Leadership in Aboriginal Finance and Management Recognized at 10th Annual
AFOA National Conference

OTTAWA, March 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada is pleased to announce the 2010 recipients of the AFOA/Xerox Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership awards at 10th Anniversary Annual AFOA national conference at the Westin Hotel.

The recipients for the 7th year of the award are Deanna Hamilton, President and Chief Executive Officer, First Nation Finance Authority located in Westbank First Nation in British Colombia and Lynn Anne Knockwood, Director of Common Services, Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq in Truro Nova, Scotia.

Lynn Anne Knockwood receives the AFOA/Xerox Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award - community/regional category - for her many years of dedication and leadership in finance.

A no-nonsense senior manager, Lynn Knockwood has earned the admiration and respect of staff and colleagues since she was appointed to the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'Kmaq (CMM) Senior Management Team in 2005. With more than 22 years experience in finance, she began her career at the CMM as a finance clerk in 1992. Above and beyond her responsibilities to ensure the highest standard of financial management at the CMM, Lynn has demonstrated her leadership and compassion to assist First Nation communities to develop capacity and take responsibility for their finance policy, reporting and audit preparation. She leads by example and has set high expectations for her staff and herself. Lynn, a Mi'kmaq from Shubenacadie, is selfless with her time and has mentored several communities and numerous staff along the way.

The CMM is a Tribal Council based in Truro, Nova Scotia, that provides programs and advisory services to 6 Mi'kmaw Communities in the province. The organization manages an annual budget of $ 10.0M and employs over 60 professional staff.

The national category award is presented to Deanna Hamilton for her commitment and perseverance in leading financial and economic benefits which spans community, regional and national achievements over the two decades.

With 40 years of business experience behind her, Deanna is the quintessential trailblazer in Aboriginal finance and bond markets. A member of the Westbank First Nation, she is responsible for the development and leadership of the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) from 1992 through to its unique federal statutory authority in 2005. Concerned with the level of difficulty for First Nation communities to get low interest 20-year loans to cover the cost for basic infrastructure is the impetus for the creation of the FNFA. The FNFA mandate is to improve access to capital by pooling borrowing through greater cooperation among First Nation communities thereby creating advantages of size and diversifying risk and revenue streams. Through this approach the cost of borrowing is significantly reduced making capital affordable to all First Nations including the smallest.

Through her passion and commitment, Deanna forged ahead with colleagues at the Indian Taxation Advisory Board (First Nation Tax Commission), First Nation Financial Management Board and the First Nation Statistical Institute to secure legislation to establish a new fiscal relationship with Canada - First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act.

Beyond her role as President/CEO of FNFA, Deanna serves on other boards including the British Columbia Assessment Authority, All Nations Trust and several community and regional development committees. Prior to FNFA she served her community as Surveyor of Taxes and founded the First Nations Tax Administrators Association.

"Presented in partnership with one of Canada's leading technology companies, Xerox Canada, these annual awards help us to recognize and celebrate leadership in Aboriginal finance and management." States Ernie Daniels, AFOA President and Chief Operating Officer. "Without these awards many accomplishments would go unnoticed"

Xerox Canada and AFOA have partnered on the award for the past 7 years in order to raise awareness and to recognize the often "over-looked" side of a very vibrant, dedicated and emerging professional community.

About the Award

The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) of Canada and Xerox Canada are dedicated to helping Aboriginal professionals reach the highest standard of excellence in financial management. This is one example of that commitment.

The Excellence in Leadership Award was created in 2004. It is designed to recognize and celebrate Inuit, Métis and First Nation achievement in financial management. Winners have supported a vision for excellence and innovation, and demonstrated advanced expertise, outstanding professionalism and leadership. Their contributions have led to the betterment of Canadian Aboriginal communities and people.

There are two categories for nominations for the AFOA-Xerox Excellence in Leadership Award. The National category recognizes individuals who have contributed to the Aboriginal financial management profession on a national or institutional level. The Regional category recognizes those individuals who have made their contributions at the regional, local or community level.

SOURCE Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada

For further information: For further information: AFOA Canada - Suzanne Seebach, sseebach@afoa.ca, www.afoa.ca, (613) 722-5543; Xerox Canada - Thomas R. Maracle, Tom.maracle@xerox.com, (613) 783-5913

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Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada

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