known for her award-winning tourism training design and teaching, she has consistently delivered interactive, engaging programs that leave an enduring legacy.
She is the lead instructional designer behind the SHiFT: Transforming Products to Experiences, Experience Essentials and Visitor-Friendly Alberta Programs, Edge of the Wedge in Atlantic Canada, Inspire in New Brunswick, Tourism Excellence North in Ontario. Together with Lesley Anderson, Nancy redesigned the Remarkable Experiences program in British Columbia, co-created training plans for Backroads, an international active travel tour company, and custom experiential travel training in Jamaica. Nancy takes pride in leaving a legacy with the programs she designs.
A co-founder of the Tourism Café, Nancy walks the talk when advocating that businesses “Dare to be Different” in a competitive marketplace. Covid-19 has pushed her innovation skills to new heights as the company expands into new e-learning courses and online program delivery. Professionally trained as an educator, instructional designer, evaluator and researcher, Nancy shifted her career into tourism 24 years ago and has never looked back. A sought-out conference speaker, Nancy is passionate about the value of small, medium, and rural business as she works with destinations to diversify their visitor appeal and formulate strategic and destination plans.
Chief Frank Antoine
Bonaparte First Nation
Co-founder, Moccasin Trails and Moccasin Trail Consulting
Frank is from the Bonaparte community which is part of the Shuswap Nation of the Interior Salish. He is currently the Chief of Bonaparte First Nation, the co-founder of Moccasin Trails, a cultural tourism company based in Kamloops BC, and the co-founder of Moccasin Trails Consulting. Frank worked at Quaaout Lodge & Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort for more than a decade and was vital in the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism programs and projects in the Skwlax community.
His professional work experiences and cultural practices have given him a platform to
work on many levels within the tourism industry. Frank believes that growing Indigenous tourism is about learning how to trust and how to share the culture in a respectful business model. He feels that if done right, tourism is a rewarding way to learn and share Indigenous culture in a positive way with the next generation, and with guests who want to experience traditional practices.
He is a strong cultural ambassador and proud to share the traditional knowledge he carries. Frank has sat on a variety of tourism boards, including the Adams River Salmon Society, Shuswap Trail Alliance, Hat Creek Society, McAbee Group, Indigenous Tourism BC, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, as well as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.
Frank has been a sought-after presenter who is well-versed in a multitude of Indigenous topics including his own inspiring journey, relationship / partnership building, authentic Indigenous tourism development, Indigenous empowerment and much more.
Indigenous Tourism Specialist, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Region and Indigenous BC
A member of the Stó:lō (Sts’ailes) and Tsimpshian (Metlakatla) First Nations, Francine holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and anthropology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and was valedictorian of the UBC Sauder School of Business Aboriginal Business Management Program. She has more than a decade of business and tourism experience, including coordinating corporate and community events in the Stó:lō territory. She has a strong business background, owning and operating several family-owned companies. Above all, Francine values the cultural insights she has learned from her family, including knowing who you are and where you came from. As an Indigenous Tourism Specialist with Indigenous Tourism BC and Destination BC, Francine works to grow awareness about the value of Indigenous cultural tourism among Indigenous communities, industry partners, policymakers and organizations.
Co-founder, Moccasin Trails and Moccasin Trail Consulting
Greg Hopf is a Dene Indigenous tourism leader and Indigenous youth advocate who is passionate about building vibrant and thriving Indigenous communities, sharing stories and cultural traditions in an authentic and meaningful way, and working towards reconciliation through his philosophy of ‘Living in Two Worlds’. Greg was born and raised in Denendeh (Northwest Territories) and was fortunate to have the opportunity to live with his Aunt Celine and Uncle Jim Antoine in the tiny Dene community of Liidlii Kue (Ft. Simpson) where he learnt his Dene culture and value system and built a strong connection to the land, the animals, and the spirits.
In 2017, Greg Hopf joined forces with his new business partner Frank Antoine to launch an Indigenous tourism company called Moccasin Trails. Together they grew the business into an award-winning tourism company. In addition to the tourism business, Greg and Frank founded a consulting agency focused on economic development, tourism development, partnership building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations, delivering inspiring keynote presentations, and facilitated training and workshops. Greg’s work is deeply rooted in Indigenous values, cultures, teachings, and beliefs where there is an innate understanding of the opportunities and challenges for Indigenous communities. Greg has successfully managed a hunting and fishing lodge in the NWT; built the Aboriginal Sport Circle of the NWT for over ten years; developed an Indigenous cultural tourism strategy for the Thompson Okanagan region; and lead the successful bid to host the International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) in Kelowna 2019
Executive Director, Community Futures Peace Liard
Sue Kenny is currently the Executive Director for Community Futures Peace Liard (CFPL) and has been with Community Futures Peace Liard for 22 years and previously to that a Community Futures Peace Liard board of director member for three years. Prior to that Sue held the position of Economic Development Officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge for 10 years.
Her role is to ensure that business services are available to existing and new businesses in the entire region. Sue has provided business planning assistance for dozens of businesses over the course of 25 years. Sue also represents this region in promoting economic initiatives as well as assisting communities in developing economic strategies and sourcing or providing resources to implement them.
Sue achieves this by having a working relationship with other economic practitioners in the area, and relationships with industry and non for profits and government. Sue holds the position of Director, President, and Past President of the BC Economic Development Association.
Currently sits on the board of directors for the Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce. Currently Chair of the Northeast Regional Community Foundation. Sue is a founding member of the Northeast Regional Community Foundation representing Dawson Creek, Hudson Hope, Taylor, & Pouce Coupe.
In most recent years Sue was an appointed director on the British Columbia Rural Advisory Committee, President of the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark, Treasurer for the BC Economic Development Association for seven years and Past Executive Director for the Northeast Regional Community Foundation, Past Alternate Director for the Northeast Regional Advisory Committee for Northern Development Trust, Past Alternate Director for the Peace River Regional District and past City Councillor for the City of Dawson Creek. Sue served two consecutive terms on Dawson Creek City Council from 2008 to 2014.
Executive Director, NENAS
Deanne McLeod is a Certified Educator, Career Development Practitioner and Life Skills Facilitator who has been working in the employment and training industry for over 25 years. Her specialty areas include curriculum development, group facilitation and work development particularly in in transportation, heavy equipment, oil and gas. Over the years Deanne was a teacher for School District 60 first in grades K – 7 then later in Grades 10 – 12 delivering pre-employment programming then as a subcontractor for numerous provincial Ministries providing life skills, career, employment and training programming in North East BC.
In her career, Deanne has worked with youth, newcomers, Indigenous communities and mature workers in career development, employment and training. In her current role as Executive Director of North East Native Advancing Society she works in collaboration with numerous post-secondary institutions and safety training companies with curriculum development for a variety of energy sector programs as well as health and education. Deanne has initiated and continues to sit on a number of local, regional, provincial and national working committees and boards. Committees and technical working groups seats Deanne currently holds include: the Ministry of Advanced Education and Training British Columbia Aboriginal Training working with the Employment Alliance Members (BCATEAM) and the Assembly of First Nations on the First Nations Labour Market Strategy; The BC Indigenous Post-Secondary Education Committee on refreshing British Columbia’s Indigenous Education and Training 2020 Framework and with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction on updating British Columbia’s Career Guide for Indigenous People.
As Northern BC Tourism Association’s, Destination Development and Travel Trade Specialist, April is responsible for leading the destination development planning processes and working with operators to access international markets. Both roles fulfill her passion for working with rural tourism partners and supporting the growth of Indigenous tourism. Addressing needs for Access and Inclusion to advance tourism for all abilities is another area of focus.
Past experience working with the Alaska Highway Community Society to raise the awareness about the iconic Alaska Highway corridor and focus of studies on corridor management when acquiring her Masters in Tourism Management at Royal Roads University, contribute substantially to supporting the current destination development projects that NBCTA is leading. Specifically, the Great Northern Circle Route Signage Master Plan and Thematic Framework which will advance infrastructure improvements along the routes while identifying themes for storytelling and experience development throughout the Northern Tourism Region. April is always looking at ways to share expertise and support tourism initiatives while emphasizing how tourism contributes to the social fabric of communities. Ongoing involvement with Alaska Highway Community Society and serving on the Board of Directors for the Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark remain important commitments that support tourism efforts in Northeastern BC.
Family time, playing with her grandchildren, dabbling in art, digging in the garden, mucking with her horses and pursuing her interest in equine-facilitated wellness fill up the hours when not behind the desk or on the road for work.