“As Director of Partnerships with Vancouver Foundation for 14 years I have been deeply immersed in supporting communities across British Columbia. As the largest Community Foundation in Canada, we are deeply committed to healthy and vibrant communities. In British Columbia we have been proud to support our more than 48 Community Foundation partners by establishing a network to encourage learning, sharing and collaboration. In 2020, Vancouver Foundation began to explore how we could share our power and deepen our own understanding of how we can better work and support our Community Foundation partners across the province by providing grants for collaborative projects with indigenous individuals and organizations. I was apprehensive about stepping into this work given my lack of experience, knowledge, and confidence to create a strategy and path forward. It was at this time that based on a recommendation from a member of our Board, I contacted Carden Consulting and met Laara and Mark. Through their leadership and support we have embarked on a one-year learning journey.
I can’t imagine a more skilled team than Laara and Mark as I tried to find ways of “doing the right thing”. I was often uncomfortable stepping into community spaces, worried I would do and say the wrong thing. Through our initial conversations, Laara and Mark quickly made me feel comfortable and helped my team move to new understandings and build our own capacity to step into this work. With a lot of competing projects and timelines on my agenda, I was especially grateful for the investment of thorough groundwork by Laara and Mark to ensure that the strategic orientation of our work would be impactful and sustainable. We created a “Right Relations” focus to our work, and we have been superbly guided in our learnings. At the same time, Laara and Mark also demonstrated their capacity to lead complex meetings and trainings which included high technical competence and oversight. This meant that I never had to worry about technology at workshops, consultations, or meetings.
I have found Laara and Mark to be professional, results oriented, organized, and outstanding communicators. They demonstrated a consistent level of commitment to detail which meant that I could fully lean into the work. They are patient, kind and go beyond the required or expected. As our work has unfolded this past year, I have noticed that our team has gained confidence, competence, and curiosity to continue on this path. I feel grateful for the leadership, professionalism, and humanity that Laara and Mark have brought to our work. I would highly recommend Carden Consulting if you are considering strengthening your leadership, examining governance, organizational and community development as well as research. You will be in skilled hands.”
– Lidia Kemeny, Director, Partnerships, Granting and Community Initiatives, Vancouver Foundation
“As the Director of Operations for a First Nation, there is more information and knowledge to attain than most individuals would likely prefer – but that is the nature of Government!
Given the complexities of running an efficient and balanced administration, there are many chances to succeed, but many to fail. There are projects, subject matters, tasks and initiatives that require learning, consultation, and therefore – potentially adding more complexities and issues to our operations as an organization…
For lack of a better way of putting it – Carden has blessed us with their guidance only within the past few years. We’ve come to face unpredictable issues, as well as identify gaps in the way we govern – Carden came through and took the fear out of what seemed impossible in accomplishing insurmountable feats that were required to further our own progress and achieve the desirable goal of being our own self-sustaining community.
Their advisement and teachings are not only educational – they inspire! They take relevant issues or goals that are close to our Nation’s heart and help formulate a thorough understanding of how to approach, and then subsequently accomplish these worthwhile endeavours.
In times of desperate need, they have offered valuable insight and help to us. I have learned so much from Laara and Mark and I look forward to the future knowing that our Nation was guided with care, love and respect, and am forever grateful.”
– Deborah Martelluzzi, Director of Operations, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation
Mark, Laara, Justin and Florence did an incredible job putting together a workshop for staff at our organization to help us learn about the history and culture of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People and territory, on which the corporation offices reside, about what we can all do as individuals to advance principles of reconciliation. Feedback from staff was overwhelming positive, and many staff have asked for more learning opportunities with the team. Florence is a natural storyteller, and hearing her lived experience and stories woven throughout really helped staff understand the importance of the connection the Lək̓ʷəŋən People have to the land. The session had just the right amount of information in the time that we had, and was professionally facilitated by Mark and Laara. I highly recommend Carden Consulting and Florence if you are considering a learning session for your organization.
– Brianne Cawsey, Human Resources Program Manager at BC Pension Corporation
“At Leq’á:mel we are very fortunate to have Laara advising us through some very important processes. As we work towards defining what our future looks like we have developed our Governance Policies, Notice of Assertion, and begun the work on our Constitution which will help to define our Sovereignty. With the commitment to this work by our leaders, Elders and family advisory, which was guided by our vision, our Strategic Plan came to fruition. Laara was able to draw out even more of those teachings, knowledge and aspirations that will help us to transform and transition our community into that strong and Sovereign Nation. We are confident that if we continue on this path all of this hard work will serve to strengthen and empower our community, families and individuals. With her excellent facilitation skills, it made our work easier.”– Chief Alice Thompson, Leq’á:mel First Nation.
“Our organization began working with Laara Yaghujaanas of Carden Consulting in 2009. Laara has a unique ability to condense seemingly complex issues into a simplified plan. We have worked with Laara at the Tsilhqotin National Government (TNG) on separate occasions for focused sessions on strategic planning and larger Nation strategic planning and continue to call on her services. We are grateful to work with a First Nation organization when doing this level of work. Our interests are in good hands.”– Crystal Verhaeghe, Executive Director, Tsilhqotin National Government
“At the 15th Annual Aboriginal Land Resource Management Forum Laara Yaghujaanas hosted an incredible workshop titled Negotiation Strategies, in which she shared her wealth of knowledge with her keen audience composed of leaders from the aboriginal community, and natural resource industry. Delegates commended this workshop as a remarkable tool for improving all stakeholder group’s understanding of practical means for mutually beneficial partnerships; further citing Laara as an excellent facilitator, and knowledgeable speaker.”– Madeliene Merrick, Conference Producer
“I’m writing this to let you know how pleased I am with your facilitation of the NVIT Aboriginal Governance Leadership Program during the past six months. I find it remarkable that you were able to produce the finished product so quickly and so professionally. ”– Neil Sterritt, Sterritt Consulting, & AGLP Committee Member.
“Awesome lady with the skills to match, very focused on the task at hand, excellent reporting skills, and a great asset to any community or Nation requiring rebuilding.”– Kukwpi7 Perry Redan, St’at’imc Nation
“Laara has a keen intellect, gets to the root of problems and issues very quickly and expresses her ideas clearly. She is able to identify the broad range of implications various actions may precipitate. She recognizes problems before they occur. Her advice on issues is thoughtful and thought provoking. She is extremely fair and highly respected in the Aboriginal community. Her manner is kind and supportive and as a result of her guidance and excellent organizational skills VCC made major advancements in the support of Aboriginal students and the promotion of Aboriginal Education offices on both campuses. The enrolment of Aboriginal students has increased significantly at VCC as a direct result of Laara’s efforts.”– Barb Ash, (former Dean of Student Services, Vancouver Community College).
“I found Laara to be very knowledgeable, forward thinking and capable worker, with a sincere interest in meeting the needs of the ABSN and Aboriginal community. Laara has helped to establish the ABSN as a viable source for Aboriginal business information and explored potential partnerships that add to the services available to the Aboriginal entrepreneur. Laara is very easy to work with, and has demonstrated an ability to work both independently and as a team player.”– Larry Casper, Chair ABSN BC
I have found Laara to be dedicated, tireless and a highly motivated individual. Her professionalism has also enabled us to work together in such diverse ways. Working with Laara has also provided me with an opportunity to review material that she has researched, compiled, and/or composed. Some of the material has been internal to the ABSN and other items have been content on firstbusiness.ca. As with all her work, these reports and documents have been of a very high standard.-Don Ross, Secretary ABSN & Manager Kootenay Aboriginal Business Advocates Society
“Laara displays many positive professional qualities. She is an excellent researcher, well-versed, committed and addresses people in a culturally sensitive manner. Laara goes beyond her work duties to make people feel comfortable and empower her clients. I would certainly recommend Laara’s services in the future and look forward to sharing more interactions with her.”– Lyla Brown, B.S. W.
“I find Laara to be a pleasure to do business with. Laara has a talent for dealing with difficult situations of all natures and I feel that she has a great future ahead of her. As a board member with Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation I have worked with Laara for the past six years. I also own my own business, which Laara has helped me to develop with some much needed strategic planning and good financial advice. She is a bright and talented individual that would be an asset to any endeavor that she takes on. Laara is also loyal to her clients and will not leave a job unfinished. Her quality of work is exceptional and I look forward to working with her again.”– Rosilee Wilson, TACC Director