Meet the Team

Dale C. Booth, President     613 316 8256

Dale Booth specializes in major infrastructure development. He has more than 20 years of experience working for First Nations and with all levels of government.

Dale has held senior positions within Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). As the AFN Chief executive Officer, Dale demonstrated keen abilities in strategic planning, operational management and financial management. He was appointed to the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board in 2008. Subsequently, Dale joined the private sector as a fairness advisor in the P3, where he gained considerable experience in P3 project development, procurement and First Nation’s economic development. He expanded his expertise as an infrastructure and P3 specialist with PPP Canada Inc. in the investment unit and as a principal in business development. Dale has extensive P3 project knowledge, domestically and internationally, and draws on global best practices to deliver results. Dale is currently the President of Innovation Seven Inc.

Justin Smith, Senior Consultant     613 899 3953

Mr. Justin Smith has over 11 years of experience providing advisory services and working in the fields of procurement, alternative forms of infrastructure delivery and First Nation housing, infrastructure and economic development.  Justin has worked on infrastructure projects, including major accommodation projects with a total value exceeding $3.0B in all phases of development from conception to construction.  He has the skills and experience to gather, synthesize and analyze varied information and data in order to develop innovative solutions to complex issues.

His primary area of expertise is contract and policy review, development and management.  This skill has been developed over the years beginning with the review and development of First Nation housing policies and governance structures and culminating with the review of multi-billion-dollar infrastructure contracts and the negotiation of multi-party service contracts.

Justin has considerable experience facilitating workshops and other types of focus groups to garner feedback from key stakeholders on complex issues.  He is skilled at guiding workshop participants through nebulous issues to identify and articulate key issues and opportunities.  Justin has also been invited to a variety of speaking engagements as a subject matter expert on First Nation housing and economic development.  Most notably was his invitation as the Canadian delegate and subject matter expert on public private partnerships to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference to advance alternative forms of infrastructure delivery in developing nations.

Candace Bennett, First Nations Policy Expert     613 914 4477

Candace Bennett is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. She specializes in First Nation housing management and policy development, having more than 20 years of experience working with First Nations and all levels of government. Candace began her career in her home community, where she implemented and created policy to manage and maintain the community housing portfolio. Her keen business sense allowed her to capture the arrears in the housing department in an 8-month process, bringing the arrears to less than 1%.  Candace has held various positions within Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) both at the regional and national level.  Her ability to understand First Nations housing issues positioned her well within the Capacity Development and Program Delivery Services branches of CMHC.  Her attentiveness and knowledge allowed her to progress from the Ontario Regional Office to National Office, where she was a lead in the First Nation Homeownership Strategy.  Candace transitioned from CMHC to the Assembly of First Nations where she was a Housing Policy Analyst.

Candace also had the opportunity to work as the General Manager of AOPFN Limited Partnership. Her economic development background mixed with her First Nation business capabilities proved effective in designing, developing and managing the communities’ economic businesses in renewable energy and HVAC services.

Candace has been a special advisor to Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council on their rental and homeownership policy development, a senior advisor and project manager to AFN’s e-CSAT (electronic community self-assessment tool) Mould Pilot Project, and a First Nation’s housing specialist for the development of the First Nation Sustainable Development Standards (FNSDS) training material.

Candace wants to make a fundamental impact in First Nations housing and infrastructure through the creation of adequately trained staff implementing community developed policies and programs to meet unique needs for First Nation people.  It is time that First Nations take control of their housing programs to create innovative programs that address our needs.

“Success is not measured by targets and benchmarks, success is progression toward your end goal.  Success can be two steps forward and one step back.”  Candace Bennett

Lisa Meness, Indigenous Engagement and Consultation Expert     613 914 2037

Lisa is a Senior Engagement and Consultation Expert specializing in project development, facilitation, coordination and implementation of activities, and building relationships between large public organizations and Indigenous communities and organizations.

As mentioned, Lisa a former Councillor and Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AoPFN) and current member of the community. She was born and raised on the AoPFN and continues to live there with her family. Lisa was the honoured recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, a commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 50th anniversary on the throne. Lisa was awarded the medal for her significant contributions to Canada, the community and to her fellow Canadians.

Erika Booth, Marketing & Indigenous Relations     613 302 6796

Erika Booth is a member of the Naotkamegwanning First Nation. She was educated at the University of Ottawa and earned her Honours B.A and is fully bilingual. Erika works in the First Nations market across Canada and is involved in strategic research and finding solutions on economic development and housing and infrastructure issues at the local and national levels. As a junior consultant, Erika conducted a full review of the Aboriginal Financial Institutions network, including financial results, statistical data, challenges and solutions, and product innovations for the Two Rivers Community Development Centre. She also developed an analysis of the Aboriginal infrastructure market for building a strategy for the Implementation of PPPs in Aboriginal communities for the Canadian Council of Public Private Partnerships. Most recently, Erika was involved in the planning, development and implementation of the First Nations National Housing Forum in Winnipeg which resulted in a strategy to progress the AFN’s Housing and Infrastructure vision. Erika’s goal is to ensure that all First Nation members are provided with safe and affordable housing. Every child, woman and man living on reserve should have the same quality of life as all Canadian citizens. Erika will continue to work on projects that ensure this goal is realized.

Karen Dolan, Human Resources (HR) Manager    613 899 3587

Karen Dolan provides human resources management services to both Innovation 7 and its clients.  She maintains the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation and holds a BA Psychology from Carleton University.  Karen obtained her Human Resources Management Certificate, Honours, from Algonquin College in September 2010.

Karen’s private sector recruitment experience and financial background are well paired for I7’s corporate and HR priorities as well as supporting the needs of her clients. At a practical level, Karen is experienced in drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts and other legal HR documents and corporate policies.

In the past year, Karen completed both the Workplace Diversity and Human Rights Certificate and the Comprehensive Project Management Certificate Program through the HRPA. This has uniquely positioned her to develop and implement HR strategies aligned with Indigenous values in a project management setting.

Karen has a deep understanding of the employment and human resource challenges that Canada’s Indigenous populations face.  Karen applies an Indigenous framework to Human Resources projects, hiring initiatives, and policy development. Currently, Karen is developing and implementing HR strategies and initiatives aligned business strategies and Indigenous core values for Innovation Seven and her clients.

Karen also provides Indigenous Engagement support to I7 clients and is actively involved in business development in addition to her HR management and corporate services role.

Judy Ellis, Researcher

Judy is a status member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation located in Ontario.  Her background experience stems from her 30 years of experience as an Aboriginal School Support Counsellor, in the Ontario Provincial school system.  During this time, she supported First Nation students, their families and her community at the secondary school level, by advocating for them in all aspects of school life, that would support their success in a system that is constantly changing.

Judy skill set includes, effective communication skills, objectivity and professionalism, active listening and results oriented focus, analytical, organization skills, proposal and policy writing, planning and prioritizing for successful outcomes, as well as relationship building, based on mutual respect and understanding.

Cathy Bernard, Researcher

Catherine is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. She specializes in First Nation Financial Management and brings 37 years of direct experience in First Nations Administration.  She was the lead in the development of Financial Policies; Internal Fiscal Audit Processes; Strategic Planning and Priority Cycles and Human Resource Management. In her tenure as Executive Director of Operations she managed the departments of Public Works, Economic Development, Lands Estates and Membership, Education Services, Social Services and Health Services.

Catherine dealt on a regular basis with comprehensive funding agreements with the Federal and Provincial Governments and is very familiar with their reporting requirements. She also has extensive experience dealing with outside funding agencies and their requirements.

Catherine’s financial, administrative and analytical abilities were valued and respected by Chief and Council of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan and their Administrative Team.