Tracey King has trouble saying no when it comes to lifelong learning.
King is the aboriginal human resources consultant in the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives at Ryerson. Her spirit name is Essinhs Kwe (Little Shell Woman), she is Ojibwa and Pottawatomi, Otter clan, and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. For the last 22 years King has worked in every capacity in the community such as front line work, program development and project management to help fellow aboriginals reach their goals. For her outreach initiatives, King was recently presented with the Minaake Leadership Award, which recognizes local aboriginal women and youth who are making a difference. The awards were presented by the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.
As a true aboriginal supporter, King was “deeply humbled and elated” to hear of her win but more importantly, she wanted to promote the Minaake awards and “the good work that the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto does.”
A Chang School alumna, King is a lifelong learner. She completed a human resource management certificate in addition to her three university degrees, including a master’s in higher education. King says the support of her family was a crucial element in her scholastic achievements, including her 18-year-old son Lucas who she had when earning her first degree.
“Both my parents are role models and were major influences on me growing up,” she said. “I always had a working parent in the household that guided me all the way through. It was important to them for me to go as far as I can go. [Having my son] motivated me more to get my degree.”
In her role as aboriginal human resources consultant, King advises the university on how it can promote and advance aboriginal faculty and staff on campus and helps develop partnerships and programs to boost aboriginal initiatives. She serves on the board of the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada and says that her cultural identity was strengthened by her work with community agencies.
“Each organization I worked with exposed me to teachings and a work ethic that’s reflected in aboriginal values,” King said. “I was introduced to ceremonial practices and the overall communications style and caring nature in aboriginal culture.”