Siloam Mission Announces New CEO, Improved Indigenous Relations
Consultations with Indigenous community leads to new commitments
Winnipeg, MB (October 28, 2021) – Siloam Mission is announcing a new CEO, along with new commitments to improve Indigenous relations following community consultations this year.
The new CEO, Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, will begin work with the organization on November 15th. She comes to Siloam Mission from 1JustCity, a charity that supports community drop-ins and programs for underserved communities in Winnipeg’s core neighbourhoods founded by the Anglican and United Churches.
“Tessa brings a real passion and deep knowledge of our community to Siloam, and we are very excited to welcome her into the role of CEO,” says board chair Garth Manness. “We have been listening to our community, and are committed to doing better in the future – and we know Tessa is going to be part of that. Her expertise, experience, and love for those we serve will position her well to help move our organization forward.”
Whitecloud says she is looking forward to joining the team at Siloam Mission as the organization begins a new chapter.
“I am truly excited to be coming on board at Siloam and to begin doing this important work. It is a place where I can bring my full depth of experience with social justice and leadership, and know that I am doing God’s work every day,” she says. “God’s love is a foundation from which I understand my own worthiness and lovability, and apply that, as He does, to all I encounter.”
As Siloam Mission prepares for Whitecloud’s arrival, it is also announcing new commitments stemming from consultations with the Indigenous community and its own staff and clients.
Earlier this year, the board of directors commissioned Crystal Laborero (Laborero Consulting) to speak with staff and clients of Siloam Mission, Indigenous community leaders and others in the sector, after concerns were raised regarding the organization’s delivery of Indigenous programming.
The report found that among Indigenous staff and clients, none felt discriminated against, but many did see a need for more culturally-informed Indigenous programming. The report also made a number of recommendations including Indigenous representation on the board of directors and developing stronger partnerships with the Indigenous community.
Siloam Mission is committing to implementing all of the recommendations put forward in the report, and has already begun this work in some areas. The organization will be hiring a Director of Indigenous Relations, and is seeking to add Indigenous representation to its board. It continues to work on fulfilling its commitments to the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord.
“We are delighted that Ms Blaikie Whitecloud will lead Siloam in the development of a five-year strategic plan that will strengthen our partnerships with other organizations in the poverty and homelessness sector, direct our focus on housing initiatives and integrate the Indigenous Relations strategy into our operations,” Manness said.