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Animikii at Indigenous Career Fair at The University of Victoria

October 15, 2019

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On October 15, 2019, Animikii Thunderbird’s, Chuck, Jen and Robyn attended the Indigenous Career Fair at The University of Victoria in the First People House on the unceded Lekwungen traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples.

The day was broken up into two events: the Career Fair and the Mock Interview Clinic. The Career Fair portion of the day showcases a diversity of employers promoting entry-level, work experience and professional opportunities within their organizations, while the afternoon session provided employers with a chance to conduct mock interviews with Indigenous students. In addition to helping Indigenous students develop employability skills, the Mock Interview Clinic was a great way to build relationships and to potentially meet that next student placement or employee.

We caught up with Chuck, Jen and Robyn on their return to see how the Indigenous Career Fair went, what their takeaways were, and what they found to be the most impactful part of the event.

Why did you decide to attend the event?

Chuck: I worked at the University of Victoria as a software developer. During that time I was grateful for the opportunities to participate in events at the First Peoples House. When Animikii management mentioned the Career Fair at the First Peoples House, I knew it would be a great opportunity to interact with Indigenous students. Animikii is active in promoting innovation and technology, among Indigenous students. The annual Indigenous Career Fair is a fantastic venue for networking and outreach, for students, and for employers. It was a real pleasure to participate in the information sessions and mock interviews.

Jen: When I attended the University of Victoria I was in the Humanities Co-op Program and it was quite invaluable to building my resume and figuring out what I wanted as a career. Attending this event was my way of giving back to a program that helped me out in my undergrad.

Robyn: One of the core focuses of Animikii is using technology as the tool of choice for creating equitable outcomes for Indigenous People. We seek opportunities to encourage Indigenous youth to choose technology as a career path and advocate for economic justice and knowledge-based economies.

How did you contribute to the event?

Chuck: I networked with students, local businesses, and staff at the First Peoples House. I enjoyed answering questions about the technologies that we use at Animikii. I also conducted a mock interview with an Indigenous student.

Jen: I networked with other organizations and conducted a mock interview with an Indigenous student.

Robyn: It was an honour and a privilege to network with other local employers, entrepreneurs, businesses dedicated to economic reconciliation.

What part of the event did you find the most impactful?

Chuck: I enjoyed talking with students that were curious about Animikii, as a digital agency, and as a technology company. University students ask some of the best questions, generally, they are experienced technology consumers, and they have extraordinary insights about how they’d like to use software in their daily lives. The intersection of technology and Indigenous issues is a wonderful platform for conversation - Animikii combines two things that I love to talk about. There were a few students that were interested in software solutions, and as a software developer, I really enjoyed sharing my experience and listening to their ideas and career plans.

Jen: It was quite impactful to chat with Indigenous students across a variety of programs and brainstorm about how their skill set could be used at a digital agency like Animikii. It was great to be a part of a conversation where I was able to express how skill I had never really thought of as marketable or valuable ended up being more valuable than other, more mainstream, skillsets.

Robyn: Meeting with hopeful students on the verge of choosing a career path. It’s an exciting and inspiring time, each student has limitless potential and opportunity ahead. It’s fun to participate in conversations around where those opportunities exist.

Why do you think it’s important for Animikii to reach out in this kind of capacity?

Chuck: Indigenous software developers are rare, but there is tremendous potential for employment as developers, even in remote communities. As the Indigenous business sector grows, it will need Indigenous business professionals, software developers included. As Animikii grows, we will have the same needs for Indigenous professionals. Participating in the Indigenous Career Fair is a wonderful example of outreach and networking. Some of the students will compete for scholarships and positions at Animikii. It is important to reach out to our communities to broadcast the opportunities at Animikii and encourage our youth to pursue careers in the technology sector.

Jen: It is very important to make sure that we are reaching out to young Indigenous Peoples in the community and committing to listening and learning from their experiences and perspectives. This act is crucial because as these students graduate and continue in their careers, they might one day become a partner, contractor, or employee with Animikii.

Robyn: As Animikii grows, we’ll need to attract Indigenous talent, with Indigenous knowledge, worldview and experience. We’ve had three successful internships with Indigenous co-op students and we’re always looking for innovative minds to strengthen our team.

Which of the 7 Grandfather teachings was most expressed at the event?

Chuck: Courage, it was wonderful to see so many students, asking important questions about career paths. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to transition into a career, to participate in interviews, to move beyond comfort zones, to grow professionally. Each student that I met had the courage and excitement for challenge and change. I find that type of courage refreshing, and the attitude towards change is wonderful. It’s wonderful to think about a future that is filled with bright, courageous Indigenous minds.

Jen: I was honoured to be a part of an event where everyone - organizations, facilitators, and students - showed such a high level of Respect to everyone in the room and it was good to see the honours shown to the Elders in attendance. I felt that everything was done in a good way.

Robyn: Humility, I’m humbled to be part of an organization that values the voices of Indigenous People, that values the voices of women and minorities. We are diversity and tech and we’ll continue to grow our team with that vision.

October 15, 2019

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