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Design, Implementation and Analysis
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1. What's your name and title?

Jennifer David, Senior Consultant and President.

2. With NVision since...?

First joined in 2001 (16 years ago!), when I started as a sub-contractor, then part owner, then part-time manager of ARDOS (which was re-named Stonecircle), then full-time manager, now senior consultant and President. That's a lot of hats!

3. What NVision project or outcome are you most proud of having been part of?

A study for Health Canada examining the impact of the language and culture component of the Aboriginal Head start on Reserve Program about 8 years ago. I’d say we really ‘pushed the envelope’ on that one. We recommended an authentic, respectful way of gathering information at the First Nation level by recruiting and contracting and mentoring First Nation consultants; we explained to the federal government about the importance of OCAP and community research protocols; we got an extension on the project timelines after explaining how important it is to give communities enough time to participate; we shared all information that communities wanted for themselves; and we were invited to speak to other managers at Health Canada (First Nations and Inuit Health Branch) about our methodology and process. We also presented the findings and recommendations in a holistic way. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many of our recommendations were implemented, but it was important work.

4. Your secret obsession (music, author, movie, food?)

Eating dill pickle potato chips while watching The Princess Bride.

5. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited?

San Juan, Puerto Rico. What a fascinating history! I hadn't realized what a pivotal role this tiny island played in the politics of the region due to its strategic location.

6. What do you enjoy most about working with the NVision team?

Always being challenged by people smarter than me; working together to come up with innovative and respectful ways of working with First Nations. And knowing that we are playing our small part to make the world a better place. We really do try to live up to the commitment of our vision statement to “empower Indigenous communities.”

7. What’s the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

The Secret River by Kate Grenville. My book club choice of the month. Historical fiction about an Englishman named William Thornhill who is deported to the New South Wales colony in Australia in the 18th century. It is a colonial story and depicts William trying to make a life in this new world, which means displacing the Indigenous people who were already there.

There was a lot of brutality in the book, but this is how Aboriginal people were treated (with parallels to the history in the U.S. and Canada). The author gives her character a sense of conflicting morality; he has a growing love for the land but knows that for him to occupy that space, the Aborigines get forcefully pushed aside. I think this is the kind of book that should be compulsory reading for all Australians. Like in Canada, with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we really cannot have reconciliation until we have truth; and historical truth is often ugly.

8. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

This is hard to pick one. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to fly. But a close second would be the ability to teleport. And during the month of March, like Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, I'd like to manipulate time so I could basically be in two places at once. (March is the busiest time of year for consultants so that might enable me to get everything done!)

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad: "Look for and be happy with the little things in life; you’ll have a lot of those. Don’t let your happiness depend on the big things, or another person. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable."

10. If you could host a dinner party and invite any three people (living or dead), who would they be and why?

Dr. Seuss, J.R.R. Tolkien and my great-great-great grandparents. The first two were creative geniuses and I’d love to chat about what inspired them (Did you know that Dr. Seuss was into taxidermy? How strange. I’d ask him about that). And I have an ancestor who came to Canada from Scotland to work for the Hudson's Bay Company and he married a Cree woman. I'd love to meet them and talk to them! And I’m going to go against the rules and invite one more person; Gordon Ramsay. Of course, he'd only be there to cook the actual dinner itself. 🙂
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