Board of Directors
Hugh Braker, Chair
Hugh Braker is a member of the Tseshaht First Nation, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC). A lawyer, Hugh provides adjudication services and consulting to a variety of Aboriginal clients. Hugh’s interest in the justice system started when he was a child – at a time when Aboriginal people didn’t have the right to vote. He excelled in law school, moving directly into the thick of it as Director of Self-Government with the Assembly of First Nations. He was the first male Nuu Chah Nulth lawyer in the country and the first BC First Nations lawyer to be made a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.). Hugh worked as staff lawyer for the NTC for almost 10 years litigating and negotiating fishing and hunting rights and Aboriginal child welfare. He opened his own practice in 1989 and has volunteered as president of the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC for 20 years.
Mr. Miles G. Richardson is a citizen of the Haida Nation and Canada. He grew up among his people on Haida Gwaii, attended high school in Prince Rupert, BC, and in 1979 received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Victoria. From 1984 to 1996, he served as President of the Council of Haida Nation.
Mr. Richardson was a member of the British Columbia Claims Task Force, which made recommendations to the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia and First Nations in British Columbia on how the three parties could begin negotiations to build a new relationship and what negotiations should include.
From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Richardson was a member of the First Nations Summit Task Group, an executive body representing First Nations in British Columbia. In October 1995, Mr. Richardson was nominated by the Summit and appointed as a Commissioner to the BC Treaty Commission. He was elected to a second term in April 1997. In November 1998, he was chosen as Chief Commissioner by agreement of Canada, BC and the First Nations Summit for a three-year term and was reappointed in November 2001.
In 2007, Mr. Richardson was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Currently, he operates his own business advisory service and is also the Co-Chair of the IOG Indigenous Advisory Circle.
Wade Grant currently serves as the Intergovernmental Affairs Officer to the Musqueam First Nation, while also serving as a Board Chair for the First Nations Health Council and board member of the Covenant House.
Prior to working for his community, Wade spent 3 years with the BC provincial government as the special advisor on First Nations issues to the premier, where he convened groups to talk with the province about unresolved issues with the BC First Nations.
Previously, Wade has served on the Vancouver Police Board; was an economic development officer; and band council member with the Musqueam Indian Band.
During the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wade was Assistant General Manager of the Four Host Nations Aboriginal Pavilion. He has acted as a policy analyst for the BC Assembly of First Nations and as executive assistant to the Solicitor General of British Columbia. He holds a BA in Political Science from UBC and attended UBC Law School.
In November 2015 and 2013, he was recognized by Vancouver Magazine when they included him on their “Power 50” list. In 2012, Wade received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his service to his community. Wade continues to reside on the Musqueam Indian Reserve with his two children, Eli and Isla.
Mike Mearns is a member of the Klahoose Indian Band located on Cortes Island. He proudly holds a Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager (CAFM) designation through AFOA Canada. Throughout his career, Mike has enjoyed many years working with BC First Nations in the areas of strategic direction, financial management, employment/training, and health.
Working with First Nation communities in BC he found success as an Executive Director for a number of their organizations. These include the BC Aboriginal Training and Employment Society, the Aboriginal Health Association of BC, and the Aboriginal Finance Officers Association of BC.
As a senior executive and member of a number of boards, Mike worked with First Nation leaders to support First Nation governance, economic and social well-being. With community-based decision-making as a foundation, many First Nations in BC now have authority over lands, health, finances, governance, and education.
In all this work, Mike stated that “understanding and honoring First Nation culture was key to developing programs and services for the specific needs of the individual and community. To that end, securing resources from government and the private sector to build our own unique programs was a necessary and rewarding challenge”.
Mike has recently retired from AFOA BC and works now as a consultant to First Nations. He is enjoying life with his wife of 45 years living in Gibsons, BC.
Tanya is an experienced stakeholder engagement and business advisor, board member and community leader. She is a member of the Tsawwassen First Nation (“TFN”) and lives on TFN lands, where she formerly served as an elected Councillor.
Tanya has over 20-years’ experience working with and leading First Nations, businesses, and not-for-profits. Currently, she provides advisory services to connect industry and Indigenous communities to build partnerships leading to economic reconciliation. She was recently recognized for her work as a key liaison between TFN and the City of Delta and was the recipient of the 2021 Tsawwassen Rotary Peace Builder Award.
Tanya is an active member of the community serving as a volunteer on wide range of Boards at the local, provincial, and national levels. She is currently a member of the Delta Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, City of Delta’s Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism, Reach Child and Youth Development Society Advisory Board, and Council Member for the BC Capacity Initiative Council.
She has also served as Vice Chair to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Board of Governors, a Director for the Reach Foundation, World Trade Centre Vancouver Advisory Committee, CCAB Indigenous Export Advisory Council and Delta Hospital and Community Health Foundation.
Tanya is also a member of the Conservative Party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee and ran in the 2019 federal election in the riding of Delta.
Tanya was elected BC Treaty Commission Commissioner by the First Nations Summit for a one-year term beginning in February 2018.
She is a member of Tsawwassen First Nation and has served as an elected Executive Councillor. She worked for the TFN Government for 20 years and has held key roles with the Treaty Team and the Economic Development Corporation.
Tanya studied at the University of Northern BC and holds a Public Relations Associate Certificate from British Columbia Institute of Technology. She resides on TFN lands with husband Matt and her two children, Isabella, and James.
Bio & Photo Coming Soon
Walter Schneider, CEO
Walter is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is in the final stages of earning his MBA at Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business and a diploma in Urban Land Economic from UBC Sauder School of Business – Real Estate Division. Immediately prior to his current role as the Chief Executive Officer, Urban Native Youth Association, Vancouver he was the Executive Operating Officer for the Squamish Nation. He also held senior executive positions with the First Nations Financial Management Board; the First Nations Finance Authority; and Lehman Brothers Japan Inc.
Jessie Williams, Director of Business Development and Communications
Jessie is a member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and of mixed European descent. She takes great pride in being a mother of two remarkable adult children and a grandmother to her new grandson. Having obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership has inspired her meaningful career, which is focused on empowering Indigenous presence, voice, and capacity. Most recently, Jessie served as the Director of Indigenous Relations at Simon Fraser University.
Leaning on the wisdom gained from her lived experience, educational attainment, professional journey, and elder teachings, Jessie has developed a passion for nation-building. She joins NRT as the Director of Business Development and Communications and is committed to collaboration, inclusivity, strategic planning, and innovation.
Marie Alaimo, Director of Operations
Marie Alaimo graduated from the University of Victoria in 2012 with a Major in Psychology. She joined the NRT team in 2018 and her roles have included overseeing the Direct Support Initiative, Scholarship Initiative, Young Entrepreneurship Symposium, NRTF Golf Tournament, and now is the Director of Operations.
Before working at NRT, Marie worked for the BC Government, where she gained an array of skills working in various departments, including Corporate Planning, Communications, Research, and the Health and Finance Ministers’ Offices.
She currently resides in Musqueam with her partner and two children and enjoys utilizing her skills and expertise to support building a strong future for First Nation’s people and communities in B.C.
Lisa Newman, Director of Programs and Services
Lisa Newman (Paull), ancestral name Ts’eláselwet is the new Director of Programs & Services. Lisa is a mother to three amazing children and comes from a long line of Squamish Nation descendants, her late grandparents are Tilly Moody and Edwin Paull and Louie & Jessie Miranda; her late parents are Jolene Joseph-Paull, Louie Miranda John, and Darcy SR Joseph.
Lisa’s professional background is connected to educational programs & services, personal development. Her focus is to support Indigenous capacity building through the delivery of impactful programming and services, which includes true collaboration with stakeholders and partners. With holistic experience in leadership, counseling, administration, and Indigenous capacity building, Lisa has sat on diverse advisory groups focused on Indigenizing programs and wrap-around supports. Lisa feels inspired to uphold BC First Nations in achieving its diverse goals and objectives. Her educational journey includes a Masters of Indigenous Education, Administration, and Leadership from the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Fraser Valley, with a specialization in Chemical Addictions and Counselling.
In her spare time, you will catch her spending time with family, watching lacrosse, and attending ceremony.
Matt Cook-Contois, NRTF Partnerships and Marketing Manager & NRT Program Specialist Senior Associate
Matt Cook-Contois is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation which is located in Northern Manitoba. Matt has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management from the Asper School of Business.
Matt’s primary goal is to improve the lives and outcomes of Indigenous people everywhere to foster in an era of unprecedented health and happiness. He believes that education is an integral key to achieve this goal and dedicates his time to assisting others in reaching their dreams.
Matt will continue to utilize his education and focus to identify new opportunities for Indigenous students, thereby contributing to the continued growth of the New Relationship Trust Foundation.
Lana Plante, Program Specialist Associate
Lana Plante is a proud Nisga’a citizen from Gitlaxt’aamiks and is from the Laxgibuu Tribe, Gitwilnaakil, and hails form the House of Duuk. Her heritage is also of Cree, French and Irish.
Lana has a diploma from the Capilano College, Paralegal/Legal Assistant Program and has been with NRT since inception, serving as primary point of contact for and liaison between management, stakeholders, students, the general public and vendors. Lana took the role of Project Officer in 2008.
Lana manages the BC First Nations Elders grant, Youth grant, Youth Language grant, K-12 Education grant, and the New Relationship Trust Foundation Certificate, Diploma, Associates Degree and Trades Bursaries.
Lana loves working with all the First Nations/Organizations across BC and contributes her experience and proficiency by providing support and helping students on their education journey.
Sarah Powell, Associate - Programs Delivery and Support
Sarah is a member of the Taku River Tlingit First nation in Atlin, BC. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Geography and a minor in Indigenous Studies. Sarah recently completed the 12-month BC Public Service Indigenous Youth Internship Program and joined the NRT team after her placement in the program. Sarah works with BCICEI providing administrative support, as well as working with the Education Initiatives. Previously, Sarah worked as a dispatcher for the BC Wildfire Service. She looks forward to utilizing her education and skills to provide support to First Nations in BC.
Kim Brazil, Director of Finance & Corporate Services, CPA, CGA
Kim is the Financial Officer of New Relationship Trust and is responsible for overseeing all financial related activities. She joined the NRT team in 2010.
Kim has over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held senior financial positions with not-for-profit and First Nations organizations. Her expertise lies in her ability to establish solid internal controls, and continually evaluate/modify the accounting systems to ensure efficiency and accountability.
Kim is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Certified General Accountant (CGA) in 1994.
Cole Sayers, Director of BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI)
Cole Sayers is from the Hupacasath First Nation, one of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Cole studied Political Science and Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria while working for, and with, Indigenous students in creating safe, supportive spaces and services that contributed to student success and well-being. In September 2017, he completed the 12 month Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP) before joining the NRT team as the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiatives (BCICEI) Coordinator. Cole is grateful to have the opportunity work with First Nations in advancing their clean energy projects.
Selina Beltran, BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) Program Specialist Associate
Selina Beltran is from Tsleil-Waututh nation and has recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in Gender Studies. Selina works with Cole Sayers on the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI). Selina is also on the board of directors for two small organizations, the Coastal Research, Education, and Advocacy Network (CREAN) and the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women Of Colour (SNIWWOC). CREAN is a non-profit organization dedicated to community-based research, education, and advocacy. SNIWWOC is a non-profit organization that focuses on reproductive justice and the empowerment of women in Victoria and Vancouver.
Jeffrey Hernandez, Corporate Services Support
Jeffrey is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) residing in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He has experience in many roles working with and for Indigenous communities in BC and is ecstatic to take part in the pivotal areas New Relationship Trust (NRT) supports.
In addition to general administrative tasks, Jeffrey provides active support across all initiatives to ensure smooth progress in the many projects running throughout NRT at any given time. As Jeffrey is a recent addition to the team, he is committed to upholding NRT’s core values of collaboration, inclusivity, strategic planning, and innovation through a uniquely Indigenous lens.
A-in-chut (Shawn Atleo)
Gloria Morgan (Yaw Yawt all Xa Xa7 t’e Boonllp)
Chief Stewart Phillip
George Saddleman (XweeTa?)