Carry the Kettle First Nation
Vice President of Corporate Affairs with SIGA
For over fifteen years, Charles Ryder has demonstrated tremendous leadership and vision throughout his career with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA). From his inaugural role in 1997 as a pit supervisor with Northern Lights Casino, to his role as live games manager at the Painted Hand Casino (2001-2005), and to his current title as director of casino operations, he has been an asset to SIGA and a force of inspiration and growth for the staff and volunteers around him.
“Charles is a leader who is goal orientated, and he challenges any team he works with to reach their maximum potential,” said Pat Cook, Vice Preside of Corporate Affairs with SIGA. “He leads with a 'hands on' approach that supports his team to meet their goals.”
Charles’ accomplishments with SIGA are many. Most recently, he led as project manager for SIGA's Bally Casino Management System (CMS) Project, a $15 million dollar conversion project that affected all of SIGA's 1830 machines and required collaboration between multiple organizations, internal developments, and casinos.
“Like any major initiative there were a few bumps in the road, but Charles and his team were able to successfully navigate the various intricacies of the project which ultimately led to a successful completion of the conversion. Bally’s project group have indicated that this was the smoothest implementation they have ever undertaken and this can be credited on our part to the team with Charles as their leader,” said Pat.
With numerous expansions, gaming events, and initiatives under his belt, Charles has been vital to SIGA growth, a role model for SIGA staff, and an ideal candidate for this First Nations gaming honour.
Tsuu T'ina Nation
Director of Dit'onik'odza Charities, Grey Eagle Casino
Since 2010, Tammy Whitney has led Grey Eagle Casino's Dit'onik'odza Charities, encouraging growth, innovation, and positive changes every step along the way. In the past years she has helped carve a successful path for the new organization, as well as taken a hands-on approach in developing her team's skills, and the talents of those around her.
Her many leadership successes include co-leading the 4 x 4 Leadership model, an initiative supporting the employment of First Nations with disability; developing her department's Shining Star Program, being appointed to the Child and Family Services Board in Calgary by Alberta Minister Yvonne Fritz, working with the Aboriginal Business and Professional Women network, and implementing numerous educational programs, workshops, and one-on-one mentoring.
“Tammy is all about relationship building, and she fully understands the importance of developing strong working relationships where open communication and freely expressing one's opinion is encouraged and appreciated,” says Carrie Manitopyes, Human Resources Manager, at Grey Eagle Casino.
Her passion for training and leadership also extends to community work, as it won her the 2007 Role Model of the Year award in recognition for her contributions to the well being of the community and inspiration to others.
“Tammy is an asset to the Grey Eagle Casino, to the Tsuu T'ina Nation, and to the gaming industry. She exemplifies the qualities of a leader in her day to day dealings with staff and external stakeholders, and she is passionate about seeing more Tsuu T'ina Nation members at the management level at Dit'onik'odza and at the Grey Eagle Casino,” adds Carrie Manitopyes.
Ojibwa – Hiawatha First Nation
Security Shift Manager, Great Blue Heron Casino
A respected community leader and a dedicated member of the Great Blue Heron Casino team, Lorne Paudash leaves a positive impression on everyone he encounters. Since 1999, he has gone over and above his duties as Security Shift Manager to lend a hand with numerous casino events and provide training and mentorship for fellow employees.
Lorne's community work is equally impressive. It includes two terms as an elected councillor with the Hiawatha First Nation Council and over a decade of volunteering as a medical responder for local Pow Wows. In addition, Lorne is an active member of his community's Fire Fighters team, volunteer chaperon for community schools and youth groups and, most recently, he served as a trainer for an aboriginal hockey team that went on to complete in nearby tournaments.
Reflecting on his work within the casino and his community, Lorne says one of his proudest accomplishments was helping to arrange for the construction of a Fire Hall in his First Nation, which is scheduled to open in October 2013.
Overall, he adds, “Due to the nature of a small community, you get to know everyone, and often you form a relationship of sorts with those you are there to help.”
Speaking to Lorne's influence on both his community and the Great Blue Heron Casino, Reg Legarde, Security Manager with Great Blue Heron Casino, says, “Lorne is a well-deserving winner of the First Nations Canadian Community Service Award as he has consistently placed the well-being and success of his community at Hiawatha First Nation as a priority.”