Four Our Future Indigenous Economics Ltd. (“Four Our Future”) is an Indigenous-owned corporation founded by Indigenous leaders in Canada. Four Our Future specializes in developing and implementing sustainably-focused strategic plans, business plans and community economic development models.
Our team identifies and addresses the dichotomy between Western-corporate business models and more ‘holistic’ Indigenous/community development models. We draw from our collective experiences living, working and learning from over 300 of Canada’s 630+ Indigenous governments.
Meet The Team
Co Chair: Vanessa Mountain
Vanessa Mountain is a member of the N’quatqua Band of the St’at’imc Nation. She started her career in the financial services industry and worked her way up the corporate ladder at a large financial institution.
Vanessa moved into program management for Aboriginal organizations accelerating community economic development. She focused on working with entrepreneurs to develop their capital and the business acumen required to achieve success. She is especially proud of her role as Aboriginal Procurement Specialist for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that expanded her knowledge of local supply chain opportunities –– and how to facilitate connections for Aboriginal businesses with the world.
Vanessa rounded out her procurement & supply chain expertise as Senior Aboriginal Procurement Advisor for BC Hydro. With 15 years of building businesses and relationships in communities, Vanessa brings key insights to develop agreements and inclusion strategies that benefit all parties, especially in major projects.
Chief Gibby Jacob, whose ancestral name is Kákeltn siyám, carries the title of hereditary Chief and is a member of the Squamish Nation located in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Chief Gilbert "Gibby" Jacob is one of the most influential Native leaders in Canada. He is a man with quiet power and was twice recognized as a significant member of society and honoured with Vancouver Magazine's Power 50 Award. The Squamish Nation with the leadership of Chief Gibby Jacob will be worth $5 Billion from business revenue, royalties and real estate assets by 2021.
Chief Gibby Jacob helped broker the deal that established the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, as well as the 2010 Olympic land Legacy and amongst other Legacies that resulted in the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations gaining several tracts of land in the Whistler community.
Chief Jacob's knowledge and experience provides direction and liaison duties for special projects and files. This includes negotiations between the various levels of government (Ministerial, Deputy Minister levels), stakeholders, partners and the Nation on projects dealing with natural resources, accommodation, and consultation.
Tamara has an extraordinary understanding of Nation Building, Indigenous business, First Nations governance, culture, and history. Of the Saulteau First Nation in North Eastern BC, she continues to work on identifying and creating solutions to build healthy Indigenous economies in British Columbia. Tamara completed her Master's Degree in Indigenous Business & Leadership at SFU. Tamara’s primary focus is the study of traditional Indigenous ideologies and how these systems can thrive again in partnership with current economic systems.
Over the past 15 years, Tamara has performed extensive research pertaining to the gaps between First Nations, Government, and Industry. Tamara utilizes this research in her work with multiple First Nations and Aboriginal Organizations towards developing and implementing development strategies and growth partnerships. With this experience, Tamara now works on economic development projects such as hotels, affordable housing, power, food and water security technologies, and ecological restoration opportunities.
Tamara was president of Mahigan Research and Development Inc. for 10 years prior to coming to work to champion the launch of the Four Our Future Indigenous Economic Platform.
Employment and Training Developer:
David ( Xa Xa Smanxwt) is a member of the Okanagan Nation. With more than 20 years of experience and a multi-disciplined education, David Fierro specializes in biological systems from a First Nation’s perspective. David works diligently with corporations, industry and First Nations to develop and implement elegant and economical solutions in regard to developments on First Nations Traditional Territories.
David has worked in the role of Environmental Assessment, economic solutions, and negotiations for entities such as the Squamish Nation, Saulteau First Nation, St’at’imc First Nation, and First Nations Forestry Council. In this role, he reviews applications for development from residential and commercial to industrial. He deciphers environmental assessments and protects traditional values on behalf of First Nations. He has also worked on with multiple First Nations in collaborations such as:
· Environment Canada, Musqueam, Tsleil-waututh, Squamish regarding an Environmental Assessment for the Burrard Inlet
· Coast Salish First Nations towards the Howe Sound Marine Use Plan
· New Relationship between BC Government and First Nations in the Forestry Industry
Working between proponents such as BC Hydro, Port Metro, LNG, Fortis, Forestry and Mining and First Nations has allowed David an innate understanding of the delicacy and importance of engaging with First Nations as development partners prior to attempting to develop. David’s skills and experience were essential to the work of Mahigan Research and Development as extensive research has evidenced that future industries and developments on First Nation’s Territories in BC will require higher environmental standards to proceed.
Debrah Burleigh is on a mission to help people, organizations, corporations and First Nations get their businesses on the right financial system to ensure her clients can stay focussed on their vision. Debrah has extensive experience working with her clients to transform their numbers into accessible information that can be used to make better decisions. Debrah designs transparent, anti-corruption financial systems so boards and shareholders can manage all the moving parts of their operations more effectively.
In addition to her formal accounting education, Debrah is a QuickBooks Online Proadvisor, Sage 50 and Sage Cloud Certified Platinum Consultant, Sage Certified Trainer and IPBC Certified Professional Bookkeeper. With this diverse education, Debrah has worked with thousands of businesses in a number of industries providing accounting systems design, in-house customized bookkeeper training & financial systems consulting services.
Debrah is passionate about being of service, defying obstacles and making profitable ideas happen. She is driven to help people identify and troubleshoot what’s not working or missing in their business so they can implement the right plan of action to improve their cash flow, profit margins and generate more income consistently.
Gail L. Bitternose is a Nehiyaw (Cree) woman from the George Gordon First Nation, in Treaty 4 Territory, south central Saskatchewan. Gail relocated to Calgary 30 years ago to pursue a Fashion Design career and welcomed her second baby. Gail remained in Calgary and raised her two daughters: Charity Rose; and Brittany Michelle.
Gail is now Kokum (Grandmother) to Farrah, Dene/Cree of the Tsuut’ina Nation, Alberta. While Gail is working to complete her MBA in Community Economic Development, she is consulting with First Nations in a business development advisory role. Gail is Co-chair for the Alberta First Nation Women’s Council on Economic Security (Alberta Indigenous Relations Ministry).
Gail’s activities revolve around family, studies and is involved in several projects. She is interested in assisting First Nations businesses and she promotes Indigenous entrepreneurism. While she has several projects on the go, she always makes time to work on other skills such as design, beading, research, and developing projects for a bustling, busy, creative family. Ekosi. Aho.
Our youth team continues to help us with all the difficult work behind the scenes; such as film, marketing, art, branding, and helping us integrate with the constant changes in technology so we're always ahead of the curve! We are looking to expand this part of the business, and build a strong team.