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NBDC mandate:

 “To maximize the potential of commercial holdings, identify opportunities and develop new businesses for further economic growth and benefits for the ‘Namgis First Nation.”

NFN’s mission is:

“Based on a foundation of culture, the ‘Namgis First Nation Council will strive to create a self-governing, prosperous, healthy community with a strong, self -sustaining economy so that every member has the opportunity to achieve their highest potential.”


"The Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia have built a rich culture that reflects and acknowledges the riches in our natural environment. Our songs, stories, dances, and ceremonial objects honour the animals, rivers, cedar trees, salmon, and all those things that help to sustain the Kwakwaka'wakw physically and spiritually."


NBDC Management


Kevin Ainsworth


Kevin is an experienced business consultant with a background in forestry, oil & gas, tourism, and alternative energy. He has spent the past 10 years of his career leading First Nation development corporations on Haida Gwaii, and in the BC Interior, where he had overall strategic and operational responsibility for three indigenous business organizations.

Kevin’s career includes 20 years of forestry and forests products manufacturing experience at Ainsworth Lumber, where he held the position of Vice President, Forestry and Solid Wood Manufacturing and Senior Vice President, Western Panel Operations. During this time, Kevin developed a detailed understanding of BC Forest Policy, lumber and panel manufacturing , and forest products markets for logs, lumber and panel products.

Kevin possesses strong business and financial acumen and is comfortable preparing and working with operating budgets, capital budgets, and financial forecasts. He has excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative leadership style.

Kevin holds MBA and BSc (Forestry) degrees from the University of British Columbia. An outdoor and fitness enthusiast, Kevin enjoys cycling, hiking, and yoga.


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Gaby Wickstrom

General Manager, Operations and Business Development

Gaby is a long-time community advocate and businessperson who has lived on the North Island for almost 30 years. The ‘Namgis First Nation will best remember Gaby in her capacity as owner of Oceanview Driving School Ltd., a business she operated for 15 years.

Gaby’s vast area of experience includes past chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, former board member with the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, Past President of the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce, and past Director at Large with the Union of BC Municipalities. Gaby is the co-founder of the North Island Goddess Movement and Port McNeill Community Catalysts; groups founded on principles of building community. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Royal Roads University.

Gaby is enthusiastically committed to the region. She is a known connector and works hard to build partnerships that bring opportunities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities within the Kwakwaka’wakw territories.

Namwayut - “We Are All One”


NBDC Board


Jean La Rose, Board Chair, ICD.D

Chair of the Board

Jean La Rose is a First Nations citizen from the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak in Québec. He grew up in Ottawa where he studied Journalism at Algonquin College and obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Social Communication at the University of Ottawa/Université St. Paul.

Jean La Rose was the Chief Executive Officer of APTN, the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, with programming by, for and about Indigenous Peoples, from 2002 to 2019. Since then, he has taken the role of President/CEO of Dadan Sivunivut, a holding company for the many subsidiaries that were created by APTN to assist artists and producers in furthering their careers and expanding their audiences across Canada and beyond.

Mr. La Rose sits on the Board of Directors of Mother Earth Recycling (a social enterprise located in Winnipeg), the Nations Translation Group and La Cité Collégiale (Ontario’s largest French-language community college). He received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now known as Indspire Awards) for Media and Communications in 2011, and the CEO HR Champion of the Year Award from the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba in 2015. He was named “Alumni of the Year” in 2015 by St. Paul University and received an Honorary Diploma in Journalism from La Cité Collégiale in Ottawa in 2015.

Mr. La Rose is also the Chair of the Heritage Canada Departmental Audit Committee, is a member of the Parks Canada Departmental Audit Committee and served on Minister Joly’s Panel of Experts examining the future of the digital economy as it pertains to the Arts and Culture industries.


Chris Little, CPA, CA


Chris joined MakeWay (formerly Tides Canada) in October 2015 and provides operational and strategic leadership including oversight of the accounting, financial planning & analysis, information systems, and organizational risk management strategy for the $65M organization. She is also responsible for managing their $40M investment portfolio.

Before joining MakeWay, Chris served as Project Manager for a large finance system implementation at Vancity Savings and Credit Union. Chris is also a co-founder of the charitable project Reconciliation Canada and held numerous roles there including Director, Operations and Partnerships and Director, New Way Forward Development.


Chris is a CPA, CA with a breadth of financial experience that includes 11 years with the accounting firm Ernst & Young working both as an auditor and in the tax department, where she led the Scientific and Research Development (“SRED”) department. She holds a BSc in Physiotherapy from the University of Toronto. Chris serves on the Board of Directors of Raincity Housing and New Market Funds Society.


Jonathan Lok, RFT

Chair Member

Jon began his forestry career on Northern Vancouver Island with companies like Canfor, TimberWest, Weyerhaeuser and Canadian Air Crane and was inspired to co-found Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, one of the larger resource management consultancies in BC. In his role as Managing Director, he is responsible for setting strategy, growing culture and building a world-class team. The firm was recently named as one of the Top 100 Employers in Canada.

Jon studied at SFU, BCIT and UBC Sauder School of Business and has been recognized as the ABCFP’s Forest Technologist of the Year, received the CIF’s James Kitz Award and was named by Canadian Forest Industries Magazine as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 40 in the forest sector.

Jon has served as President of the Consulting Foresters of BC, the Association of BC Forest Professionals, the Canadian Institute of Forestry and the North Island Community Forest.

Face Scuplture

Chris Robertson

Chair Member

Bio Coming Soon


“The ‘Namgis First Nation established the ‘Namgis Business Development Corporation with a clear view to create a better future for its members. The NBDC is there to work with the Nation to develop business and economic opportunities for the community that will allow it to provide employment, new revenues and improve future growth potential. The NBDC oversees the various corporate entities established by the Nation and will work closely with them to expand their operations while looking to meet the community needs that have been clearly defined and outlined in past Comprehensive Community Plan consultations.”

- Jean La Rose, Chair of the Board

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