As an education policy analyst with the Anishinabek Nation Education Secretariat, Paige Sillaby's work supports 40 Anishinabek communities throughout the province of Ontario from Golden Lake in the east, Sarnia in the south, to Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon in the north.
"Our Education Secretariat mandate is to assist with political advocacy and coordination on a broad range of items including early childhood, elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, lifelong learning and special education in support of all 40 Anishinabek First Nations," Sillaby says. "I love what I do and I'm very passionate about First Nations education."
Anishinaabe from Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, Sillaby grew up on Dokis First Nation, a small community about 120 km from North Bay.
Her journey at Laurier began in the psychology program, which she initially hoped might take her into the field of social work. She eventually switched her major to global studies.
– Paige Sillaby
Over time, Sillaby developed a passion for education that she says was nurtured at Laurier, in particular at the Waterloo campus Indigenous Student Centre.
"I can't say enough about the programming and mentorship they offer," Sillaby says. "If it wasn't for the Indigenous Student Centre and Laurier creating that space I would have had a totally different experience.
"A lot the of the people I met at the centre, we created a family away from home. A lot of us weren't from the area but we became friends because of our shared experiences."
During her time at university, Sillaby served as president of Laurier's Indigenous Students' Association and worked for four years on the Indigenous Student Centre's leadership team. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she completed the University of Winnipeg's Master's in Development Practice: Indigenous Development program.
Sillaby says she is proud of her work in a career that combines her interest in education policy with her passion for advocacy.