Rachelle Venne, CEO of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women

Rachelle Venne is the CEO of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Edmonton, AB.

She believes Indigenous communities are ready for leadership by its women but that leadership always has sacrifices that come along with it. “There is give and take in everything we do. Sometimes it’s in relationships or family time, but I think society is more accommodating to women in leadership,” she said. “It’s not as hard as it used to be.”

When it comes to mentoring, Venne thinks it’s important to take the time to explain to young girls and women why it’s necessary to have a different voice at the decision-making table. She also advises that they find subjects close to their hearts. “I always say that it has to be a burning desire in your heart that gives you the drive to make changes in your community and your life.”

Apart from her mother, who was very strong, very politically-involved, and a big advocate, Rachelle Venne had a few mentors over the years that took the time to recognize her skills and help guide her to where she is today. She believes Indigenous women can also help their communities be proud of their heritage just by being involved within it.