Indigenous inclusion and economic development practitioner sees ‘truly big’ opportunity in oil and gas

Annie Korver has seen numerous examples of mutually beneficial relationships

By Gregory John
Annie Korver's Rise Consulting focuses on meaningful Indigenous inclusion strategies in Canada’s energy industry. Photograph supplied for Canadian Energy Centre

As one of the newest board members of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), Annie Korver is committed to helping create mutually beneficial business opportunities between energy companies and Indigenous communities.

It’s something that the proud Metis mother of two has seen numerous times in her career. She says an example that stands out is how Simpcw First Nation, located 50 kilometres northeast of Kamloops, BC, built economic opportunity through participation in the Trans Mountain Anchor Loop project in 2008/2009.

The community’s relationship with Trans Mountain, which Korver helped enhance, has grown into long-term work for the nation and its members.

“It was amazing to see how the community built opportunities around putting their people to work on economic activity in their territory,” Korver says. “Seeing the before and after is inspiring and it continues today as they drive own-source revenue through community-owned businesses.”

Korver describes herself as an Indigenous inclusion and economic development practitioner. In addition to Trans Mountain, she has added her expertise to numerous companies in the energy sector, from small players to majors like Imperial Oil.

“It was amazing to see how truly big the opportunity is to effect change through the energy industry,” she says.

Annie Korver, a proud Metis mother of two, says her children have played a pivotal role in her cultivating growth in her career. Photograph supplied for Canadian Energy Centre

Korver hadn’t thought she was destined to be an entrepreneur, but she was encouraged on that path by one of her professors, Bob Schulz, during her executive MBA at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, which she completed in 2013.

“[He] noticed that when discussing Indigenous rights issues in class there was a complete change in how I sat, talked and discussed these issues and suggested this was something I should dig into,” says Korver. “I turned my attention to building my knowledge about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the opportunity for economic reconciliation.”

Out of that encouragement, Rise Consulting was born. Korver is principal of the company, where she champions a values-based approach to strategic inclusion with relationships built on trust and respect.

She is excited to see what impact Rise can make in connecting opportunities in pursuit of the “rising presence of our people in Canada,” which is the basis for her company’s name.

Her face lights up when she talks about her passion for the mountains, family and work. She says her son Fin and daughter Sarah have played a pivotal role in her seeking and cultivating growth in her career.

Korver’s new board position at the CCAB has shone a light on how important it is to share positive stories of shared value between companies and Indigenous communities on a national level.

While CCAB holds no specific position on any industry, nearly half of the companies it has awarded with Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification work in energy or energy support services. PAR certification is a rigorous ongoing process that guides companies on working with Indigenous communities in a culturally appropriate manner.

Through her roles with CCAB and with Rise Consulting, Korver plans to continue bringing together companies and Indigenous communities.

“As a servant leader and Indigenous woman who has seen the benefits of when industry partnerships with Indigenous communities go well, I will do my part in ensuring that I lend my expertise and passion in creating more examples of this on behalf of the communities and companies I am fortunate to work with.”