Health and Wellness
Pamela Wilson, an entrepreneur born and raised in Bella Bella, BC, owns and operates her own consulting business. She is currently working to expand to provide custom designed programs focusing on health and wellness needs for First Nations communities. Pamela is a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, and her business, Tagila Consulting name comes from a Heiltsuk Value that means, “to provide advice and encouragement when and where appropriate.” For the last 10 years, Pamela has shared her passion by assisting First Nations with various initiatives related to governance, health, program evaluation and design. Pamela is now looking to refocus her energies in the area of custom designed programs that meet the unique health and wellness needs for First Nations Communities.
Though Pamela was born and raised in Bella Bella, BC, she “decided at a very young age to go away for school.” Pamela notes that education was very important to her family, so she chose to move to Victoria, BC at the age of fourteen, and did room and board there where she graduated from high school. After completing high school, Pamela stayed in Victoria, where she completed a degree in psychology, at Camosun College, specializing in addictions.
In the first 10 years of Pamela’s journey of consulting she describes that eventually, “the demand for services and for the work fell into the area of technical support around governance for Tribal councils and leadership – things like strategic planning, program evaluation and development.” Pamela enjoyed working on these projects with the community; however, “things like that are on more of the administrative side and [she] slowly moved away from the people aspect that [she] really wanted to do.”
Pamela describes that she is “very passionate about First Nations rights and all of the different political aspects that First Nations continue to face and are challenged with in progressing.” Pamela’s passion led her to spot an opportunity to support health initiatives in her community after BC Chiefs voted to take control of federally delivered First Nations health programs in 2011. This vote resulted in the hope of increased decision making authority, increased control of the health budget, and an increased desire to improve health programs for First Nations Communities. With a wealth of experience in psychology, mentoring and community development, Pamela decided to pursue the ACE Program to build on her business knowledge and use her expertise to further support First Nations communities.
Pamela notes that she pursued the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program so she could focus on “the area of health and wellness in particular,” as she aims to “support First Nations communities by assisting them and developing custom designed health and wellness programs that lead to healing for the community.” Through Tagila Consulting’s refocus on health and wellness, Pamela hopes to improve the quality of life of the community members she works with, while supporting revitalizing cultural practices, which she will achieve through sharing her expertise.
Having come to the ACE Program to formally learn business management so she could maximize her services provided by Tagila Consulting, Pamela explains that the program has “been a very positive experience.” Pamela notes that she is “very much a hands-on learner, and [she] work[s] better in an environment where [she is] challenged but also mentored.” Pamela also notes that an attribute of the ACE Program that has stood out to her “is the flexibility as far as the programming itself: Students are able to continue to work part-time as necessary as well as attend school,” which Pamela notes is very important for mature students especially if you have children.
Pamela notes that the greatest positive regarding the ACE Program “has been the mentorship and the support to succeed.” Pamela elaborates that “[t]he expertise that is offered through the various profs from UVic as well as the expertise from Cory Stephens, who is our main facilitator and teacher, has really added strength to…the success of the program.” Learning from the expertise of mentors is key to understanding best practices as an entrepreneur, and Pamela notes that the one-on-one time spent with teachers working on her business concept has been key in the process of “build[ing] on our business concept.” Pamela also thanks Cory Stephens, NW-ACE Program Manager and Learning Enhancement Officer, whose leadership and coaching has been key in “pushing us and encouraging us to go forward and highlight the idea and possibility of our dream and be creative with our concept.”
Going forward, Pamela is showing creativity through her work to refocus Tagila Consulting, as she continues to build her marketing skills and develop her own website in addition to promotional material. Pamela is also working to secure contracts in the area of health and wellness program design for First Nations in BC as she looks to continue to share her expertise and experience with communities.
Pamela shares advice for members of communities as well who are looking to turn their passions into a sustainable business. Pamela describes that her “advice to anyone who has a passion for entrepreneurship or who loves building on great ideas is that this program can add a lot of value, and actually take your ideas and dreams and make them a reality. It’s been an amazing experience that I’m extremely grateful for.”
We at ACE are grateful to have the opportunity to work with Pamela as she continues her great work to support members of the community through her expertise. If you’re interested in connecting with Tagila Consulting or would like to learn more about Pamela’s work in health and wellness program design for communities in BC, send her an email at [email protected] and make sure to watch for Pamela’s new website for Tagila Consulting when it is released!
Pamela Wilson is a graduate of the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program. 202 Aboriginal Entrepreneurs have graduated from the award winning ACE Program, which focuses on bridging Aboriginal culture with the key elements of entrepreneurship and business creation. The ACE program made possible through the collective efforts of our partnering regions, communities, institutions, and faculties.