When it comes to organizational structure, it’s common for a business to have the usual Chief Officer roles: Executive (CEO), Financial (CFO) and Operations (COO). These days, you’re also likely to have a Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Growth Officer.
Given the importance of Economic Reconciliation in Canada with our Indigenous Peoples and to support economic development opportunities in the Saskatoon Region, SREDA has appointed a Chief Economic Reconciliation Officer (CERO), Mr. Milton Tootoosis. This is a promotion from Milt’s role as Director of Indigenous Economic Development since he joined SREDA in September 2021.
The case for a CERO is strong, particularly in Saskatchewan, and especially when you consider how reconciliation will create new business opportunities. In 2021, the Indigenous population made up approximately 16% of Saskatchewan’s 1.18M people, and that number is expected significantly over the next decade. Businesses that want to increase their customer base must be prepared to develop an economic reconciliation strategy.
TRC Call to Action 92 calls for Aboriginal peoples to have equitable access to jobs, training and education opportunities in the corporate sector. Those companies that see the competitive advantage of responding to this call to action will be well served by a CERO that can drive Indigenous engagement strategies across the organization.
In the words of Dawn Madahbee Leach, “Full reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples will not happen without economic reconciliation. It is not only the fair and right thing to do, but there is a strong and compelling business case.” A CERO will help organizations take advantage of this business case. And after all, isn’t seizing opportunities what business is all about?
SREDA is one of the first (if not the first… special prize for anyone who can confirm this!) organizations to appoint a Chief Economic Reconciliation Officer. Milt’s leadership and knowledge have been a game-changer for SREDA. As our CERO, he has brought an Indigenous business lens to all areas of our work. This is helping SREDA grow. If you’d like to learn more about Milt’s role and how this is driving growth for SREDA, we’re both open for lunch any day of the week.
For me, as a leader and CEO in today’s business world in Saskatchewan, it’s clear that having a CERO as part of our leadership team is a competitive advantage. I encourage you all to consider how this type of role can support your organization’s growth as well.
That’s what’s on my mind; let me know your thoughts.