Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

This program will take place in Spring, 2021. A new call for applications will be announced soon.

This program takes place in Mi’km’aki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. It encourages Indigenous women to further develop their leadership skills and abilities for community-led and community-driven development. Social change in solidarity with others and providing tools that prioritize equity and inclusion are central goals. The course welcomes all self-identified First Nation, Métis and Inuit women who can demonstrate the ways they are currently engaged in or showing their potential for leadership in their respective communities, organizations or Nations.

Personal benefits include:

  • assessing your life and leadership experiences;
  • building leadership awareness by discovering your strengths and capacities;
  • understanding opportunities and challenges in your community;
  • learning practical tools and strategies to lead community-driven change forward;
  • design a community engagement project;
  • networking with a motivated and diverse group of Indigenous women to build approaches that break down barriers and limits to community development work.

Organizational benefits:

As a result of this program, participants will:

  • develop community approaches to increase the social capital of their communities, organizations, Nations; and
  • develop vision and leadership approaches that support and lead to innovation and social change.

Who should take the program?

The strength of the course is in the geographical and cultural diversity of Indigenous women who attend, share and contribute meaningfully. The mix of ages, experiences, backgrounds, cultural knowledge, responsibilities, education, and working lives creates a vibrant context for learning.

You are a great candidate if you are/have:

  • a self-identified First Nations, Métis, or Inuit woman who is passionate and actively working to make positive social change in your community, organization, or Nation or show high potential for this kind of leadership.
  • a high school diploma or undergraduate degree in combination with sound oral and written abilities.
  • 3-5 years’ experience in community work, at emerging or mid-career leadership level.
  • limited exposure to leadership training or other educational opportunities.
  • committed to being accountable to staff and mentors throughout the program.
  • committed to applying your learning in your community, organization, or Nation after the program.
  • contributing to on-going learning within IWCL and Coady graduate networks.

Approach to learning

This course includes Indigenous and non-indigenous approaches to leadership and community development. Participatory and experiential learning methods are used by which participants share their experiences and deepen their learnings. These include on-the-land opportunities, talking circles, Elder and knowledge keeper teachings, ceremony (where appropriate), lecture presentations, small group discussions, role-plays, debates, case studies, guest speakers, and skill-building exercises. Additionally, participants visit a local Indigenous community to engage in dialogue and learning.


A mix of institutional and private donors who share Coady Institute’s vision of community-based, citizen-led change sponsor the institute’s educational programs. For successful candidates, we can offer a full scholarship that includes tuition, program materials, travel, accommodations and meals during the program.

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Graduates in the News

Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day

Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice and the 25th National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for all Canadians on Turtle Island to recognize and celebrate the culture, heritage, and contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples just as Indigenous peoples have for generations. Read more…

read more

For the 2020-21 IWCL program, Coady Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of the Comart Family Foundation, Jeannine Deveau Achievement Fund, Donner Canadian Foundation, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and other generous individual sponsors.

This program was previously made possible with support from its founding funders Imperial and ExxonMobil as well as the Government of Alberta.