Aspiring Women in Leadership and Legacy
"As a founding member of AWiLL I truly believe that every women deserves to be recognized and celebrated for who she is and the abundant talent she has been blessed with. Regardless of the labels that society puts on us, we as women and young girls, have a fundamental similarity - and that is the inherent ability to lead. The abilty sometimes gets stifled and sabotaged along our life journey. AWiLL provides a forum in which women,young and old, can come together to give and receive wisdom, support and mentor-ship. I am committed to the success of the organization, and its members by currently serving as President, as well as being actively involved in initiatives that align with the Vision, Mandate, and Values of AWiLL."
"I believe in women empowering women! We thrive when we work together to overcome challenges and when we celebrate our winning moments. AWiLL is an opportunity to do just that: by sharing our strengths, laughing together and learning from one another. AWiLL bridges gaps by building and strengthening relationships. In these busy technological times, we all hope for a successful balance in our personal and work lives. At AWiLL we get to learn, catch up and connect with one another. I am honoured to be part of a group of dynamic board members who want the best arena to build true capacity for us all so we can thrive on what pathways we chose to take. It is a supportive environment to grow and build leadership qualities in both myself and in others."
"As an indigenous woman, I have had many experiences that have taught me hard lessons. Often my preserving nature got me through or held be back. In either case, those outcomes were based on my choices, even when I believed I had no choice. I've recently recognized that I instinctively want to show my daughters, (and other young women) that we have a multitude of choice! Choosing to excel is where I want to make a real difference. I believe this ability is within all of us, no matter our upbringing or aspirations. We can excel at being a mother, a sister, a colleague or a good friend. I enjoy having a place - literal or symbolic - through AWiLL where we can generate all of the possibilities and positivity that we as a gender can conceivably encounter so that women of all ages, ethnicitys or lifestyles can know and make good choices.
As a leader and co-founder, I choose to be involved at the board level because I believe that women have an opinion, pay attention to what our instincts say, and be open to allowing others to reshape our perceptions in positive and meaningful way."
Lorraine Wheatley: Secretary
Debbie Houle is Metis from the Elizabeth Metis Settlement and has been working in Edmonton’s urban Aboriginal community since 1991. She served as President of Aksis from 2012 to 2017. Debbie is also the co-founder of the Aboriginal Women’s Vocal Ensemble Asani who composed original compositions in English and Cree and produced two compact discs titled “Rattle and Drum” in 2005 and “Listen” in 2009. In 2006, Asani was nominated for Juno for their debut cd “Rattle and Drum”. In 2010 they were awarded a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Aboriginal Recording. In 2006, Debbie received the Mayor’s Salute to Excellence Arts and Culture Performance Award and she has received an Esquao Award for Performing Arts. She works full-time as a liaison officer with Alberta Indigenous Relations First Nation Development Fund.