On June 30, 2015 in honour and celebration of National Aboriginal History Month, Business and Professional Women of Saskatoon wrote a special blog on me! It's such a honour to be featured on the website! So I guess you'll get to learn a little bit more about me... and I'm grateful for the opportunity and happy to share it with you!
-Devon Fiddler, Chief Changemaker
Here it is...
All this month BPW Saskatoon is celebrating National Aboriginal History Month, which is an opportunity to honour the heritage, contributions and cultures of First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada. As part of this celebration, we sought out professional Aboriginal women doing interesting, inspiring and important work in our community.
We recently had the opportunity to connect with Devon Fiddler to learn more about her thriving business, her mission and what inspires her!
Devon Fiddler is a Cree woman from the Waterhen Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is a social entrepreneur and currently serves as the Chief Changemaker of SheNative Goods Inc. SheNative, founded by Devon, is a brand of handbags and accessories that aims to gives back while empowering and changing perceptions of Indigenous women and girls. In fact, her company is giving 10% of profits of the sale of their bucket bag to the Aboriginal Women’s Business Economic Network’s Grant Program for Indigenous women looking to start their own business.
SheNative, in collaboration with three other start-ups run by Indigenous women, has also recently launched a fashion incubator out of the TwoTwenty called Her4Directions. Other collaborators include: Little Bow-tihk, First Intimate Apparel, and Helen Oro Designs. Outside of her business pursuits, Devon leads a women’s empowerment group in Saskatoon alongside Vanessa Schellenberg of Red Dress Transformations.
Devon has been recognized and rewarded in various business planning competitions including the 2013 Brett W. Wilson CBC Boom Box, the 2014 Mino-Bimaadiziwin Business Plan Competition, and was in the top ten of the 2014 SK Business Challenge. Devon has worked hard to earn start up capital through a variety of grant and loan programs and was one in eight across Canada to receive the Young Arts Entrepreneur Grant. Most recently, Devon was awarded the 2015 CBC Future 40 Under 40 designation, was a finalist in the 2015 SABEX Awards and was a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
In Devon’s words:
I get inspiration from other amazing entrepreneurs and women doing really big things. Instead of being competitive with these other women, I tend to see opportunity of how we can work together and collaborate with each other. The positive energy this brings is truly what keeps me going and inspires me to do things that are greater than myself. When I am confronted with a negative situation, I always attempt to turn things around and bring a positive impact or message.
My first role model would have to be my mother Judy Fiddler, who is currently on my team as the “Chief Currency Queen” and manages the financial aspects of the business. She is a strong woman with thick skin and nothing seems to bring her down. In addition to being level-headed, personable, hard-working, and empathetic, she tends to get along with everyone!
Growing up, my mom did everything that she could to give my siblings and myself a stable life. She worked hard and did what she could to protect and support us in every way possible. Today, my mom is one of my biggest supporters and best friends. We share a deep understanding of one each other and talk about everything under the sun.
My hope for the future is that my business will grow into a completely sustainable and impactful business, with the capacity to employ other Indigenous women and create a positive community of women supporting each other. I am also passionate about educating non-Indigenous people of the realities and successes of Indigenous women in Canada.
My culture means a great deal to me and reconnecting more fully to my roots is a huge life goal. I am aiming towards reclaiming my language, becoming more involved in the cultural activities and embracing the religious components of being an Indigenous woman. Right now, I feel like I’m still defining who I am in my culture and still finding my own way via my own path. A big part of that is includes paving the way for other women to define their future and not accept the stereotypical views of being an Indigenous woman. We define who we are!
You can find the original blog post on the BPW Saskatoon Site.