Odette Merchant, NSCC Project Manager

Pamela Glode Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

Sarah is the Manager of Value Proposition and Community Relations at Irving Shipbuilding. Sarah’s responsibilities include overseeing the investments in workforce development, technology, and commercialization, made by Irving Shipbuilding to strengthen Canada’s marine industry through the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Prior to joining Irving Shipbuilding, Sarah was a consultant with NATIONAL Public Relations. She worked with clients in a variety of sectors including energy, government, agriculture, and academic institutions.

Originally from Prince Edward Island, Sarah has lived and worked in Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa before landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She enjoys volunteering for many community organizations including Springtide Co., the United Way, and the Lunenburg Yacht Club. Sarah is a proud alumnus of the University of Prince Edward Island, and the Nova Scotia Community College. 

Reconciliation in Action 

Odette is an experienced educator who has worked for more than 20 years in adult education in both Canada and the United Kingdom.  She has held a variety of teaching and leadership roles and is now Manager in the School of Access at Nova Scotia Community College supporting the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence project.   An advocate of lifelong learning, Odette’s work in post-secondary education has always focused on the development of pathways to learning, skills development, partnerships and applied learning. 


Odette holds a diploma in Community College Education from NSCC, BA from MUN, MBA from University of Glamorgan/University of South Wales, and is currently studying for her M.Ed in Lifelong Learning at MSVU.

Pathways to Shipbuilding

Session Description: This session will explore the Pathways to Shipbuilding Indigenous Education and

Apprenticeship Program. The partners who made this program possible will share how it is an example of

reconciliation in action, and highlight the incredible success that can be achieved when government, industry,

and community partners work together. 

(Irving, NSCC, MNFC)


Sarah SimpsonManager, Value Proposition & Community Relations, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

Pamela Glode-Desrochers is the Executive Director with the MicMac Native Friendship Centre and has been employed with the Centre for twenty two years. Over the years she has held several key positions prior to her current position as Executive Director. She was the Associate Executive Director from 2000 to 2010 and the Finance Controller from 1994 to 2000 with the MicMac Native Friendship Centre.

In addition to her strong financial/administrative background, Pamela is a M’kmaw women who has a deep understanding of Aboriginal perspectives and is passionate about helping urban Aboriginal people access support and guidance in areas such as social, health, justice and education that will meaningfully contribute to a safer, healthier and more vibrant urban Aboriginal community.

Pamela’s mandate as the Executive Director for the MicMac Native Friendship Centre is to provide quality structured social based programming to Urban Aboriginal people with a focus on reducing poverty and crime, and the promotion of personal and community health and well-being. She has a strong focus on the development of a new Friendship Center that will provide opportunities for the urban Indigenous community to become self-sustainable.

Pamela has been attributed with  increasing the number of programs and services offered at the Friendship Centre in the last 3 years  from 9 to 26 programs which includes an employment and training program, housing program, several literacy programs and a youth program to name a few.

Pamela believes effective communication is the cornerstone to any successful initiative and is committed to building partnerships with all stakeholders (Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal) on behalf of the Friendship Centre to ensure the quality of life for urban Aboriginal people is improved.

Pamela is also an Executive Member of Atlantic Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network and a member of the Aboriginal Circle that guides the UAKN. Currently she sits on the Board of Director of the National Association of Friendship Centers.

In June 2017 Pamela received the Governor Generals Award: Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in Ottawa for Outstanding Indigenous Leadership.