About Us

Kelly J Lendsay, BSPE, MBA, CAFM, ICD.D

President & CEO, Indigenous Works Founder & CEO, Luminary

Kelly Lendsay, a social entrepreneur, is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators and organizational development experts in Indigenous engagement and workplace inclusion systems, models, and corporate/Indigenous partnerships.  His dynamic communications style and passion for innovation has earned him the reputation as an engaging thought leader and effective bridge-builder fostering trusted partnerships for workforce and economic development across Canada, USA, Australia and abroad.  He was honored by the University of Saskatchewan as one of their “100 Alumni of Influence” in the last century whose accomplishments have been recognized for influencing the growth and development of the university, the province, and the world. A proud Canadian Indigenous leader of Cree and Métis ancestry, he moves seamlessly between both worlds fostering economic inclusion, wellbeing, and prosperity for all.

In 2020, Lendsay founded “Luminary: Advancing Indigenous Innovation for Economic Transformation, Employment and Well-Being” with more than 160 Luminary partners including 88 universities, colleges and business schools, over 50 Indigenous businesses and NGO communities from Canada, USA, and Australia. This new Indigenous innovation eco-system is a ‘global first’ to accelerate research, innovation, and research talent development in Canada and abroad.

Kelly is recognized for pioneering numerous ‘innovative firsts’ over the last 35 years including new lifeguarding and lifesaving rescue techniques in his first career as an Aquatic and Recreation Director, Swiftwater Rescue 3 Company, and was youngest person to serve as chair of the National Lifeguard Service of the Lifesaving Society. He earned his MBA in 1993 and in 1994-95 launched the first Aboriginal Business Education program in Canada at the University of Saskatchewan.  In 1997, he led a team of consultants to produce the fifty-year economic forecast entitled: “Saskatchewan and Aboriginal Peoples in the 21st Century: Social, Economic and Political; Changes and Challenges - The Impact of the Changing Aboriginal Population on the Saskatchewan Economy: 1995-2045; this forecast was a unique first in Canada.

In 1998, Kelly stepped onto the national stage as the inaugural president and CEO of Indigenous Works, created by the recommendations in the 1996 Report from the Royal Commission of Aboriginal People. He has been leading the charge designing new systems and Indigenous engagement strategies, growing the organization into an award winning, ISO-certified enterprise.  In 2008, he was invited by the Australian Government (Education, Employment and Workplace Readiness Department) to conduct public and private sector workshops in Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane sharing models and practices in Indigenous workplace inclusion strategies and systems. In 2009, he developed a partnership with the National Native American Human Resource Association in the United States; and over the past decade Kelly has generated more than a dozen sectoral partnerships in Canada and abroad including the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium in 2022.  He was a 2022 semi-finalist for Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year award hosted by the CANIES Innovation and Entrepreneurs Foundation.

He is married to Shiela and has five adult children and one grandson.

Kelly J Lendsay | LinkedIn

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