Bringing positivity, perspective and leadership to public service

Co-op, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

- Sasha Milam

Green. Photo: Tim Matheson.

Alana Green, BCom ’17, Ch’nook Scholar valedictorian and positive-minded change-maker, takes her role as public servant very much to heart. Green, a member of the Cree community of Duncan’s First Nation in northern Alberta, began the BCom program with previous career experience and currently works for the Canadian Coast Guard.

“In every avenue of government I’ve worked with (municipal, provincial and federal) and in my experiences with First Nations governments, there’s a focus on the well-being of people,” says Green. “The questions often asked are: ‘What can we do to serve people better?’ ‘Is this the best way we can do this for the public?’ I like the focus on improving lives.”

This interest in the public sector pre-existed her studies at UVic's Gustavson School of Business, but like many students, Green was undecided on her future career when she started her degree. “I hadn’t ruled out accounting,” says Green. “But I’d seen public service life modelled by my parents, and my co-op work terms [one of which was with the Coast Guard] helped me learn more about what I enjoy doing. “Ch’nook Scholars was another defining element,” she adds. Open to Indigenous business students at post-secondary institutions in BC and Alberta, the scholarship program develops leadership skills, builds relationships and shares knowledge.

“I enjoyed being with a group of people who understood the challenges of being an Indigenous business student,” she says. “Ch’nook really enhanced my education because it provided a new layer to think about, which is how my education will enable me to serve my Indigenous community better. “I know Indigenous youth, like myself, hold great responsibilities to support our communities and preserve our culture, land, language and heritage. I hope to be someone who can bring people together and create a stronger partnership for a better future for everyone.”

In the Ch’nook program, where she was voted valedictorian of her graduating class, and at Gustavson, Green placed great value on her connections with fellow students.

“It was such an eye-opening opportunity to be studying the same concepts with people who see things so differently from each other. This melting pot of people, partnered with Gustavson’s cohort study system, meant I made valuable, lasting connections with people.”

Much as she values consensus building, however, Green is also not afraid to walk her own path. When she saw that going on an exchange would disrupt her full participation in Ch’nook Scholars, she chose to stay in Canada and says she has no regrets.

“As an Indigenous woman working for the Government of Canada, I can see how my voice and culture, partnered with my education, can help me make a difference. I hope the skills and leadership I developed through Gustavson will help me find an even stronger voice working in public policy.”


In this story

Keywords: convocation, graduation, student life, alumni, commerce, Indigenous, government, co-op

People: Alana Green

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