Building Up Our Communities
Jodee Dick is a member of the Weiwaikum First Nation in Campbell River and has been working in First Nations Lands and Economic Development for over 30 years. She was the Facilitator for Indigenous Services Canada for the Lands Management training program for staff and First Nations across Canada for many years. Jodee has been working with Cowichan Tribes for roughly seven years, first as their Lands Manager and now as the CEO for Khowutzun Development Corporation. She has expertise in Lands, Economic Development, Governance, Taxation and Government, and Industry Negotiations.
Jodee believes that First Nations economic success is measured not only in the direct benefit to the Nation, but also the participation of individual members’ businesses, as well as in KDC partnerships and projects. She feels strongly that empowering members and supporting their businesses is a key goal of the KDC and creating economic stability for Cowichan members is a top priority. Jodee is committed to ensuring that KDC partnerships include meaningful employment and training opportunities, as well as sub-contracts for the Khowutzun Group of Companies. Jodee strongly believes that adopting this model has long-term positive effects for membership and the community as a whole and serves to empower the next generation.
Braeden George is from Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) and Quw’utsun (Cowichan), and serves as KDC’s Communications Coordinator, joining the team in December 2020. He is excited to be joining the KDC in this capacity, having previously fulfilled various roles in administration, sustainable housing and social development. Braeden’s current duties include retrieving, organizing and opening mail, filing, and coordinating meetings. He will also be working closely with Kristopher Alphonse, Finance Administrator, performing a variety of tasks, such as the delivery of community communications and the facilitation of youth outreach events. Braeden is excited about learning new skills and working in a small team environment, researching and documenting information, and sharing knowledge with his community.
Kimberly Sullivan was born and raised in the Quw’utsun Valley. Her father is Cowichan and mother is from Elwha, located in Washington. Kimberly started her journey at Khowutzun Development Corporation in 2013 as a Receptionist. In 2017, she took an absence to finish her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and returned to the Group of Companies in the summer of 2020 as an Intern. Kimberly loves learning, adapting, and growing as an individual, as well as within the KDC organization, and she feels this new role has provided her with these opportunities.
Project & Finance Clerk
Calli Najera is of Quw’utsun heritage and has lived on Vancouver Island for most of her life. Calli has recently joined the team at KDC as a Project and Finance Clerk and feels at home with the inclusivity it has created. She has a passion for learning and is currently a first year University student at VIU, and plans to use her education to invest in her community. She is an advocate for abolishing inequality and is passionate when it comes to the betterment of the community and long-term success of First Nations. Calli is excited for the future of Khowutzun Development Corporation and is grateful to be in a capacity that allows her to work directly with the community and its future generations.
Kristopher Alphonse is a member of the Cowichan Tribes with Stz’uminus and Quw’utsun heritage and acts as Finance Administrator for the Khowutzun Development Corporation. He previously spent two years working as an Administrative clerk for the Cowichan Tribes and is grateful to have begun his journey of working for Indigenous Peoples in this capacity. Kristopher feels that the skills he acquired in this previous role made it possible for him to develop a strong ability to serve his community. He has been active in the Cowichan community for the past five years and believes this engagement brings meaningful fulfillment to his current experience working with the KDC and supporting Cowichan Tribes members. Kristopher is also grateful for the skills he’s developed within his current position with the Khowutzun Development Corporation, which he feels will better equip him to serve his community. He looks forward to being a part of the growth of the KDC in the near future and is happy to share in the momentum the team brings toward bettering us as a united community. Kristopher appreciates the team at KDC, as he feels they’ve taught him a lot about teamwork, positivity, and enlightenment.
Chief Financial Officer
Mark Ashfield is the Chief Financial Officer for Khowutzun Development Corporation and one of the newer additions to the growing Finance team. With over 16 years’ experience in the finance and accounting field, and a military background prior to that, he is both efficiency focused and tech savvy. He has provided accounting, finance, HR and payroll support, and leadership across multiple departments, specializing in creating policies and procedures and accounting system migrations/upgrades. He holds a degree in Accounting, Payroll and Business Administration, and memberships with both the Canadian Institute of Management and Canadian Payroll Association. He is actively pursuing his CPA accounting designation in hopes to further benefit the KDC and its partnerships.
When he’s not balancing the books, he is Founder & Director of a local non-profit organization focused on providing volunteer support to over 50 registered charities and community groups. Having started the group in early 2010, the organization has grown to also include hospital visits, literacy programs with local schools, and a youth mentorship program. Mark is happy to be a part of the KDC family and looks forward to using his accounting experience and love for community involvement to help in any way possible.
Renée Olson, CPM, MBA
Senior Project Manager, Special Projects
Renée Olson, CPM, MBA
Senior Project Manager, Special Projects
Renée is a passionate and results-focused professional with a track record that demonstrates effective planning, strategic execution, and winning results. She loves the construction and land development industries and has a diversity of experience within the corporate and not-for-profit arenas. She has proven success in project management, client relationship management, LEAN delivery, and business development, and is known for her ability to build consensus, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
She is a director with Women in Construction (WiC) Victoria chapter, and it is her passion to engage women and Indigenous Peoples to explore the many opportunities that exist within the construction industry. Previously, she worked for and with, WestUrban Developments, Langham Properties, Clark Builders, Mike Geric Construction, and was a founding member of CREW, Edmonton chapter.
Renée has had the good fortune to work with inspirational people on exceptional projects and shares that it’s the relationships she’s fostered and maintained that she is most proud of. Her natural curiosity for the world that we live and work in and her genuine love of a good story is what drives her. She is deeply committed to working with the KDC team as we strive for the success of the communities we serve, and is honored to be welcomed by the community to participate in meaningful engagement that will bridge opportunity with our future-focused initiatives.
Finance and Project Administrator
Umit Kilic is from Istanbul, Turkey. He came to Canada in grade 11 and graduated from high school in Langley. He then completed his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree at the University of the Fraser Valley where he majored in Finance and minored in Economics. In March 2022, Umit joined the KDC team as a Finance and Project Administrator with his duties primarily revolving around invoice and contract management. Umit will be working closely with Renee Olson, Senior Project Manager, and Mark Ashfield, CFO, to ensure smooth project management. He is extremely excited to be a part of the KDC team and looks forward to learning new skills and growing with the KDC team.
When he is not in the office, Umit loves to watch hockey, as he was on the Turkish National Hockey team before coming to Canada. He also enjoys going on long hikes and being in nature. Coming from Istanbul, a massive metropolitan city, he is grateful to be living on the Island where he’s able to experience amazing nature and mesmerizing landscapes everywhere he goes.
HOW WE PARTNER
The KDC has established important partnerships in the Cowichan Valley that align with our values and support the shared mission of uplifting our communities. With forward-thinking leaders in the forestry, energy, development and cannabis industries, we are proud to partner with each one of the businesses in the Cowichan Group of Companies that make meaningful contributions to our collective goals.