Indigenous Business Speaker Series

Join the Faculty of Management, students and faculty from across campus, and community members to learn from and engage with local Indigenous business leaders. Connect with us in this ongoing community, together with Indigenous thought leaders to begin, continue and advance the conversation about truth and reconciling for the future.

The Indigenous Business speaker series brings together voices shaping the landscape of Indigenous leadership, entrepreneurship and governance.

Join us as esteemed Indigenous speakers share their compelling narratives, insights, and achievements to learn and explore how Indigenous business is shaping and influencing communities and economic opportunities.

On March 5, 2024, the Faculty of Management will welcome Mic Werstuik, Chief Executive Officer Ntityix Development Corporation, as the first keynote speaker in the Indigenous Business Speaker Series.

Each event in the speaker series is designed in two parts to provide meaningful opportunity for attendees to engage with speakers.

The first part involves a formal keynote presentation, where the speaker shares experiences and insights. The second part is an interactive, facilitated discussion between the speaker, moderator, and participants.

Participants are welcome to attend one or both parts


When: March 5, 2024
Where: University Centre (UNC) 200

2:30-3:30 p.m. | Keynote Speaker Mic Werstuik, Moderated by Krystal Withakay (spaxwawlm)
3:30-3:45 p.m. | Break & Refreshments
3:45-4:30 p.m. | Facilitated Group Discussion with Mic Werstuik and Krystal Withakay (spaxwawlm)

To Register


Mic Werstuik

Mic joined the Ntityix Development Corporation (NDC) executive team in summer 2021. As a Westbank First Nation (WFN) Member, he has been actively involved in the evolution and success of WFN and its corporate entities. With over 30 years of experience in all aspects of forestry and natural resource management, Mic is excited to work with WFN Membership and the Ntityix Team to continue to grow future opportunities for both. Since an early age Mic spent most of his time on the land, in 1998 he graduated from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology with a diploma in Natural Resource Management. In 2018, he received his Master of Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University. In his 30 + year career Mic has run chainsaws, worked for the Ministry of Forests, been an elected Councillor for WFN, been sole proprietor of his own business and held management positions in WFN and other organizations. Mic’s passion is being on the land and working with our people for the benefit of the community. 


Krystal Withakay (spaxwawlm) 

Krystal Withakay (spaxwawlm) is of the syilx nation and is from tsnikstikeptum # 10/ Westbank, BC. She is a devoted syilx artist and  knowledge keeper. With over 20 years experience, Krystal continues her advocacy within syilx language and culture as a lifelong learner. Krystal’s artistic abilities and wealth of knowledge are a reflection of syilx mentorship and continued support within her traditional territory. 

The Indigenous Business Speaker Series is grateful to have the opportunity to partner with Sheldon Louis on the design for the Indigenous Speaker Series. Suʔkncut’s Offering was originally created as part of Peachland “Making Waves” mural project.

About the Artist

Sheldon Pierre Louis is a member of the Okanagan/Syilx Nation, and is a multi-disciplinary Okanagan/Syilx Artist. Sheldon’s ancestral roots have influenced his works in painting, drawing, carving, and sculpting. Sheldon sits on the board of directors for the Arts Council of the North Okanagan in his second term. He also sits on the Board for the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. His work has been published in the Arts and Council Guide for the North Okanagan 2016 and 2017. Sheldon is a recipient of the First Peoples Cultural Council’s, Emerging Artist Development Award for 2015. He is a co-founder and the lead visual artist of the Kama? Creative Aboriginal Arts Collective and is a member of Ullus Collective, both groups based in Syilx Art. As a member of the Re-Think 150: Indigenous Truth Collective Sheldon has worked on a youth mural in conjunction with the Kelowna Secondary School’s Honours Art 12 class.

Suʔkncut’s Offering was originally created as part of Peachland “Making Waves” mural project.

The Artist’s Statement

This imagery shows a young toddler making an offering to the water and salmon. This imagery speaks to the instilling of traditional protocols and teachings and the passing down of knowledge to our littlest ones. We as adults carry out these protocols of offering tobacco to the water and our little ones watch and mimic and learn. The imagery in the background is some stylized images of Siya (Saskatoon berry) the siya is a representation of youth. This also speaks to the teaching of young ones and also how the future of our water will be cared for by them and carried forward. The salmon in our Syilx culture represents the “getting it done” or “the worker” and so this too speaks to the work and effort that is needed to care for our waters. I only used one salmon image to represent that all it takes is one salmon to come back to reconnect our waters and our people back to the salmon. The red ochre background represents our tulmin which is used for pictographs. The blue represents the water. The orange line across the wall is an Earthline this represents the land/earth. It outlines the young boy to show he and his energy is connected to the earth.

Learn more about the Artist


We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this project provided by UBC Okanagan via the Aspire-2040 Learning Transformations Fund.