Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

This program will take place in Spring, 2021. Watch for a new call for applications in January, 2021.

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.

Click here for downloadable PDF

Graduates in the News

Butterflies in Spirit: Meet MMIWG Advocate Lorelei Williams

Butterflies in Spirit: Meet MMIWG Advocate Lorelei Williams

Graduate Lorelei Williams is raising awareness and advocating for victims and families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) through Butterflies in Spirit – a dance group comprised of family members of MMIWG, formed to empower Indigenous women and raise awareness about her aunt Belinda Williams who went missing in 1978, and cousin Tanya Holyk who was murdered in 1996.

read more
Jeannine Deveau Education Equity Endowment Fund set to Amplify Celebrity Donation to StFX’s Coady Institute

Jeannine Deveau Education Equity Endowment Fund set to Amplify Celebrity Donation to StFX’s Coady Institute

Every new $1 becomes $2 dollars as fund agrees to match donations | Earlier this week, Coady Institute kicked off a campaign in support of the Institite’s Indigenous programming. Ryan Reynolds’ and Blake Lively’s $200,000 gift launched the campaign. The Jeannine Deveau Education Equity Endowment Fund is now willing to commit $500,000 to Circle of Abundance – Amplifying Indigenous Women’s Leadership by matching dollar-to-dollar Blake and Ryan’s donation and up to another $300,000 to match any new donations.

read more
Mentor Enthusiastic about Past and Future of Coady’s Indigenous Program

Mentor Enthusiastic about Past and Future of Coady’s Indigenous Program

As with many things, it began with a phone call. For Marie Delorme that phone call came from a colleague 11 years ago and included an invitation to have dinner with Mary Coyle to discuss a concept that led to the founding of Coady’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL) program, which now has more than 144 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women graduates.

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.