Big Ideas Panel

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Victoria Espey

Chair, The Hub Table, Portage La Prairie

Victoria was raised on a small hobby farm in Woodlands, Manitoba. Shortly after high school she chose to pursue a career in Corrections with the Department of Manitoba Justice. In 2009 she started working at Agassiz Youth Centre and continued education to progress her career within corrections, becoming a Team Leader and Staff Trainer in 2012.

In 2016 Victoria had the opportunity to switch careers and began working for a local not-for-profit organization (NPO) the Portage la Prairie Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC). PCRC is a community development NPO and rather than focusing on reactive rehabilitative methods,  Victoria saw an opportunity to work for an organization where she would be able to develop and implement proactive initiatives for individuals and families within her community. In 2017, Victoria became the Executive Director of the PCRC and now runs an organization which has been a part of the community’s fabric for a decade.  

Victoria has become a permanent fixture in Portage la Prairie since marrying her husband in 2016 and believes growing up in a small community helps to instill value in giving back to the community in which you live.

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Michael Redhead Champagne

AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, Founder & Organizer)

Michael Redhead Champagne, born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End, is an award-winning community organizer, public speaker and a proud member of Shamattawa First Nation. Michael believes we all have a gift and shows youth the path to discover their own. He is solution oriented and passionate about building system literacy, encouraging volunteerism, and engaging communities to be involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of any initiative that affects them.

As a founder of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities), he is committed to a wide variety of community initiatives including Meet Me at the Bell Tower, AYO Politix, ARROWS Youth Engagement Strategy, 13 Moons Harm Reduction & Fearless R2W. He has also appeared in various media platforms including APTN’s First Contact & has served as co-host for CKUW’s Inner City Voices for the past 5 years. 

Michael believes in leading by example and now travels across Canada sharing his gift with others. Whether he is speaking to educators, youth, the business community or the not-for-profit sector his goal is the same, to help heal, shape and create a call to action for everyone. Michael is known for his straight up and heartfelt style that will leave you moved, inspired and ready for action.



James Favel

Executive Director, Bear Clan Patrol

I have done a lot of things in my life time, not all of it  I’m proud of. I was University educated in the 90’s. I am a father, grandfather, husband. Home and small business owner, I am a trucker by trade, and a 4 times convicted felon.

After becoming a homeowner in 2009 I started to see things through the eyes of a stakeholder and things looked very different. Things i had previously accepted, things I had ignored now seemed intolerable. I felt empowered. I felt charged, and more than that I felt obligated to bring about change, change for my family and the families around me. I became active in my community, first with the Dufferin Residents Association of Winnipeg as a board member. I was quickly elected to the position of Board Chair. That's where I learned about community development, that’s where I learned how to work more effectively within my community.

In August of 2014, after the death of Tina Fontaine I used the skills and connections I had been developing in the community to bring together a group of like minded people to begin the task of building the infrastructure that has become the Bear Clan Patrol we know today. And now, as the Executive Director of Bear Clan Patrol Inc. I am able to give back to my community and our nation in ways I never imagined. From 12 volunteers in 2014 to nearly 1,400 Winnipeg based volunteers today. From the single community of Dufferin in 2015 to 35 communities in 16 cities in 7 provinces today and we have been recognized by communities from all over the world. The Bear Clan message is being heard” James Favel