Economic development and following Anishinabek traditional values are the keys to addressing the challenges that face her people.
Dawn Madahbee Leach has been the General Manager for the Waubetek Business Development Corporation since 1988. Waubetek is a leading Aboriginal Financial Institution that provides financial services to Indigenous entrepreneurs and 27 First Nations in Northeastern Ontario. She is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to head up a regional financial lending institution. At Waubetek, Ms. Madahbee Leach was instrumental in the establishment of major community development projects as well as a $70 million investment in Indigenous businesses who experience a business success rate at 94%. Nationally, she has helped design programs that meet the capital needs for Indigenous businesses and First Nation communities.
Ms. Madahbee Leach also currently serves on the Boards of Peace Hills Trust, the Northern Policy Institute and the North-East Local Health Integration Network. She has also served on her First Nation Council and was the former Chairperson of the Northern Ontario Development Corporation and a former director for both the Ontario Development Corporation and Innovations Ontario Corporation. She has spoken and promoted Indigenous businesses internationally in regions such as Australia, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. Ms. Madahbee Leach is the owner of Indigenous Business International, a company that provides consulting services and promotes corporate partnerships with Indigenous people.
In 2004, she was recognized as a Mover and Shaker for economic development in Northern Ontario Business. Ms. Madahbee Leach was contributed a chapter in the book “Changing Lives: Women of Northern Ontario”. She also contributed to a book compilation entitled “Governance in Northern Ontario – Economic Development and Policy-Making” by Segsworth and Conteh with her chapter “First Nations Inclusion: A Key Requirement to Building the Northern Ontario Economy”. She is a hard working community member and partakes in a number of volunteer activities. Among her many volunteer commitments, she has sat on the Board of Directors for a regional women’s shelter and has participated in the fundraising for the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation’s capital campaign.
Ms. Madahbee Leach graduated from the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program and holds a degree in Political Science and Law from York and Laurentian Universities.