EMBA graduate to blaze new trails

Jun 11, 2015


Ian Campbell, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, was a member of the first cohort of the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership.

Ian Campbell, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, was a member of the first cohort of the Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership.

The following article was published by SFU News as part of their Convocation special. 

By Diane Luckow.

Ian Campbell, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, is a visionary who has ambitious plans for his people.

“We’re moving away from managing welfare to managing wealth,” he says. And now that he has completed the country’s first Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, he has the knowledge to forge ahead with ideas for projects that include developing the Jericho Lands and pursuing development and business collaborations with other nations.

Campbell, 41, is one of 14 students aged 32 to 57 who are the first to graduate from Canada’s first credited MBA for established Aboriginal leaders, entrepreneurs and others working with Aboriginal communities.

In 2013, B.C. Business magazine acclaimed the program as one of B.C.’s 10 most significant innovations.

Campbell concurs. He was accepted into the Beedie School of Business program without an undergraduate degree, but with significant career experience. He says the program “absolutely delivered” on formal business skills and tools while also recognizing and addressing how to incorporate traditional Aboriginal protocols and knowledge.

“I’m employed as lead negotiator in intergovernmental relations for the Squamish Nation,” he says. “We’re engaged in significant projects throughout our territory that deal with intergovernmental relations, business opportunities, and investment. So my focus in the EMBA was fourfold: creating a vision, structuring our nation’s corporate division, building capacity within the nation, and inspiring our young people.”

The new 33-month part-time EMBA program is very timely, he says, and he credits SFU’s courage and foresight in creating it.

“As Canada goes through reconciliation we really have to ask ourselves, ‘what are the actions that go with that?’ The leadership SFU exemplified in creating this program has inspired many of our Indigenous groups to move beyond the status quo. We’re now in transition to recreate ourselves—not in isolation but with the rest of Canada.”

Read more about the June 2015 SFU graduates at sfu.ca/sfunews.html