Indigenous students receive leadership awards

Three women are winners of the 2022 Michelle Pockey Leadership Awards

The Michelle Pockey Leadership Awards are bestowed in memory of 2016 Influential Women in Business (IWIB) Award honouree Michelle Pockey. They are aimed at supporting the education goals of community-minded leaders, with priority given to Indigenous women and single parents studying business, law, justice, Indigenous issues or the environment | BIV files

Three Indigenous mothers pursuing advanced education have been recognized with 2022 Michelle Pockey Leadership Awards, presented in partnership by Minerva BC and BIV, with support from Vancity.

Melissa McKay, a single mother to identical twin girls, is the recipient of a $5,000 award established in memory of 2016 Influential Women in Business (IWIB) Award honouree Michelle Pockey, a prominent lawyer, business leader and community activist who was committed to making a positive difference in the world by advancing women in business, law and non-traditional sectors. Pockey passed away from cancer in June 2016.

McKay is currently completing a four-year program through the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). She will receive certificates in First Nations studies and Nisga’a studies in May, before beginning her bachelor of commerce at UNBC this fall.

Christina Pierre and Cora McIntosh will each receive $1,000 awards. Pierre, who is supporting her daughter on her own, wants to break the “intergenerational trauma chain” by taking courses at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and eventually pursuing an associate arts degree in criminology. McIntosh, a single mother of four, recently completed her undergraduate degree in environmental planning at UNBC, and is working toward acquiring her professional designation.

Presented annually alongside BIV’s IWIB Awards, Michelle Pockey Leadership Awards financially support the education goals of bright, community-minded leaders. Priority is given to Indigenous women and single parents who are pursuing studies in business, law, justice, Indigenous issues or the environment.

Minerva BC CEO Tina Strehlke, Minerva board member Aanu Adeleye and BIV executive editor Hayley Woodin served on this year’s awards committee. •