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Manitoulin leader lauded for business contributions

Dawn Madahbee Leach named laureate by Indspire
For her contributions to business and commerce, Dawn Madahbee Leach of Aundeck Omni Kaning has been named one of four 2020 laureates by Indspire. (Supplied photo/Indspire)

A Manitoulin Island business leader has been lauded by Indspire for outstanding career achievement.

Dawn Madahbee Leach, who hails from Aundeck Omni Kaning, a community on Manitoulin Island in the northern part of Lake Huron, has been named one of four 2020 laureates by the national charity.

Indspire works with Indigenous, private, and public sector stakeholders to educate, connect, and invest in Indigenous people so they will achieve their highest potential.

Created in 1993, the awards help promote self-esteem and pride for Indigenous communities, and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth.

Madahbee Leach was recognized for her contributions in business and commerce.

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As general manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corp., Madahbee Leach is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to helm a regional lending institution.

She has overseen millions of dollars of investments in Indigenous businesses, helping to build both First Nations and region-wide economies. 

Additionally, she has given voice to Indigenous economic needs nationally through her roles on numerous governmental advisory committees and on boards such as the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (vice-chair), and through her position as a director with Peace Hills Trust and Niobay Metals Inc. 

Madahbee Leach has also been a councillor for her home community, and she champions Indigenous economic initiatives globally through forums in Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia, the U.S., and New Zealand.

This isn’t the first time the business leader has been acknowledged for her work.

Last April, Madahbee Leach received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross for her service to Indigenous economic development.

And in 2018, she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), which promotes the advancement and recognition of professional women.