Press Release: March 8 2019 (Fort McMurray)
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Bouchier Group are proud to announce the 1st nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2019-2020
Karla Buffalo spent her childhood summers in the north and came to identify with the boreal forest, the cultural diversity and the rural way of life. As an adult, she made a permanent move and has lived in the north since 1999 and relocated to Fort McMurray in 2001.
“Fort McMurray is a culturally-diverse community,” states Karla. ”It has a rich history of Indigenous Cree, Dene and Metis communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).”
Ms. Buffalo believes that the best advice she has received is that it is important to know your history and culture. It paves the path of your future. She has incorporated this advice in her university studies and career choices. Ms. Buffalo earned a certificate in Indigenous Corporate Relations, Aboriginal Politics in 2002 from Royal Roads University. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts (Native Studies, Political Science) from the University of Alberta in 2000. Karla spent time while in university working towards becoming a future leader with the Indigenous communities in Northern Alberta helping youth become successful with their daily lives and career path.
Ms. Buffalo is a proud member of Fort Chipewyan Dene First Nations. Her passion is serving Indigenous communities. She has positively impacted leadership throughout the RMWB by breaking barriers and developing a career as a CEO. Her past work experience includes Senior Manager of Government relations with Fort MacKay First Nations, as well as working with the Government of Alberta Community Development and with Syncrude Canada in stakeholder relations.
Currently Ms. Buffalo is the CEO of the Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC). She reports to a Board of Directors. Her role includes managing the overall operations and resources of ATC and executing strategic decisions and plans to move the organization forward. She ensures that the work of the ATC meets the needs of staff and communities. One of her most appreciated skills is listening to feedback from members and working hard to serve them. She especially enjoys going into the 5 communities served by the ATC and working directly with members.
Karla recognizes the importance of being a positive role model for women and girls and believes that her work and example will encourage girls to take on important roles to better themselves and their communities. She supports those around her and encourages them to excel. She provides them with the tools they need to succeed. She creates positive change and develops her team of talented and dedicated people.
Karla is a mother of three and describes herself as a “hockey mom.” “I love raising my family in Fort McMurray” says Karla. ”I think that the opportunities it presents to my children are unique.”
In her free time, when she is not in the outlying indigenous communities or at a hockey rink, Karla is a Doula. Doulas provide support to expectant mothers to help them have healthy pregnancies and prepare for a successful labour and delivery. She is now the head Doula in her community and she is mentoring and training others to practice this important vocation. In her role with the NADC, Karla is most interested in working on the development of communities and service delivery. She wants to see improved delivery of gov’t services and higher educational achievement for northern Alberta.
“My hope for the future of Fort McMurray is that it will continue to support its diversity of cultures, and the range of children and family programs.” We need to continue to build the image that Fort McMurray is a family-oriented community that supports diversity, including their indigenous cultures.”
Whether she is busy with her job, her volunteer work or her children, Ms. Buffalo is a strong woman of Inspiration.
Ms. Buffalo and 11 other women will be celebrated at Women of Inspiration Banquet in March 2020.
The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Bouchier Group of Companies, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here. Syncrude Canada is a proud sponsor of the Educational component of the Women of Inspiration.
To nominate a woman of inspiration, please apply here or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.