BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jimmy Thunder, MBA, BA
Founder and Board Chair
Jimmy Thunder is an Oji-Cree Asper MBA graduate from Sachigo Lake, Ontario in Treaty 9 territory. He grew up in Sioux Lookout Ontario and completed two undergraduate degrees at Horizon College and Seminary and Providence University College and Seminary. While completing his Master’s Degree in Business administration he focused his electives on courses that facilitated an exploration of his Indigenous identity and on the political and economic origins that shaped the current disparities between Indigenous and non-Indignous peoples. One of his final MBA projects was the creation of the Overdue Diligence video series created with two other Indigneous students.
As an MBA student he was invited by the late Dr. John Loxley to conduct research on the synergies between Indigenous cultures and the cooperative model in order to encourage urban economic development Initiatives that respect the self-determination of Indigenous peoples.
One of his first public presentations was a spoken word poem called Dear Younger Me: An Open Letter to My Younger Self at a conference hosted by Forever Families of Canada. In this spoken word poem, Jimmy creatively outlined the learning he has completed since his youth in order to inspire action in leaders attending the conference. This poem was later recorded and is one of the most shared Reconciliation Thunder Videos.
Since that time he has been invited to encourages public engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action as a guest lecturer at the University of Manitoba, Indigenous awareness trainer in the businesses sector, and speaker at conferences such as Mino-miwanji itiwag in Manitoba and (walking together in a good way) in Saskatchewan. He has also been invited to numerous podcast and radio interviews. He also teaches a required course at his alma mater Horizon College and Seminary as part of the college’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action 60.
After completing facilitator training with Circles for Reconciliation, Jimmy has volunteered in a number of media projects and as an advisory committee member for Circles for Reconciliation.
Jimmy is co-chair of the Seven Commitments Working Group, an initiative of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics and leaders develop a strategic plan to inspire faith groups across Canada to engage in concrete action informed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Reconciliation Proclamation, and the Stewarding Sacred Seeds paper presented at a symposium hosted by the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies.
He has been invited to advise organization leaders and their boards as to how to respond to call to action number 92 for the corporate sector and how to identify and respond to problems of systemic racism, cultural awareness, and Indignous inclusion within their organizations.
He has served as an accountant for MNP in the Indigenous Services, as an economic development officer for a First Nation Provincial Territorial Organization in which he took every opportunity to learn from the Elders. He is currently working as the director of economic development for Norway House Cree Nation.
Publications: Indigenizing the Cooperative Model
Kathy Mallett, OM, BA
Kathy Mallett is a band member of the Fisher River Cree Nation (Ochekwi-Sipi). She worked many years in the inner city helping to develop many of the Winnipeg Indigenous organizations. Kathy participated in the early 1980s with an organization called the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples. It is here she experienced healthy working relationships working with members of the non-Indigenous Winnipeg community. She has found over the years that many non-Indigenous people want to become allies
Kathy received the first recognition for her volunteer work by members of her community by receiving the YWCA Woman of the Year award in 1985. In 1993 she received the Faculty of Social Work Anniversary Award. In the early 2000s she received the Grassroots Women Award and the Manitoba Human Rights Commitment award. In the mid-2000s she received the Order of Manitoba (O.M), and Keeping the Fires Burning award. Lastly, she received the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues recognition in 2015.
Gregory Nyobole Kilbrai, MBA, BN, RN
Greg is a nurse and Community Mental Health Worker with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority working with clients in Downtown East (Treaty 1 Territory). He has also worked with the WRHA’s Crisis Response Centre, Crisis Stabilization Unit, and Siloam Mission’s Health Centre serving the homeless in Winnipeg. A former chartered accountant and certified general accountant, he is also a personal trainer and certified Zentangle teacher. He is a life-long learner on a never-ending journey for well-being, insight and faith.
Greg is a third generation Canadian of settler origin. His maternal and paternal grandparents fled Europe as refugees in World War 2 and began farming near Swan River (Treaty 4 Territory). They met and married and formed a community with others in a wave of Czechoslovakian, Ukrainian, German, and Polish immigrants that settled in that region to rebuild their lives.
Greg’s interest in reconciliation began in The Pas, Manitoba while learning of colonialism and the impact of residential schools (topics not in the curriculum of his childhood history education) while working at University College of the North as Executive Director of Finance and also while studying nursing. He was able to increase his knowledge with UCN Elder John Martin and UCN colleague Doris Young of Opaskwayak Cree Nation.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work included an awareness campaign slogan “We are All Treaty People”, and this phrase has inspired Greg to keep striving towards the original vision and spirit of the treaties and to remedy the ongoing injustices of colonialism.
Greg has completed facilitator training with Circles for Reconciliation. He believes the first step in reconciliation work begins with education and moves toward action and change by building transformative relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
ALEXANDRA BÉASSE, BA, BSW (Hons), MSW
FORMER BOARD MEMBERS
We would like to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of our former board members in establishing Reconciliation Thunder.
Ningzi Sun, M. Eng, BA
Ningzi connected with Reconciliation Thunder while studying at The University of Winnipeg. She has worked at Baidu, Inc. a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence (AI). She has also volunteered at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in the communications department reviewing analytics and creating professional graphics.
Zach Unrau, BA
Zachariah (Zach) Unrau has been an influential member of the Board in Reconciliation Thunder Inc.’s founding and development providing guidance and vision. Zach earned a Bachelor of Commerce– honours degree (Human Resources and Leadership) in 2017 from the University of Manitoba and is currently pursuing a Professional Master of Education degree specializing in Indigenous Education at Queen’s University. He has and continues to work with Indigneous post-secondary students as previously part of the Indigenous Business Education Partners Program (IBEP) team and currently as an Indigenous Student Advisor through the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous Student Centre.