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"Uniting Communities for Regional Growth"

The Teams at Spark the North and State of the Lake are proud to present a collaborative event - "Uniting Communities for Regional Growth."

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 25, 2024, as industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members converge at the Legacy Centre in Slave Lake, AB, Canada for a momentous event aimed at discussing innovative strategies for driving growth in our region.

Event Overview:

"Uniting Communities for Regional Growth" is a joint event that seeks to foster collaboration and meaningful dialogue among a diverse array of thought leaders, business professionals, municipal leaders, small business owners, human resource experts, and visionaries. This gathering is dedicated to exploring opportunities for economic development, sharing best practices in human resources, addressing community challenges, and unlocking the untapped potential within our region.

Featured Speakers and Topics:

The event boasts a lineup of four distinguished keynote speakers and attendees can look forward to gaining insights and strategies on the following topics:

• Best practices in human resources

• Innovative approaches to talent attraction

• Indigenous Inclusion, Equality, Access, and Allyship

• Exploring local community challenges

Panel Discussions:

Beyond the enriching keynote presentations, the event will feature dynamic panel discussions, creating an interactive space for attendees to delve deeper into specific topics. These engaging sessions are designed to foster open dialogue, inspire brainstorming, encourage knowledge sharing, and ultimately foster collaboration.


When: Thursday, April 25, 2024

Where: Legacy Centre, Slave Lake

Cost: $25.00 per ticket (Meals Included: Lunch, Morning & Afternoon snack)

Spark the North - State of the Lake 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.

Our 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, 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

12:00 PM - Lunch/Panel from Key Personalities

• Presentation from Mayor Frankie Ward

• Presentation from Councillor Kim Hughes

• Presentation from (TBA)

• Presentation from (TBA)

12:45- Question and Answer/ Panel municipal leaders

1:45 - Afternoon Coffee Break

2:00 PM -2:45 PM - Speaker: Crystal Burrows- CAREERS NEXTGEN

2:45 - 3:00 PM Question & Answer/ Wrap up



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.


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.

Brought To You In Partnership By:

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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