Wasaya – In a Business Way Forward to Success

MaryEllen Thomas, Acting CEO Wasaya Group Inc.
MaryEllen Thomas, Acting CEO Wasaya Group Inc.

MaryEllen Thomas, Acting CEO Wasaya Group Inc.
MaryEllen Thomas, Acting CEO Wasaya Group Inc.

Wasaya Group Inc. Moving Forward in a Business Way

Wasaya Group

THUNDER BAY – Special to NNL – Established in 1989, the name “Wasaya” comes from the Oji-Cree language, which means “it is bright” in English, in reference to the brightness of the rising Sun. The sun logo of “bright morning sun rising in the horizon symbolize the dawn of a new day, a new beginning-new opportunities”, it represents rising up to new opportunities and importance of partnerships and relationship to make progress toward long term economic sustainability.   

It was made perfectly clear that in order to be successful we have to run our operations with strong leadership, team work, accountability, responsibility, transparency, respect, integrity, make sound business practices and involve the community.

These are the key components in Wasaya Group to deliver goods and services to our customers in exceptional way. 

[sws_pullquote_right]It was made perfectly clear that in order to be successful we have to run our operations with strong leadership, team work, accountability, responsibility, transparency, respect, integrity, make sound business practices and involve the community. [/sws_pullquote_right] The company has grown over the years, expanding our operations, and building toward a company with a solid focus on the future. 

That future has held a very bright light toward ensuring that the youth and people in the Wasaya communities have a better future. 

A foundation of the future is based on integrity and a guiding principle, and First Nation values to never to put individual interest in ahead on the company and people. 

If one doesn’t practice the responsibility of being a provider, or be a capable leader, he or she is asked to leave the company. 

One is expect to lead to path of success, to lead by example, rather than by command. 

Success forged with Strategic Partnerships and Respect

New potential pilots and air crew at Wasaya Aviation Camp a partnership with Confederation College
New potential pilots and air crew at Wasaya Aviation Camp a partnership with Confederation College

Wasaya Group has built strategic partnerships. The company has, under the leadership of Wasaya Group and the Board moved in some very important, and very long-term and innovative direction. In our guiding principles, Wasaya Group’s foresight and vision is to carry out and benefit from the business and economic development in our region. It is the direction Wasaya Group continues to strive to be part of the on-going developments in the region. 

The work of Executive management at Wasaya Group to partner in a first public / private partnership with the City of Thunder Bay and Youth Centres Thunder Bay to put a pilot project in place for a Youth Centre is one of those innovative directions. 

Wasaya Group Inc.
Drummers at the Wasaya Group Inc/City of Thunder Bay/Confederation College announcement of the DFC Student Living Centre

So too is another partnership with Confederation College and Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School and the Northern Education Authority to develop the Youth Living Centre at Confederation College. 

[sws_pullquote_left]The company, owned by First Nations, listened to the families in those communities, and to the worries of parents and elders. The families worry about their youth attending school far from home, and the problems that have developed. [/sws_pullquote_left] It may seem unusual for a business to be looking to put in place Youth Centres, and places for youth to live while they are going to school. 

In Wasaya Group’s case, it honestly is seen as good business. 

It just make good business sense to get into the business of educating and training First Nation youth. 

The company, owned by First Nations, listened to the families in those communities, and to the worries of parents and elders. The families worry about their youth attending school far from home, and the problems that have developed. 

Safety is foremost and a very strong statement has been made, that we don’t want to see another student to go home in casket. 

We envisioned the student/youth to have the opportunity to reach their full potential and graduate. Ensuring that the youth have safe places to learn, grown and achieve their full potential is simply doing things in a business way. 

As Acting CEO at Wasaya Group, the issue is simple. 

The company in order to fully reach its potential will need a solid base of youth who are able to work for the company, and priorities to turn the core businesses around to meet profitability, transparency, accountability and deliver a sound customer service from our businesses.

Wasaya Airways
Wayasa Airways aircraft provide a vital connection to remote northern communities

  Moving forward, Wasaya Group will face challenges. 

The company needs the ability to work while respecting traditional Aboriginal values, and it must fit within the requirements of the non-Aboriginal community. 

Wasaya Group must do business in the First Nation way while complying to the corporate and business world. 

Some of those challenges in moving forward are in ensuring that the company is on a solid financial footing and to be proactive to solidify priorities. 

Other challenges are in ensuring that the leadership in Wasaya Group are serving as the kinds of role models that Aboriginal youth can, and should aspire to becoming as they make their way in life. 

Those challenges are coming 

Wasaya-Dowland-Oct-Announcement
Former CEO Tom Kam

Former CEO Tom Kam and now as Acting CEO our team with the Board have been working to put the company and its entire leadership team on a path to achieve the company’s goals. 

Some in the company do not seem willing to aspire to the goals of the company, and some have put their personal interests and ambitions ahead of the company, ahead of the youth whose future the company is seeking to guard and nurture, ahead of the customers and employees.  

The customers, employees our front line workers and community involvement are the key to the success of the business. It is the customers that bring the revenues and they should be treated with respect and be accommodating to their needs, make it a priority. 

I want to assure the member owners, and the families that Wasaya Group serves that the company is going, under our leadership, to do all of the needed steps to make sure that all of the Wasaya businesses  are being run with the best interests of the communities, the youth, customers and the company as the heart of their operations. 

Making needed changes to position the company for success are likely to create some areas where confusion, miscommunications, rumor may circulate. Some people have mislead leaders and traditional leaders to put their interest first and to attempt to cover up the allegations and mismanagement. 

These are not the values of Wasaya Group and this not what Wasaya Group and the Board stand for, it stands for straightforwardness, integrity, be accountable and make sound business decisions. 

Our leadership in the Executive and the Board has made it very clear to keep all of the Wasaya family informed and moving forward in a proper business way, and headed to being the bright light of the rising sun that the company is named for, mindful of the community involvement.

The community members of each Wasaya Shareholder community are the true owners of Wasaya, the Chiefs are place with authority to look after their interests and the Board of Wasaya Group are entrusted with the authority to oversee the business activities and make business decisions. It’s doing business, our way. 

MaryEllen Thomas

Acting CEO

Cell: 807-620-4533


Wasaya Group Inc. Launch of Youth Centres Thunder Bay Nov. 1 2012 by netnewsledger

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