One of the new focus points in Huu-ay-aht’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan is Economic Development. The Executive Council is pleased to officially announce that Cynthia Rayner will lead this department for the Nation.
Cynthia started with the Nation in May, taking over the vacant Economic Development Officer position. In this position, she will focus on exploring ways that Huu-ay-aht can move forward in the future with economic opportunities and managing the economic development activities for the Nation. She will work closely with the Economic Development Committee and its chair to identify and investigate opportunities. She will also work closely with the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses in updating and moving forward on the Nations’ business plan.
Huu-ay-aht’s Executive Director Crystal Clappis says Cynthia’s wealth of knowledge, experience, and education will be of high value and will help the Nation achieve a prosperous economy.
“Cynthia is a great addition to the team,” Crystal says. “Her experience will benefit the Nation with its focus on economic opportunities, and I’m looking forward to seeing great progress under her leadership in the economic development department.”
Cynthia received her Bachelor of Arts in business, majoring in marketing and management. She also has 20 years of experience working with rural, remote, and urban First Nations, including 11 years in senior managerial positions. She is starting her Masters in Business in the fall of 2016.
Cynthia worked for Xaxli’p First Nations in Lillooet as an Economic Development Officer. While in that position, in six months she raised more than $300,000 in funding for Xaxli’p business ventures, including a store, commercial garden, fiberglass operation, and campsite. She also helped the Nation attain important financial and tax laws through the First Nations Financial Management Board. In addition to her work with the Xaxli’p, Cynthia previously worked as an Administrator for Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation. This role included managing the Nations’ economic development, including a five-year economic development plan; managing the nations’ finances and organizational development; and overseeing human resources.
Previously Cynthia also worked for a wide variety of clients, including H’ulh-etun Health Society, the Chief Dan George Centre for Advanced Education, Chemainus First Nations, BC Hydro, and the First Nations Health Authority. Her roles included Executive Director, Executive Health Director, Education Manager, Job Placement Officer, and Business Planning Consultant.
“This is an exciting opportunity to build a strong future for Huu-ay-aht,” Cynthia explains. “This is an important time for the Nation, and I look forward to making a difference for future generations.”
Cynthia originates from the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakiutl, and Gitxsan First Nations, and traces her Huu-ay-aht ancestry through her father’s side. Her Huu-ay-aht ancestral name is Hacum Tuhuaqsup, which means “queen by the waterfalls.”
Her mother, Dolly McRae, is a hereditary Chief from the Fireweed clan in the Gitxsan Nation. Cynthia is also a hereditary Chief from the Fireweed clan. Her Gitxsan Chief’s ancestral name is Nu’joulst, which means “mother of a high chief.” Her Kwakiutl ancestral name is Poot’lus, which means “you never leave my house hungry.”
Cynthia is also the owner and principal consultant at First Nations Management Consulting and has completed feasibility studies, business plan, and marketing plans for First Nations in BC.
Please join the Executive Council in welcoming Cynthia to the Huu-ay-aht team.