Meet 'The Bears' -
Our Judges for Season 1 of Bears' Lair!

Leaders – By Example – Paving the Path for Indigenous Business Development

We are honoured to have four Indigenous business experts lined up to volunteer as ‘The Bears’ – our core panel of Judges who will appear on every episode of the inaugural season of Bears’ Lair TV on APTN.

Diverse Backgrounds, Experiences & Expertise

The core panel of Judges for Season 1 of Bears’ Lair have diverse backgrounds, business experiences and areas of expertise to share. They are all proud members of their respective communities – yet work nationally and internationally to empower Indigenous economic growth.

We are honoured that The Bears for Season 1 include:

  • Geena Jackson – From the shíshálh / Sechelt First Nation along BC’s Sunshine Coast.
  • Dave Tuccaro – A member of the Mikisew Cree Nation in northern Alberta.
  • Tabatha Bull – Anishinaabe member of the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario.
  • Robert Louie – From Westbank First Nation in the Okanagan region of BC.
Please scroll down to learn more about the expertise and experiences of The Bears…

The Roles of 'The Bears'

Our Bears will work with Guest Judges on each episode to share valuable insights, business expertise and inspiration with the Bears' Lair team, Contestants and our community.

Click on each of these roles to reveal more insights about their critical and supportive role in shaping Season 1 of the Bears' Lair TV series...

The Bears are experts in business and economic development, media, resource management and supply chain development. They're all recognized for their work to increase Indigenous inclusion by paving the path for others to launch, grow and sustain successful businesses.

We look forward to learning from their wealth of experiences and seeing how they will work together to:

  • Engage with and advise our courageous contestants.
  • Advocate for 'their favourite' contestants on each episode.
  • Select the episode winners to receive $10,000 cash and the opportunity to return to compete on the Season 1 Finale for $100,000.
  • Inform, inspire and grow the #BearsLairCommunity with insights shared on the show, in webinars and through Resource Den articles.

Our marketing team at Spiritlink Communications taught us the concept of ‘The Spirit of Co-opetition.‘ It builds on the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, so it’s time to work together to support each other and raise the profile of all Indigenous businesses across the nation.

Our Bears’ Lair Judges embody this ‘spirit of ‘co-opetition’ by showing the benefits of collaborating and co-operating to elevate Indigenous businesses and each other…through a spirited competition!

The bears Judges

Feeding the Spirit of Indigenous Business

The Bears may be fierce in their approach to business and fighting for Indigenous economic opportunities, but they appreciate the courage and resiliency of small business owners.

As Season 1 Judges and role models, their advice will help to prepare Contestants for their TV pitches.

They all uphold the Bears’ Lair Mission, Values and Four Guiding Principles – and support our work to create a competition based on collaboration, co-operation and support…something we call:

 ‘The Bears’ Lair Spirit of Co-opetition.’ 

Learn more about 'The Bears'
and episode Guest Judges for Season 1 of Bears' Lair TV

Dave Tuccaro - Season 1 Bears' Lair Judge

DAVE tuccaro Bears' Lair

Founder, President & CEO of Tuccaro Group of Companies

Dave is a proud member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.

Under his leadership, the Tuccaro Group has grown into to seven well-respected companies that provide a range of services to companies and people across Alberta, the core of Canada’s energy sector.

Dave’s companies excel in:
  • Industrial services such as fuelling, potable water and waste removal services for mining, oil and gas companies.
  • Property management of over 100,000 square feet of residential and industrial spaces.
  • Technical services providing lab, geotechnical and environmental services.
  • Their head office – and their heart – is firmly planted in Fort McMurray, where they focus on providing the essentials of healthy people and communities; “opportunity, employment and pride.’

    Dave was recognized by the Financial Post as a “Top 40 under 40′ leader in 1998, won a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1999, was featured in Venture magazine in 2000 as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People,

    Dave is the Chair of the Board for IndSpire, and his companies support local sports teams, education and health initiatives.
    Learn more about Dave Tuccaro and the Tucccaro Group.

    Geena Jackson, Season 1 Bears' Lair Judge

    Geena Jackson Bears' Lair

    Founder & President of Sparkly Frog Clan Productions Inc.

    Geena is a proud member of the shíshálh (Sechelt) First Nation on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia – and the driving force behind Bears’ Lair.

    For 30 years, Geena has been a passionate advocate for Indigenous voices, rights and business development with her work in:

    • Broadcast and Media Communications (BCIT Degree, Indigenous and Toronto International Film Festivals, TV shows like Hard Copy and APTN’s First Talk),
    • Business and economic development roles for over 13 years for the Squamish Nation (Trust Administrator, Small Business Officer, Procurement Lead, Major Projects Team) directly supporting 500+ start-ups and established businesses.
    • Indigenous Community Relations and Indigenous Advancement / Business Development VP for teams at Allteck Line Contractors and Steel River Group.
    • Corporate Indigenous Training Lead at Canadian Utility Construction.

    Geena supports initiatives such as the Golden Eagles Rising Society, Right to Play and Live Different that create positive, life-changing impacts in Indigenous lives.

    Learn more about Geena Jackson.

    Tabatha Bull, Season 1 Bears' Lair Judge

    Tabatha Bull
    President & CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)

    Tabatha is Anishinaabe, a proud member of Nipissing First Nation.  As CCAB’s president and CEO she is committed to help rebuild and strengthen the path towards reconciliation and a prosperous Indigenous economy to benefit all Canadians. 

    Serving the Indigenous community through CCAB’s commitment to support the Indigenous economy, Tabatha works with government, notably through her role with the federal government’s recent COVID-19 Supply Council, and through her work with various organizations, committees, and boards on Indigenous economic development. 

    An electrical engineer, Tabatha informs Canada’s energy sector by participating on many boards including Ontario’s electricity system operator IESO, the Positive Energy Advisory Council, the MARS Energy Advisory Council, and the C.D. Howe Institute’s Energy Policy program.

    As an appointee of the Catalyst CEO advisory board in Canada, Tabatha collaborates with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Also, a member of Queen’s University Circle of Advisors, Centennial College’s Indigenous Circle, and a member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce board, Tabatha is dedicated to diversity and removing systematic barriers to improve opportunities and business competitiveness across all industry sectors.

    Tabatha is also an appointee of CN’s inaugural Indigenous Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of accomplished and respected representatives of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities of every province and territory. Their mandate is to advise CN’s Board and company President and Chief Executive Officer on issues relevant to CN’s relationship with the more than 200 Indigenous communities in which CN operates. 

    Tabatha has appeared on numerous occasions in the Senate and House of the Parliament of Canada, discussing, advocating, and advising on various Indigenous business issues. She was recommended to the Deputy Minister of International Trade at Global Affairs Canada to join the Trade Advisory Council where she is one of a 12-member panel. The Council’s overarching mandate is to advise on issues related to export promotion, investment attraction, trade policy and negotiations, and international science, technology and innovation.

    Learn more about Tabatha Bull and the CCAB.


    Robert Louie, Season 1 Bears' Lair Judge

    Robert-Louie-Bears-Lair-Season_1_Judges_Profile-Photo

    Owner, Kelowna West Manufacturing Home Park
    Owner, & Indigenous World Winery and Distillery

    Robert Louie is a member and former Chief of the Westbank First Nation, a self-governing Nation located in the Okanagan region of BC. 

    Over his 24-year span as Chief, Robert was President and Director for over 30 diverse corporations ranging from construction, forestry, institutional services and commercial, retail and residential development projects. Robert has been instrumental in advancing all aspects of regional and national economic development through his strong connection to culture and community, his expertise in Native Law and industry partnership development and his leadership experience that paves the path for others to excel.

    Robert currently holds many leadership and advisory roles including:

    • Director and Chairman roles with organizations such as the First Nations Lands Advisory Board, Peace Hills Trust, Ecora Engineering and Resource Group Ltd. and DAXET Development Corporation
    • Founding Director and shareholder in Decisive Dividends (DE) on TSX Venture
    • A recent appointment to the TC Energy Indigenous Advisory Council.

    He has been recognized both locally and internationally with appointments and roles that include the nine-member Premier’s Advisory Council with the Premier of BC; Indigenous advisor representing Canada on the World Indigenous Business Forum; Board Member and Executive Committee with the BC Achievement Foundation; the UBC Board of Governors and President’s Advisory Council member for UBC-Okanagan; Board Director on the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board; President of First Nations Finance Authority Inc.; Board Director with All Nations Trust Co.; Board Director on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce; Board Director and founding member with the Kelowna United Native Friendship Society, and; former Task Group member elected by BC Chiefs to serve on the First Nations Summit Task Group.

     

    Robert is a recipient of many esteemed awards from local, Indigenous and national organization: winning Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and BC Achievement Awards; Distinguished Alumni – Business Administration from Okanagan College; Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership from the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association & Xerox Canada; Business Person of the Year and a President’s Award by the Westbank Chamber of Commerce, and; a BC Academic Scholarship Award.

    Robert also has received prestigious designations, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006. an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Recognition of Honorary Fellow of Okanagan College and is a recipient of a Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada, and a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

    Learn more about Robert Louie and Indigenous World Winery.


    Want to join our superstar panel as a Guest Judge on an episode?
    Contact us now to enquire about Season 2 of Bears' Lair...

    step up and step into spotlight sponsor

    We had limited opportunities to appear as a Guest Judge on the first-ever season of Bears’ Lair TV on APTN!

    We are thrilled that 12 Indigenous business allies and activators joined us as Thunderbird Level Sponsors to ‘Be a Bear’ Guest Judge during one episode of the series! 

    We look forward to the Bears’ interactions with contestants, discussions and insights that they’ll share with TV audiences through APTN and our #BearsLairCommunity of online followers! 

    Learn more about Guest Judge opportunities and the full suite of benefits of offered to Thunderbird Level Sponsors for Season 1…then consider how YOU can contribute this year by hosting an Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurship Dream Camp this year.or get on the wait list to be a Guest Judge when we film Season 2 next year!