Indigenous Women in Community Leadership

November 1 to 4, 2019

Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Collective Action

The women who attended this Alumni Gathering are graduates of Coady’s IWCL program, their mentors, Elders, and invited guests. Each year more than 100 applicants apply for IWCL and, through an extensive selection process, 10 to 15 Indigenous women take part in a 2-month residency and a 4-month mentorship. During that time, participants implement community initiatives, ones that continue to flourish long after the program concludes.

The graduates are impressive – authors, entrepreneurs, educators, public servants, youth workers, artists, band leaders, social workers – and they each have their own remarkable story of transformation, which they courageously share with their communities to help bring about social change. They are working on critical issues such as poverty, violence against women, suicide, climate change, reconciliation, peace building, and healing.

The participants enter the program as self-identified leaders. They graduate feeling transformed, with their vision and capacity to lead expanded.

Unlike a traditional conference where participants met for the first time, this group of women were already deeply engaged in the network and in the community initiatives with shared values for social change. They took the lead and developed the Gathering’s program and thematic issues. The weekend was an opportunity for Indigenous women to come together, forge connections, collaborate, and amplify their impact.

Over the course of these four days, the participants heard from keynote Indigenous speakers, shared stories of impact, attended master classes, held a marketplace, enjoyed entertainment, and went on field trips to visit local Indigenous communities as they examineed collective issues and formulated a collective response.

The Gathering brought together Indigenous women from all corners of Canada including members of the 2019-2020 cohort, the 9th group of Indigenous leaders who have participated in the program. The participants had been dreaming about bringing alumni together since the beginning and your sponsorship helped to make this historic moment happen.

We thank you for supporting the innovative work and vision of these remarkable women as they take community-driven development to the next level.


Eileen Alma, Director, International Centre for Women’s Leadership, Coady Institute

Alexis MacDonald, Senior Development Executive, St. Francis Xavier University