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Shyra's Story: Helping Indigenous Women Building Stronger Businesses

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

In today’s episode, I’m sitting down with Shyra Barberstock, an Indigenous woman entrepreneur, leader and mentor who’s making a powerful impact in the business world and beyond.

Shyra is an Anishinaabe woman and a member of Kebaowek First Nation in Kipawa, Quebec. She’s also the President and CEO of Okwaho Equal Source, an Indigenous-owned social network based in Tyendinaga, Ontario.

With extensive knowledge of Indigenous entrepreneurship, economic development, and business relations, she’s passionate about serving Indigenous communities and working with organizations who value and appreciate the Indigenous experience.

In today’s interview, Shyra and I talk about her work with Indigenous women writer and entrepreneurs and why this is a great time to start a business, even with all of the crazy ups and downs. We also explore the idea of storytelling and its role within Indigenous culture.

Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from my conversation with Shyra:

1. Where there’s challenge, there’s always opportunity. So be sure to look for it.

2. There’s a time for talking and a time for doing. Make sure you know the difference.

3. Business is all about solving problems – and that includes social and environmental issues.

4. Never apologize for having a different definition for success than someone else; your own definition is what will propel you forward.

5. The biggest obstacle we face when taking on a new challenge is our own limiting beliefs; but if we manage our mindset, we can do anything.

6. Find someone in your network to help coach you through your challenges; a coach can not only help you build confidence, but also a clearer pathway for the future.

7. Storytelling is a powerful tool of creativity, empowerment and world-building.

8. A sacred circle of friends and community members are vital for keeping you motivated and accountable.

9. If you’re considering whether or not to tell your own story, go for it – be fearless! And if you’re scared, do it anyway.

10. When we spend time in each other’s company, we inspire each other with our own example of what’s possible.

To learn more about the Kwe-Biz Program for Indigenous Women Entreprneurs, visit

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