A few years ago Arlene Dickinson and Brett Wilson, two of the Dragons, invested in and believed in Sunshine. Since then, she’s continued along the path of entrepreneurship and changemaking. This powerhouse Indigenous entrepreneur/author/philanthropist spends her days bettering communities in Canada and beyond. From actively supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs to amplifying the need to make clean drinking water in every First Nations community a reality, Sunshine embodies changemaking through and through.
When you meet Sunshine, you can’t help but be uplifted by her full-on belly laughs (they happen a lot!) and the way she welcomes you into whatever setting you’re sharing together. She listens to you with intention and openness, ready and excited for whatever you have to say next. Picture Sunshine in your mind as you read the next few words. I’m willing to bet you’ll experience more than a smile or two as you do it. :-)
Rosie Paulyk: What does Changemaking mean to you?
Sunshine Tenasco: Changemakers are people who want to create change and do it in a positive way. Local Indigenous community Changemakers — like teachers who are doing their best to educate youth — aren’t seen by the public as often as Indigenous entrepreneurs. Local Changemakers may not be looking for recognition; however, they’re still deserving of it. They’re still creating change in their fields.
RP: Do you look up to any Changemakers?
ST: YEEEEES! I look up to people in each community who are doing really awesome things. Like Mary Spencer, an Olympian boxer, went back to her community and made a gym with her bare hands. LOVE Jen Harper (Cheekbone Beauty) and Devon Fiddler (SheNative) too!
RP: Is it okay if I look at your websites to see what’s new with you right now so SheNative’s internet community knows what’s coming up for you?
ST: Oh yeah!
RP: Awesome! Honoured to speak with you today, Sunshine.
Here’s what’s next for Sunshine: Pow Wow Pitch 2020, which will award $25,000 in prizes, is accepting pitches from Indigenous/First Nations/Inuit/Métis entrepreneurs in Canada until July 31, 2020.
CLICK HERE for more information.
To connect with Sunshine beyond this blog post, here are her links:
Interviewed & written by Rosie Paulyk of Select Social Media Marketing.
“You don’t have to do everything alone. In fact, you’re not alone. There are a bunch of people who care about you deeply; you might not even know who they are yet. But they’re there, accessible, and want to see you thrive in the world. You are a contribution and you’ll continue to be a contribution. Just be patient.”
These are the words Indigenous law school graduate Harpreet Ahuja would tell her 12 year old self. Years later, she’s moments away from becoming a lawyer and a challenger. I could share more about this fearless Indigenous woman changemaker (talking with her on Zoom was a joy -- highly recommend!), but her words hold great wisdom -- colouring these pages with resilience and courage. And so, without further delay, here is our first interview together!
Right now we could talk about the many bumps along the journey of entrepreneurship. Veeeery late nights. Tear-filled mornings -- most often at least half due to staying up too late the night before -- resulting in never-getting-out-of-there coffee stains. Changing relationships that you thought were going to be ride-or-die. These are a very small selection of the bumps I've experienced over the years.
Or we could talk about one of the most remarkable gifts entrepreneurship can provide: The ability to extend moments in time on short notice. To explain what I mean, here's a post I wrote on my Instagram back in August 2019...