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Gabrielle Scrimshaw

Indigenous Leadership & Education Expert

Growing up in the remote Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Gabrielle Scrimshaw was the first in her family to get a post-secondary education. Raised by a single father, she lived in a community challenged by addictions, suicide and a lack of educational opportunities. Now she is determined to provide “footprints in the snow” for other Indigenous youth to follow in order to create a better world. Since graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, she has earned an MBA from Stanford and is a Gleitsman Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard. Her customized presentations provide strategic insights to help organizations build engagement with Indigenous communities and to work with the rapidly growing population of Indigenous youth. She is an ideal speaker for educational groups, companies and any conference that wants to shape the future of Canada.

Palo Alto, CA, USA


Technology and Reconciliation
In a world with AI, decentralization, and smartphones, what is going to happen with the diverse array of indigenous languages, cultures, and traditional ways of life? Gabrielle Scrimshaw explores the role technology plays for first nations communities in reconciling the past and transforming future. Technology not only exists for indigenous communities but has also been created by indigenous communities long before the modern era of rapid technological development. Gabrielle shows us how we need to work more collaboratively with indigenous communities in building future technology. 

Key Takeaways:
• Reconciliation with indigenous communities is the responsibility of everyone.
• How to be more collaborative with Indigenous communities when developing new technology.

Footprints in the Snow: Inspiring Those Who Follow
Born into a First Nations community, Gabrielle had some daunting numbers stacked against her. She was eleven times more likely to be reported missing and three times more likely to be unemployed. She was more likely to drop out of high school than finish it. In the face of these circumstances, she worked hard and followed her heart. She was the first in her family to complete post-secondary education, became the youngest associate in one of Canada’s most competitive finance programs, travelled to 40 countries on six continents, and started a national organization for Indigenous Professionals. Today, Gabrielle has master’s degrees from Harvard and Stanford University. This inspirational presentation explores how she did it, what motivates her, and why “each step we make is a responsibility to those that follow.”

Reconciliation in the Workplace
Indigenous inclusion and reconciliation in the private sector have progressed, but still have a long way to go. Achieving this goal is paramount to build an inclusive and just Canada. While many Canadians agree with reconciliation, most don’t know where to start. In this presentation, Gabrielle shares her personal experience to show the importance of getting it right. She will help establish a deeper understanding around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for the private sector. Gabrielle will explore case studies from companies like Nike and Twitter to show how organizations can be more inclusive of Indigenous voices and successfully collaborate.

Indigenous Education in Canada
Indigenous peoples are the fastest growing demographic in Canada, with a population increasing at more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Canadians. Three out of ten Indigenous people are under the age of fifteen. While most people agree with the need to incorporate Indigenous voices throughout our education system, many don’t know where to start. In this presentation for education professionals, Gabrielle helps audiences be more inclusive by incorporating Indigenous voices in the classroom and sharing resources where they can learn and feel empowered to teach this content. She shares how educators helped put her on a different path, eventually going on to graduate from both Harvard and Stanford. She believes that education will play a key role in reconciliation in Canada.

Canada’s Next 150 years
As Gabrielle wrote in her acclaimed New York Times op-ed, while Canada celebrated its 150th birthday, many Indigenous people were mourning the milestone. Indigenous people are becoming better educated, but Canada is just embarking on its reconciliation journey. In this thought-provoking talk, Gabrielle shares reflections on the legacy of residential schools and the economic impact reconciliation can have on Canada in the future. Through her own inspirational story, Gabrielle shares what can happen when we focus on Indigenous youth and leadership and shares a vision for the next 150 years in Canada.

Platform Plus

Workshop | Team Building & Goal Setting

Gabrielle has worked with Indigenous communities, facilitating workshops bringing in leadership lessons (with an Indigenous lens) from her time at Harvard and Stanford. From goal setting, visioning, to team building, Gabrielle has the facilitation experience to help bring your team to new heights.

Workshop | Understanding Indigenous Voices

Many people need a safe space to learn about Indigenous history, and this workshop provides that. Gabrielle will provide a primer on Indigenous communities, and facilitate a safe-space Q&A to help your team understand topics like reconciliation, residential schools, and Indigenous inclusion.


Gleitsman Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School

Indspire's First Nations Youth Recipient

  • She was fantastic. Many people could identify with her story. Many folks were fighting back tears. The conference was a great success, thanks to great presentations and Gabrielle’s was one of the very best. Her presentation was real and passionately delivered. I believe that she got a lot out of it as well. I would recommend her highly. I also think she would be great at talks for high school kids.

    - Manager, Community Development and Training, Government of the Northwest Territories
  • Gabrielle was incredibly well received. She got a standing ovation from the crowd, and there were some people whom she obviously moved as there were some people with tears. People are still talking about her, and I know some people have told colleagues in other Canadian jurisdictions that they should probably hire her to talk at their seminars.

    - Coordinator, Labour Market Training Labour Development & Standards, Education, Culture & Employment
  • What I'm going to carry forward the most from your talk is to remember how easy it is to make a lasting and meaningful impression on someone in a mentorship kind of way, and to try to recognize and seize these opportunities. It is great to see you as a role model not just for Aboriginal people but also for young women professionals like myself.

    - Attendee, Greatness in Leadership
  • I just wanted to let you know how much people enjoyed your moderating the panels at our convention last week. The panels were very engaging and people really enjoyed the flow.

    - Canadian Labour Congress
  • Gabrielle was so inspirational for our event! She received a standing ovation... and most importantly, she made me cry! And it was beautiful! She has such a personal way of connecting with her audience, and all of it comes from her heart. Gabrielle was truly moving.

    - Events Director, United Nations Association in Canada
  • Gabrielle really touched everyones heart with her honesty and openness; and I know she even had me in shivers the whole time. Her stories tied into the theme and were really appreciated at a conference when the speakers are so so different.

    - Dietitians of Canada Conference
  • Your presentation was informational, motivating and thought-provoking…You have such amazing presence and wisdom for someone so young

    - VP, Operations, Atlantic and Eastern Ontario, Farm Credit Canada
  • Gabrielle did an AMAZING job today. She received a standing ovation at the end of her keynote and many many people commented that it was the best and most inspirational speaker we have had!!!! She had the audience hanging on every word.....and they are a tough crowd.

    - Director of Instruction, Burnaby School District

Summary Profile

Gabrielle Scrimshaw is an inspiring and engaging speaker, who regularly presents and provides input to large North American corporations, professional associations, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations.

Born and raised in Northern Saskatchewan, Gabrielle is a proud member of the Hatchet Lake First Nation. She has studied international business and policy in Australasia, Asia, the Americas and Europe. In addition, Gabrielle became the youngest Associate accepted into one of Canada’s most competitive post-graduate finance programs.

That same year Gabrielle co-founded the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada. The organization is of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area and offers services and programming to First Nations, Métis and Inuit professionals.

Prior to this Gabrielle was a program leader and volunteer with one of Canada’s premier youth programs, Junior Team Canada, where she led trade missions to Peru, China and Malaysia.

Gabrielle was also selected as a Canadian representative for the G8/G20 MY SUMMITS program in 2010 where she facilitated over 120 international youth delegates. Also through the program, Gabrielle was chosen as one of four young professionals to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and CEO Summits in Japan as a Voices of the Future delegate. There she discussed foreign policy and international trade with public officials, including Prime Minister Harper, as well as Fortune 500 Chief Executives.

Gabrielle is the first First Nations representative to be selected for the honour in Canada’s history. Gabrielle is passionate about diversity, leadership and innovation. As the first in her family to pursue post-secondary education and travel the globe, she is a believer in what hard work and a positive attitude can accomplish.

Can we make ‘Thank You Thursday’ a thing? Where the Thursday after Black Friday/Cyber Monday we leave treats and… https://t.co/sk6jQ2f7TR (2019-12-05 05:38:11)
This is important 👇🏼 https://t.co/Q4tyenWB4a (2019-12-04 04:38:59)
@Braindigenous This is the way. (2019-11-23 12:56:41)