Shay-ann Scott-Jolicoeur

Walking in Two Words, Living in Two Communities: Shay-Ann Scott-Jolicoeur Strives for Business Success

She splits her time between the Métis settlement of St. Laurent, Manitoba and Winnipeg, but she is singularly focused on becoming successful in business. Shay-Ann Scott-Jolicoeur grew up in a Métis community and started to play the fiddle at the age of five. She feels fortunate to have been raised knowing her roots and culture and to be able to participate in it. She learned at a young age how to garden, work the land, fish and gather berries. The majority of people in her home community are related and she feels a strong connection to the land and the people. 

Winnipeg is where Scott-Jolicoeur went to school, in the North end of the city. As a light-skinned Indigenous person, Scott-Jolicoeur bore the brunt of jokes about her witness among her Indigenous friends and non-Indigenous people assumed she was First Nations and made a lot of assumptions about what her life was like. School was something that she enjoyed but connecting with people had some challenges. 

Walking in two worlds and carrying trauma, she was grateful to find people who could accept her for her identity. “Once I decided that, ‘Hey, I am not going to fit into these other boxes, these other categories, just because of what other people think I should do, everything just got a lot better,” Scott-Jolicoeur recalls. 

Her identity as a Metis person has influenced the work and projects she does today and the way she shows up in the world. Her last couple of positions related to Indigenous culture. Scott-Jolicoeur tries to be active within the Indigenous community as a whole, attending rallies and events. As she pursues an education in business and works in business organizations, she aspires to be an Indigenous female role model in the business community. Increasingly she’s seeing more Indigenous female entrepreneurs and more Indigenous people in business, but not so much in corporate roles in large companies. That’s something she hopes to change and she hopes to change the institutions in the process.  

“For those young Indigenous girls who are 14 or 15 years old, trying to figure out what they want to do, I want them to know that their options are not limited and that they are able to be in positions like that.”

A student at the Astor School of Business in Winnipeg, Scott-Joliceur is in the Indigenous Business Education Partners program. The program combines Indigenous beliefs, practices and cultural aspects in the business community. There are networking events where students can meet recruiters from large corporations, opening doors for the future and giving more information to make future employment decisions. The program’s talented Indigenous staff connect with the students and it’s a community she loves being part of.  

High school was where she took her first business course and she was excited by what she learned about marketing and creating businesses. Scott-Jolicoeur and her Indigenous friends started producing things by hand and the experience got her thinking about going into business, knowing she had some of the skills to get a company off the ground. She realized she hadn’t seen anyone of her background pursuing business and she wondered why that was. 

“If I haven't seen anybody of my background do it before, then I have to do it. Because there's got to be someone else out there who is thinking the exact same things that I'm thinking but isn't going to do it. So let's do it. Let's go,” Scott-Jolicoeur thought to herself. 

On a typical day, she gets up at midday, goes to afternoon and early evening classes and then works. 

She’s working at the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce as one of the events coordinators. Planning events, picking venues, arranging food, coordinating entertainment, and setting up sponsorship and vendor packages, Scott-Joliceur brings occasions to life. Her big career goal is to work as the marketing VP for TrueNorth Sports and Entertainment. Before she gets there, she needs to finish her university program. 

Her advice for a high school student who's thinking of going into business is to research their options. She recommends the program she’s in but suggests looking at other institutions. Scott-Jolicoeur didn’t give much consideration to trades-based institutions and part of her wishes she had. “if you are thinking of going into business, I definitely encourage it. I think that is something that is very fulfilling once you find your stream. Don't be afraid to look at other institutions and ask questions of their recruiters and to really get more information before you jump headfirst,” she suggests. 

Another institution she recommends is the University of Alberta, a school she believes to be supportive of Indigenous students and delivers great Indigenous programming. Scott-Jolicoeur loves the campus and the sense of community there. A couple of years ago she toured the campus and met some of the Indigenous faculty and was very impressed.  

In closing, Scott-Jolicoeur shares some more advice. “Don't do something just because someone else tells you you should do it. I think that if I hadn't kind of gone my own way, I wouldn't have gone into business. There were definitely quite a few conversations had behind the scenes with some family members that didn't want me to go into business and I couldn't see myself in anything else as of right now. Just because other people are expecting something of you or pushing you to do something, if it's not what you want to do, don't do it,” she recommends. 

Business is what she wants to do and that’s why while she splits her time between the Métis settlement of St. Laurent, Manitoba and Winnipeg, Shay-Ann Scott-Jolicoeur is singularly focused on becoming a successful Métis businesswoman. Going to school and planning events, she’s making her way along the path toward her dream job, grounded in her culture and sure of where she’s headed.  

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
  • Province/Territory
  • Date
    November 29, 2023
  • Post Secondary Institutions
    No PSI found.
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