Jan. 14, 2022

Haskayne MBA grad finds career inspiration and purpose from his Indigenous ancestral ties

UCalgary collaborations awaken Devin Proulx's interest in health policy
Devin participates in the annual Haskayne Reverse Career Fair (pre-pandemic).
Devin Proulx participates in the annual Haskayne Reverse Career Fair (pre-pandemic). Kelly Hoffer

“I often felt like an outsider when I was growing up. I always felt different.”

Devin Proulx, MBA’21, is a graduate of the Haskayne School of Business’s daytime MBA program. But more important, he’s hardworking, open, resilient, and honest about his experience as an individual of Indigenous descent.

His Métis family is from Ste. Anne, Man. He proudly states that his great-great-great-grandfather Paul Proulx was a French settler, a leader in the Red River Métis settlement, and cousin of Louis Riel. Paul can be seen in a famous photograph taken at the Red River Settlement in 1869 (front row, bottom right). 

Louis Riel, centre, with the councillors of the provisional government in 1870.

Library and Archives Canada / PA-012854

Perhaps this is where Proulx gets his “do-er” mentality. He’s passionate about using his business knowledge to support Indigenous Peoples and truth and reconciliation.

To me, reconciliation means actions. Not just posting on social media or paying lip service. But actually doing something to help the Indigenous community in Canada.

Through connections at Haskayne, including the late Dr. David Lertzman, PhD, and across the UCalgary campus, Proulx was introduced to the world of academic research. He recently collaborated with Dr. Adam Murry, PhD, assistant professor with the Faculty of Arts, to fulfill requirements of a Rupertsland Institute Metis Centre of Excellence scholarship he received in 2020. Proulx’s work focused on the management and analysis of data on how Indigenous police interactions are represented in social media, the news and scholarly literature.

Devin Proulx

Devin Proulx, MBA’21, is a proud graduate of the Haskayne School of Business.

Courtesy of Devin Proulx

Their collaboration didn’t stop there. Proulx is now working with Murry and Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe, MD, as a research assistant on a project focused on medical professionals’ readiness to practice in Indigenous clinical contexts. The research supports evaluation work within the Indigenous Primary Health Care and Policy Research Network (IPHCPR). The end goal of the project is to create a tool that measures readiness for research among Indigenous health stakeholders and the network's impact on it.

Proulx aspires to attend medical school with the goal of leaning on his MBA knowledge to move health policy forward. “The question I’m asking is 'How can we move the mark on rural and Indigenous health care in Canada?' I know the dollars and cents aspect, the cultural aspect and I soon hope to understand the medical aspect.”

When asked about his experience as an Indigenous student at Haskayne, Proulx is candid in his response. “I was one of maybe two Indigenous students in my cohort. Sometimes courses seem disconnected because they’re trying to put a trade value on the land, while Indigenous identity is tied closely to being self-sufficient on their own land. Business culture is its own culture, in many ways at odds with the traditions of Indigenous cultures.”

The Haskayne School of Business recently formed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee that will address challenges faced by equity-deserving individuals in our community, including Indigenous Peoples. The committee is co-led by Dr. Sandy Hershcovis, PhD, and Sherry Weaver. A comprehensive EDI strategy is expected to be completed in early 2022.

ii’ taa’poh’to’pthe University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, “in a good way,” UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.