Catia Carrier – Majestic Professional Consulting (Timmins, Ontario)
Catia Carrier laughs as she tells a story about when she was a small child. One day, she told her grandmother how animals kept coming up to her in the woods, resting near her as she played. “My grandmother told me not to tell anyone else that story,” she chuckles. “She was worried someone would come and take me away, with a story like that!” Then she adds, “But I did always feel that connection: to the land, animals, nature and Universal Laws.”
Catia continues to surround herself with her favourite things. “I live and breathe in nature,” she declares. “It’s how I revive and reset.” And with her career as a psychotherapist, it is important to have that restoration for her mind and soul.
In her younger 20s she attended a social worker program in Timmins, Ontario. It was there she quickly realized that government programs and systems were not working for Indigenous Peoples. “I saw gaps in federal and provincial programming and then even bigger gaps in areas related to mental health issues.” The she adds, “I just knew I needed to get educated, to be assertive and to maintain key people in my circle if I were going to make a difference. I could feel something in me, even as a child, something different, a spiritual strength. I had to make sure I used my strength to help others.”
Catia now owns and operates Majestic Professional Consulting, specializing in psychotherapy, trauma specialist therapy and crises intervention. Her firm offers a wide range of psychological and holistic healing services. “Healing and compassion came naturally to me. So, when I researched residential schools and the significant impact they have had on Canada, I was shocked, at first. Then I realized, it was kind of like first aid—but for mental and emotional issues. We have to approach trauma with compassion.”
Catia also has clients in areas dealing with daily crises—from the policing and nursing sectors, people at risk of suicide, and children in distress. “There is so much trauma in our Indigenous communities, but there is trauma in other communities too. More than 50 per cent of people are misdiagnosed with long-term mental health issues. In so many cases, it’s actually trauma. Years ago, I worked in a clinic. With Western medicine, people were often treated with prescription medication. In many cases, it wasn’t only that it wouldn’t really help them, it was that it could harm them in the long run. I kept disagreeing with the clinic professionals, about those treatments, and they just didn’t listen. I realized I was outnumbered. So, I left.”
It was then that she started introducing holistic methods, like human energy and energy psychology. “It’s an act of self love, self care and self compassion,” she states. “You have to show up for yourself too.”
She mentions finding support with the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund. “They were key players in financial support to get my business goals started. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
It sounds like a pretty good place to be. She states, “For me, I’m very close to the animals and the spirit world. I light sacred fires on my property. And every time I see an eagle fly by, that is my bliss; I know something is right.”
“Your heart is the most intelligent organ in your body.” Gently, she adds, “Listen to it.”
Britt Nygaard – Renew Fitness (Melfort, Saskatchewan)
Britt Nygaard, the owner and operator of Renew Fitness, an online women’s health and fitness coaching company, is full of energy as she gets ready for her next class. The facilities are clean and inviting, and make you want to exercise.
Britt works with women to create healthy and sustainable habits so that they can look and feel their best. “I create workout and nutrition programs for women. I also run online challenges, which is more of a group platform, and then I can also make customizable programs.”
While she has a modern studio for boot camps and private one-on-one training, she focuses on her online business. The business has allowed her to interact with women from Halifax to Vancouver, from Winnipeg to the Northwest Territories through online marketing and social media.
“I never would be able to do that if it wasn’t for that online presence. So that’s been super cool for me to be able to say that I’ve worked with 500-plus women across North America.”
Britt comes from an active family, and her parents encouraged the entire family to stay active. Growing up, Britt always took care of herself and stayed active. She started her business as a side hustle while in university, where she was studying to be a teach. “I really enjoyed staying fit, and it helped my mindset in university, and that’s actually kind of what started this whole journey for me.” Her background in education also gave her the confidence to teach other women about how to improve their lives.
Britt worked with the Clarence Campeau Development Fund and Scotiabank to get the funds and skills necessary to develop and expand her business. In addition to the crucial financial support, Britt particularly appreciates the Clarence Campeau webinars “where a bunch of entrepreneurs get together, and then we collaborate different ideas.” She recommends listening to other entrepreneurs or following marketing strategists and listening to them share their tidbits of advice on different topics. “There’s podcasts, there’s documents, there is social media, and you can pick up information from a variety of sources.”
Providing an online service has been a massive benefit during the COVID-19 period, as fact-to-face contact is unnecessary. In addition, during COVID-19, there has been an increase in people searching for online exercise opportunities.
Britt believes in perseverance and patience. “Renew Fitness is not about quick fixes but something that is sustainable for your whole life. I tell my clients that this is not a short-term fix. I want you to feel and look good for life.” She has also used her perseverance to build her side hustle into a full-time business. “I learned through perseverance that if I just stayed consistent and kept putting myself out there, that I would gain traction and gain more clients and gain more presence in the social media world.”
While there have been challenges along the way, Britt has taken them in stride. “I’m a huge believe that all circumstances in your life teach you something, and I feel like any obstacle that I have had, that I have faced, has always made me stronger. I’ve learned a lesson from it, and I’ve had a new perspective on things because of those circumstances.”
Her advice for people starting out is to just go for it. “I think if you just go with your heart and keep pushing forward, you can make big things happen. Be patient with yourself. I think far too often we are in this fast-paced world mindset where we just want everything to happen in the blink of an eye. But good things come with time, and if you are patient and persistent and stick with it and focus on that big dream or goal that you have ahead, you’ll be able to make it happen.”
Learn more about some of the Indigenous women entrepreneurs that the Aboriginal Financial Institution network has supported at nacca.ca.