416-289-5000, Ext. 2280
P.O Box 631 Station A
Toronto, ON, M1K5E9
Dawn Madahbee Leach
Dawn Madahbee Leach
General Manager, Waubetek Business Development Corporation
Dawn Madahbee Leach is a proud member of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario where she has served as a member of her community’s Council. Since 1988, she has been General Manager of the Waubetek Business Development Corporation, an Aboriginal Financial Institution that provides financing and economic services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities throughout North-East Ontario. Waubetek also delivers an Aboriginal business program to Aboriginal people in Southern Ontario and aquaculture services to Indigenous people throughout central Canada. Under her leadership, Waubetek has proudly invested $80 million in 3,600 Aboriginal businesses who experience a business success rate of 94%. A graduate of the University of Waterloo Economic Development Program, Ms. Madahbee Leach also studied at York University and earned a degree in Political Science with a minor in Law from Laurentian University.
Dawn is the first Aboriginal woman in Canada to head up a commercial lending institution. In 2004, Dawn was recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” for economic development in the Northern Ontario Business newspaper. She was also celebrated as one of Laurentian University’s 25 Distinguished Alumni during the university’s twenty-fifth anniversary. She also contributed chapters to two published book compilations: 1) “Changing Lives: Women of Northern Ontario”; and 2) “Governance in Northern Ontario – Economic Development and Policy-Making” by Segsworth and Conteh with her chapter “First Nations Inclusion: A Key Requirement to Building the Northern Ontario Economy”. She is a recipient of the Anishnawbek Nation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the MNP-AFOA Canada Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award in 2017. She was recently recognized as one 2018’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Canada” by the Women’s Executive Network. She has been a speaker at international forums in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UN on Indigenous economic development.
Dawn currently serves on various Boards and committees including the National Indigenous Economic Development Board where she serves as Vice-Chair. She also serves on the Boards of the Peace Hills Trust Company; the Northern Policy Institute (a northern Ontario think tank) and NioBay Minerals Inc. She is a former Chairperson of the Northern Ontario Development Corporation, and former Board Member of the Ontario Development Corporation, Innovations Ontario and the North-East Local Health Integrated Network. Dawn is the owner of Indigenous Business International, a company that provides assistance to Indigenous peoples on sector strategies and corporate partnerships.
Sharing her knowledge on the Aboriginal economy, she was instrumental in the development of the National Aboriginal Economic Benchmark Report (2012) and the follow-up National Aboriginal Economic Progress Reports 2015 and the upcoming 2018 report. She also co-chaired the development of the “Anishnawbek Nation Economic Blueprint” which is used today by several First Nations in Ontario. She also guided the establishment of the internationally renowned “Great Spirit Circle Trail” Aboriginal tourism organization based on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario.
She believes strongly that economic development, and following the Anishinabek traditional values, are the keys to addressing the challenges that her people face. She is a northern style traditional dancer on the powwow circuit. Dawn is happily married to the National Hockey League legend Reggie Leach and is the proud mother of Crystal Madahbee. Dawn is also deeply honoured to be a Nokomis to 1 granddaughter and 3 grandsons.