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CCAB celebrates Ontario women in business – Two Row Times


The CCAB selected Dawn Madahbee Leach as the 2023 Business Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Submitted photo

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) is celebrating Dawn Madahbee Leach as the 2023 Business Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and Lesley Hampton, as the recipient of the Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award.

Recognizing their contributions to the Indigenous economy at different stages in their careers, both are to be honoured and celebrated at an Awards Dinner following CCAB’s Central Business Forum on Feb. 7 at the Marriott Toronto Eaton Centre. ESS Support Services Worldwide is the Award Sponsor for both national awards and Bruce Power is the Lead Sponsor for the Central Business Forum.

“I am looking forward to our event on Feb. 7 to celebrate two exemplary and inspiring Indigenous women,” said Tabatha Bull, CCAB president and CEO. “Over the span of her career, Leach continues to make significant contributions toward Indigenous economic development and demonstrates lifelong leadership. Hampton, an up-and-coming icon as an artist and fashion designer, continues her activism in the fashion industry and serves as an inspiration to other young Indigenous entrepreneurs.”

CCAB’s Business Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis person whose business leadership has made a substantive contribution to the economic and social well-being of Indigenous people.

The CCAB selected Dawn Madahbee Leach as the 2023 Business Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Submitted photo

Through Leach’s work with the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, she continues to be integral to Indigenous economic development in Canada. She has a deep connection to her routes as an Anishinabe Kwe from the Aundeck Omni Kaning and Whitefish River First Nations, as she continues to be a part of the development of Indigenous strategies in multiple sectors, regionally. She is also notably one of the key leaders in the 2022 National Indigenous Economy Strategy, developing 107 calls to action that lead to economic prosperity for all Canadians.

“This Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business is humbly accepted on behalf of all who have guided, supported and encouraged me on my life’s journey to be brave, to work hard, and to bring about positive change,” said Leach. “I am extremely grateful to have among my teachers many inspirational Indigenous leaders from within our communities, in business, in national organizations, and around the world who share a vision of prosperity for our people.”

Hampton, an inspirational business owner and young Indigenous leader, continues to make her mark and the well-deserved recipient of this award. An Anishnaabe kwe from Temagami First Nation, fashion designer and artist Hampton represents authentic Indigenous representation in the fashion industry through storytelling on the runway and steering away from typical fashion norms. Her business is 100 per cent Indigenous-owned, with a strong advocacy for size-inclusive clothing, mental health awareness, and body positivity.

Hampton’s designs have been seen through Vogue, Buzzfeed, and worn by various artists and actresses at award shows such as the 2021 Emmy Awards, 2020 Golden Globes, 2022 Juno Awards, 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, and Vancouver International Film Festival. She is a laureate of the 2021 Indspire Youth Award, 2021 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Fashion Impact Award, and 2021 Fashion Group International Toronto Visionary Award.

“I’m so honoured to be the recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award and thankful to the CCAB for this recognition; to follow the footsteps of so many incredible young leaders. I dedicate this award to my community and my team who empower and inspire me daily,” says Lesley Hampton.

CCAB is kicking off its first event of the year in Toronto at the Central Business Forum and Awards Dinner, on Feb. 7 at the Marriott Toronto Eaton Centre.