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Spark the North: Achieving The Region's Growth

"A Must-Attend Event on October 26, 2023"

Following the success of the “Spark the North” event in Big Lakes County last year, the event now seeks to extend its impact by providing invaluable resources to employers, business owners, human resources, and decision-makers in the Lesser Slave Lake Region.

The event is poised to provide businesses and individuals seeking to propel the economic development of our region & workforce development. On October 26, 2023, this highly anticipated event promises to bring together a diverse community of thought leaders, human resource experts, and visionaries to realize our region’s growth ambitions.

At Spark the North- “Achieving the Region’s Growth” you’ll have the opportunity to engage with our National Speakers who will uncover innovative approaches to attracting exceptional employees in the Lesser Slave Lake Region. It will also provide a venue to discuss best practices in human resources, facilitate conversations on some of our community challenges, and explore the untapped potential within our region.

#SparkTheNorth #SBCSpeaks

SPARK THE NORTH: Achieving the Region's Growth

When: Thursday, October 26, 2023

Where: Legacy Centre, Slave Lake

Cost: $70.00 per ticket (Meals Included: Lunch, Morning & Afternoon snack)

Spark the North - Achieving the Region's Growth is an exciting event that you won't want to miss! Join us at the Legacy Centre in Slave Lake, AB, Canada for a day filled with inspiration and information. This in-person event will bring together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members to discuss strategies for driving growth in our region.

On October 26, 2023, this highly anticipated event promises to bring together a diverse community of thought leaders, human resource experts, and visionaries to realize our region’s growth ambitions. The 5 Professional Speakers will share information on attracting exceptional employees in our region, navigating the future of work with strategies for success in an era of disruption, community-led workforce development, preparing for your business's future, and Indigenous inclusion, equality, access, and allyship.


8:30 AM - Doors Open

9:00 AM - Opening Remark

9:15 AM - Keynote: Kristen Cummings

10:15 AM- Morning Coffee Break

10:30 AM- Keynote: Dr. Patricia & Janice Makokis

11:45 AM - Lunch Break

12:30 PM - World Cafe

1:15 PM - Speaker: Crystal Burrows- CAREERS NEXTGEN

1:45 PM - Speaker: Deanna Basarab - CANADA ALBERTA JOB GRANT

2:00 PM - Keynote: Eric Burton

2:45 PM - Question & Answer

3:00 PM - Close



Dr. Patricia Makokis and Janice Makokis stand as two of Turtle Island's most highly regarded Indigenous leaders and knowledge keepers. As a mother-daughter pair and the matriarchs of the Makokis family, their synergy creates a powerful force for advocacy, healing, and transformation within Indigenous communities across Canada. Together, Dr. Patricia and Janice Makokis share an unprecedented and unique perspective, drawing from their extensive experience across two different generations and the wisdom of their ancestors. They blend the truth of the past with insights into how we arrived at our present situation. Through their guidance, both individuals and organizations can learn what is required to instill hope, restore justice, and join them on their journey for change

Dr Patricia Makokis, (Ed.D.) is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most outstanding Indigenous leaders and aboriginal experts. Her warm speaking style engages the audience everywhere. She uses humour and relevant anecdotes to make her points. She holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of San Diego, specializing in leadership, which she used to come back to Alberta and serve as President of Blue Quills College/University.

Janice Makokis is a dynamic nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) who is making waves in the world of Indigenous legal scholarship and advocacy. Janice’s educational background and professional experience are truly impressive. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies (with a minor in Political Science) from the University of Alberta, a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa.


Kristen brings over 20 years of experience in demography and labour market information and applies it to leadership, organizational learning, and change. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Master of Education degree in Workplace Learning. She works as a consultant, speaker, and facilitator focused on learning, leadership, and change. Kristen Cumming's life work is focused on improving the connection between people and their work. Her twenty years of experience in career development and human resources is complemented by a passion for demography. Demography is a powerful tool to explore workforce trends due to its relative stability and predictability.


Eric is a national thought leader in community economic development and an award-winning strategist. Eric is currently the lead workforce strategist on a national pilot project developing community-led approaches to workforce development in BC, AB, and ON.

Topic: Community-led Workforce Development- Communities across Canada are facing a national crisis a generation in the making. As baby boomers leave the workforce in record numbers, employers are struggling to find the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to succeed in a competitive global economy. Meanwhile, employee expectations have dramatically shifted since the pandemic, leaving employers unsure of how to find, train and keep their workers. Eric discusses his experience working with communities across Canada, shares ideas on how communities can tackle labour issues and identify leading practices that create strong local workforce development ecosystems.


After a fulfilling two decades working with the Alberta Government (Alberta Wildfire) where she served in various capacities including Forest Officer and most recently, Communications Officer, Crystal embraced the opportunity for a change and joined the CAREERS team as a Program Coordinator in 2021. With a wealth of experience coaching and guiding youth, including coaching soccer, coordinating the local Junior Forest Warden and the Junior Forest Ranger programs, and independently raising her own children, Crystal has long been dedicated to nurturing the development of youth in the north. Her role at CAREERS has enabled her to amplify her positive impacts on local youth while also forging valuable connections with employers, organizations, and post-secondary institutions in the region.

Topic: ARE YOU PREPARED FOR Your Company or Business’s future?

Do you have a plan to attract qualified employees to ensure your company’s success as your workforce ages and retires? Interested in harnessing the passion and energy youth can bring to your workplace?

CAREERS offers you an opportunity to showcase your industry and attract potential future employees by connecting you to motivated high school (and recent graduate) interns. We offer youth opportunities to explore their options and help connect employers with students that best suit their needs. Attract and retain local talent and train the next generation of your workforce from the ground up while also providing mentorship opportunities for your team. The length of commitment is up to you, and with funding options available, what have you got to lose?

About Spark the North

An initiative designed to foster meaningful connections and collaboration among municipal leaders, small business owners, business executives, employment, and recruitment experts, as well as individuals from the academic world. Through a series of thoughtfully organized events, we aim to explore untapped economic development opportunities, while providing participants with valuable knowledge and tools to enhance our region’s potential and address future business challenges.

Our goal is to bring together a diverse and dynamic group of individuals who share a common goal of regional prosperity. By fostering dialogue, sharing experiences, and facilitating learning opportunities, we can shape a brighter future for our community.

#SparkTheNorth #SBCSpeaks

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Have Questions:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Office Manager Divine by phone or email listed below:

Phone: 1-780-849-3232


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