Melanie Antoine, co-owner of APE Maintenance

Indigenous women are breaking barriers by empowering and embracing their communities. They encourage others as a normal matter of practise, which in turn benefits economic diversity within the regions, said Melanie Antoine, co-owner of APE Maintenance of Fort McMurray.

“If I had to compare it to 10 years ago, I definitely see more women being acknowledged in their leadership roles. I believe that women were always leaders. They just weren’t acknowledged as they are now. And they are continuing to break barriers.”

Hopefully, by the 22nd century there will be no more barriers to break, she said.

Sacrifice comes with leadership territory, and one of the biggest is time with family.

“My kids understand that, and they are more empowered in business now than they would.” She said her children are also learning about how to be volunteers in the community, “because we volunteer.”

Leadership and volunteerism go hand in hand, and it’s the young people who will carry that torch into the future.

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