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We Are Leaders Entrepreneurs Squamish Nch’ḵay̓

Read Our Annual Report



Squamish Nation villages of vendors

Establish business the Nch’ḵay̓ way.

Our mandate is to develop, manage and own the active businesses of the Nation, to allow  the separation of business and governance within the Squamish Nation.
About Us

Building our community by creating opportunities

Nch’ḵay̓ was established in 2018 as the economic development arm of the Squamish Nation. Our  mandate is to develop, manage and own the active businesses of the Nation, and  allow for the separation of business and politics within the Squamish Nation. The name Nch’ḵay̓ was chosen as a reference to the Great Flood – the flood that forced Squamish Nation ancestors to tie their canoes to the highest mountain in the territory, Mount Garibaldi, in order to survive.

We are Nch’ḵay̓.
Who We Are

Nch’ḵay̓ Executive Team

Our team is comprised of individuals who are experts in their field and committed to the success and support of the Nation, you can read about our team here 

Our Team

Nch’ḵay̓ Senior Leadership

Nch’ḵay̓ Board of Directors

Our team is comprised of individuals who are experts in their field and committed to the success and support of the Nation, you can read about our team here 

Message from the Squamish Council Chair

“Nch’ḵay̓ was established to develop and manage the business of the nation. Together we will show leadership, demonstrating to the world how Indigenous Peoples are influencing Canada positively, as much as Canada has had a profound impact on Indigenous Peoples. We’ve had to change and sacrifice so much of who we are and give up so much of what belongs to us for Canada to exist. Reconciliation is evidenced by the broad collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, but also through the net positive economic impact we will have on Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.” 

Chairperson Khelsilem

Squamish Nation Council

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About Squamish Nation

skwxwú7mesh úxwumixw
The Squamish Nation

The Squamish Nation consists of 23 villages and is comprised of descendants of the Coast Salish Aboriginal people who live in the present-day Greater Vancouver area, Gibson’s Landing and Squamish River watershed.

The Squamish Nation has occupied and governed the territory since beyond recorded history. The Squamish Nation’s culture is rich and resilient. The Nation continues to practice its customs and traditions, which are strongly interconnected with the traditional territory.

Together Squamish lands, customs and traditions are the foundations of who the peoples are as Skwxwú7mesh.

Our Businesses and Projects

Nch’ḵay̓ and Ta Skw’ats

Great Flood Story

This story is a true account of the Squamish Nation’s connection to Nch’ḵay̓ that has been handed down for innumerable generations. The ancient memory of these events ties many cultures together as canoes went in many directions allowing people to repopulate the ands once the waters subsided. It is a good lesson on the fragility of society and the raw power of nature.

What's Happening

Media Coverage

Take a look at what’s happening in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. 

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Susan L. MacLaurin


Susan L. MacLaurin, CFA, joined QuadReal in December 2016 and retired from full-time work in December of 2023 after 40 years in Canada’s commercial real estate industry. When at QuadReal, Susan refined her focus from real estate asset allocation, portfolio management, and client service to communications. As Chief Communications Officer at QuadReal, her responsibilities included building and fortifying a culture of collaboration, and nurturing stakeholder and community engagement while supporting the team’s global mandate to deliver strong investment returns and sustainable growth.

Susan holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, an MBA from the University of Toronto, and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Susan is the present Chair of CARE Canada, an organization helping to unlock a gender-just future, and a board member of Adler University, an organization educating graduate social workers who themselves advance social justice. At the core of the work of both these social profit organizations is a commitment to advance decolonization, reconciliation and anti-racism. Susan joined the Nch’ḵay̓ Board of Directors in April 2024.

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Tai Nguyen

Vice President Operations

Tai brings over 15 years of financial and operational improvement experience. Prior to joining Nch’ḵay̓, he was the VP of Finance and Corporate Services for JJM Construction Ltd. Tai holds CPA and CMA designations, a BCom and an MBA.

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Sean Ruzicka

Vice President of Business Development & Strategic Support

Sean Ruzicka is Vice President of Business Development & Strategic Support, serves as current Chair of the Sen̓áḵw Procurement Committee, and is a board member on Nchu’7mut LP supporting the Nch’ḵay̓ Business Registry.  He provides leadership and supports the teams responsible for assessing new economic opportunities, negotiating complex deals, and driving procurement opportunities that pull through member employment, member business opportunities, and revenue to NDC.  Sean brings depth of experience in leadership, strategy, process, business planning and procurement from nearly 20 years in Tech where he took a business from startup to over $1B in annual revenue and was responsible for an annual capital budget in excess of $400M.  Where technical skills are critical to driving the best outcome for the Nation, he most enjoys his mentorship role in developing new grad Squamish Nation members who are next generation leaders in the community.  Sean holds a degree in Economics, an MBA, and spends his free time with his family in and on the waters and lands of the Nation.

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Denis Murphy

Chief Financial Officer

Denis Murphy is the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Board for Nch’ḵaỷ Development Corporation. In this role, he provides leadership in strategic decision-making, business planning, and financial management for the organization and its subsidiaries, with a particular focus on real estate development — most notably for the Sen̓áḵw development, the largest net zero carbon residential project in Canada. Prior to joining Nch’ḵaỷ, Denis served as the Senior Financial Officer for the Squamish Nation and has over 18 years of experience in Finance, having worked for the Provincial Health Services Authority, British Airways, and Baker Tilly. He holds an FCCA designation and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Imperial College London.

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Walter Schneider

Nation Member Director

Walter is Chief Executive Officer at New Relationship Trust, a corporation that manages a large investment fund and strategic funding partnerships to support nation-building initiatives in First Nation communities across BC.  He brings 20+ years of broad experience, perspective, and capability to the Board through education and past roles including as a Vice-President in a global investment bank, a CEO of a shared governance corporation focused on First Nation financial management and the Senior Administrator role at Squamish Nation.

Walter’s professional passion is finance and real estate and bringing critical discourse to colonial influences on First Nations process and participation in various domains including economic development. Walter is a Squamish Nation member and proud to join the corporate leadership team that will enhance the economic potential while protecting the ancestral resiliency of Squamish Nation for generations to come.

Walter is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant) and holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University – Beedie School of Business, a diploma in Financial Management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and is currently pursuing and in the final stage of completing a diploma in Urban Land Economics – Real Estate Development through Sauder School of Business at University of British Columbia.

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Sarah Silva

Vice President of Real Estate and Development

As the VP of Real Estate, Sarah identifies business ideas to create and pursue real estate strategic opportunities. Developing and leading real estate projects ensuring that all projects reflect the highest standards of corporate social responsibility and land stewardship in alignment with Squamish Nation values. Promoting projects that balance economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs of current and future generations. Previously Sarah served as the CEO for Hiy̓ám̓ ta Housing Sḵw̱xwú7mesh Society where she was also a founding board member. Sarah is a proud member of the Squamish Nation.


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Jennifer Podmore Russell

Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Development

Jenn joined Nch’ḵay̓ in December as EVP of Real Estate and Development, working with the team to grow and develop the nation’s extensive real estate assets, ensuring wealth for the Squamish people for generations to come.

She has nearly two decades of experience in real estate strategy, portfolio planning and development advisory. Most recently, she held a leadership role as Senior Vice President on the Advisory team at Rennie. Previously, she led the real estate division in BC for a top-four accounting and consultancy firm. She was the founder and managing partner of MPC Intelligence, a research and analytics solution for the new home development industry in Western Canada.

Jenn is passionate about creating meaningful change in the community. She serves on the board of the Urban Development Institute, as an executive board member of the Royal Colombian Foundation, as director of the Arrowleaf Board and as past Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Economic Commission.

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Joy MacPhail

Board Chair, Independent

Joy MacPhail brings a wealth of business and political experience to the Board. In 1991, Joy was successful in her first attempt at electoral politics when she was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Vancouver-Hastings in British Columbia. She was re-elected in 1996 and 2001, before retiring from politics in 2005. During her political career she held many significant portfolios: Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, Minister of Education, Government House Leader, and Leader of the Opposition, among others.

In September 2019, the Governments of Canada and British Columbia appointed Joy as Chair of The Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability. The Expert Panel released their final report – “Opening Doors:Unlocking Housing Supply for Affordability” – in June 2021. The Governor General of Canada appointed Joy to the Order of Canada (CM) on December 29, 2021.

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Mike Magee


Mike Magee is the principal and founder of Convergence Strategies, founded in 2000. In 2019, he co-founded Blue House Investments, an impact investment firm with a focus on emerging low carbon technology start-ups and bringing them to scale. He played a critical role in advancing several large scale infrastructure and land-use initiatives throughout the region that seek to balance economic opportunity and social and environmental responsibility.

In 2008, Mike served as Vancouver Mayor’s Chief of Staff through three successive terms. He was instrumental in crafting and implementing the strategies, partnerships, and agendas that made Vancouver a global leader in sustainability and civic innovation – recognized by the World Economic Forum as the world’s greenest city.

Mike has a longstanding interest in supporting First Nations-driven conservation-based economic development. Before working for the city, Mike played a key role in supporting several northern First Nations in their groundbreaking conservation land-use planning and economic development. As well, Mike now serves on the Board of Directors for the Grizzly Bear Foundation.

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Tiyáltelut Kristen Rivers

Squamish Nation Council

Tiyaltelut Kristen Rivers is a proud Indigenous woman of Squamish descent. She has extensive governance experience with over a decade of experience serving on several governance boards and appointments. In her work, Kristen is committed to reconciliation and advancing social and economic justice. 

Kristen has honed her skills in the areas of strategic leadership and ethical decision-making by serving three years as elected Co-Chair of the Squamish Nation Council – a position equivalent to an elected Chief in other Nations. She was also Deputy Chair of the Nation’s Finance and Audit Committee and an active member of many other Council Committees.

Kristen presently holds positions on the governance boards of the New Relationship Trust and Nch’kay Development Corporation and is an appointed member of the City of Vancouver’s UNDRIP Task Force. She serves the Squamish Nation’s over 4,000 members through her work on Council’s Strategic Priorities and Budgeting Committee. Kristen is in her second consecutive term on the Squamish Nation Council while also pursuing her Master of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University.

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Syexwáliya Ann Whonnock

Squamish Nation Council Member

Syex̱wáliya Ann Whonnock is a Knowledge Carrier & Elder Advisor from Squamish Nation with strong Indigenous worldviews, ancestral knowledge and traditional teachings. She is a Longhouse Elder with cultural and traditional protocols knowledge, and she brings experience and a strong voice to the role. Syex̱wáliya is widely respected and acknowledged for her commitment to providing support within her community and beyond.

Syex̱wáliya returned to Squamish Nation Council in September 2021. She previously served on Council from 1989-2005 and again from 2009-2017 and was a Council Co-Chairperson from 2013-2017. 

Syex̱wáliya strongly believes in developing ways to improve and increase First Nations Economic Development in order for Squamish Nation, and all First Nations, to have Financial resources meet the needs of their citizens now and into the future. She believes that with successful developments and returns there can be investments in education, training, language and culture, and First Nations businesses to have self-sustaining Squamish and First Nation Citizens.

Syex̱wáliya holds a Master’s in Business Administration in Indigenous Business & Leadership from Simon Fraser University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Capilano University.

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Heather Tremain


Heather is a city builder with a passion for social purpose real estate and sustainable development. She is a champion of affordable home ownership and has helped achieve change to both public policy and funding in support of this segment of the housing spectrum. 

Heather is the CEO of Options for Homes, an organization that uses an innovative financial model to help low and moderate income families become homeowners.  Under Heather’s leadership, Options has become Canada’s largest developer of affordable ownership housing and has grown its development pipeline to $1 billion.

Before joining Options, Heather founded and led Urban Fabric Group, a strategic real estate and development consultancy to non-profits. She is also the co-founder and CEO of reSource Rethinking Building, a Vancouver-based green building consulting and development company .

Heather has a Masters’ degree in Architecture from the University of British Columbia and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from McMaster University. From 2008-2009, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a Visiting Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

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Mindy Wight

Chief Executive Officer

Before joining Nch’ḵay̓, Mindy was a partner and National Leader of Indigenous Tax Services for MNP LLP. She has over fifteen years of experience in the areas of financial accounting, taxation, and business, having worked for two of the Big Four national accounting firms – the Chartered Accounting School of Business and the Canada Revenue Agency. Mindy graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting. As well, Mindy holds a diploma in accounting and finance from the College of New Caledonia and a certificate from Harvard University’s executive education program Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities.

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Gary Muuren

Executive Vice President Operations & Human Resources

Gary is a Chartered Professional in HR, bringing over twenty years of experience in all facets of Human Resources Management. He began his career in the rail industry where he facilitated organization design and development, change management and leadership, and executive training. Gary was head of the Kal Tire Human Resources division before joining Baptist Housing as Vice President, HR integrating a major acquisition. He later joined Paper Excellence and JJM Construction as head of HR. Gary also chaired several CPHR BC and Yukon round tables and committees before joining Nch’kay. He received a Bachelor in Industry Psychology and an Honors Degree in HR Development from the University of Johannesburg. He also has an MBA from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.