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Kelly J Lendsay, BSPE, MBA, CAFM, ICD.D

Kelly Lendsay, a social entrepreneur, is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators and organizational development experts in Indigenous engagement and workplace inclusion systems, models, and corporate/Indigenous partnerships. He has been leading the charge designing new workplace inclusion systems and Indigenous engagement strategies, growing Indigenous Works into an award winning, ISO-certified enterprise.  His dynamic communications style and passion for innovation have earned him a reputation as an engaging thought leader and effective bridge-builder fostering trusted partnerships for workforce and economic development across Canada, USA, Australia and abroad. 

In 2020, he launched Luminary - Advancing Indigenous Innovation, to focus post-secondary business schools and the Indigenous community on how best to Indigenize curriculum, grow business and research talent, mobilize knowledge and foster more multi-disciplinary research on Indigenous economic priorities.  In December 2023, Luminary was one of 24 organizations to be selected in a new national strategic science funding competition hosted by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), and was awarded funding for the next five years 2024-2029 to engage post-secondary business schools, research agencies and Indigenous business to grow the Indigenous innovation eco-system and support research and innovation investments that not only lead to stronger business and industry competitiveness, but will enable new product and market expansions, and create jobs and grow Indigenous business and research talent. 

Kelly is recognized for pioneering numerous innovative and entrepreneurial firsts. In the 80’s as the youngest  Chair of the National Life Guard Service, the first national standards were implemented for lifeguards across Canada and he developed new lifeguarding systems and lifesaving through his company, Swiftwater Rescue 3. He earned his MBA in 1993 and in 1994-95 was the inaugural director of the first Aboriginal Business Education program in Canada at the Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan from 1994-1998. In 1998, Kelly stepped onto the national stage as the inaugural President and CEO to launch the new Aboriginal Human Resource Council, a recommendation in the 1996 Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal People.  Re-branded in 2017 as Indigenous Works he has co-designed the very first workplace models and systems including the Inclusion Continuum, a 7-stage roadmap to becoming an employer of choice for Indigenous talent. He was invited by the Australian Government to share models and practices in Indigenous workplace inclusion strategies and systems, a first in the international space. In 2009, he developed the first partnership with the National Native American Human Resource Association in the United States and has generated more than two dozen sectoral partnerships in Canada. Most recently in 2023, Kelly became an adjunct instructor with Rotman’s Institute for Corporate Directors, leading the  first  “Indigenous Governance” session incorporated into every Toronto based Director Education Program. 

He was honored by the University of Saskatchewan as one of their “100 Alumni of Influence” in the last century whose accomplishments have been recognized for influencing the growth and development of the university, the province, and the world. In 2022 he was a semi-finalist for Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year award hosted by the CANIES Innovation and Entrepreneurs Foundation.

A proud Canadian Indigenous leader of Cree and Métis ancestry, he moves seamlessly between both worlds fostering innovation, economic inclusion and wellbeing for all. 

He is married to Shiela and has five adult children and two grandchildren; he is an avid competitive pickleball player, kitesurfer, wing foiler, swimmer, jogger, yoga and Tae Kwon Do practitioner (Black Belt 2015).

[email protected]        Kelly J Lendsay | LinkedIn  (m) 306 291 0424