Staff & Board of Directors


Tracee Smith, Founder & CEO |


Tracee Smith is a member of the Missanabie Cree First Nation in northern Ontario, and has obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, an MBA specializing in Indigenous Economic Development, and a Masters in Finance from Queen’s University.

Ms. Smith is currently the CEO and Artistic Director of the charity Outside Looking In, which she founded in 2007. She was named one of Canada’s 50 most celebrated artists by the Canada Council for the Arts, and was the first dancer to ever perform at Rideau Hall for the Governor General. She has raised close to $5 million for Outside Looking In over 8 years with both the private and public sectors and multi-year agreements, putting the charity in the top 10% of revenue-generating organizations in the country.

Before leaving the private sector to run Outside Looking In on a full-time basis, she most recently worked at TD Bank Financial Group in successive managerial roles. She has also spearheaded Indigenous wealth and investment strategies for BMO Financial Group and TE WEALTH. She also continues to do finance and consulting work for various companies and First Nations across the country.

Ms. Smith is the recipient of numerous academic scholarships including two from BMO Capital Markets, ScotiaBank, and Tembec Resources, to name a few.

Maureen Hatherley, Program Manager |

maureenMaureen Hatherley has been an instructor and educator since her high school days when she worked as a summer camp counsellor. For twenty-five years she has been a teacher, both in the public and private school systems in Ontario. It was during her association with the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School that Maureen came to the realization that powerful life altering learning experiences most often involve teamwork, sweat, tears, laughter, hard work, self-discipline, and controlled risk. With this in mind, Maureen was instrumental in implementing a wide variety of experiential learning programs during her work at Lac La Croix First Nation, including an introduction to Hip Hop dance with Tracee in 2004. Maureen was one of several key teachers leading LLC’s participation in Outside Looking In during the inaugural year 2008, and in 2009.


Bernd Christmas, President and Chair


Bernd is currently the CEO of GITPO STORMS, a national Indigenous firm, with former National Chief Shawn Atleo, former National Chief Ovide Mercredi, former National Chief Matthew Coon-Come, and Regional AFN Chief Roger Augustine. Bernd was the first Mi’kmaw to become a lawyer in Canada. Prior to joining GITPO STORMS, Bernd was a Partner leading the Global Indigenous practice for Cassels Brock LLP.  Prior to Cassels Brock, he led Bernd Christmas Law Group, offering advice and assistance to First Nations, industry and government organizations in various aspects of regulatory matters and policy setting.

In 2003, he was appointed by Prime Minister Chrétien to the External Advisory Committee on Smart Regulation. From 2000 to 2002, he was one of three Canadian commissioners to the International Commission for the Conservation of Tuna. He is a former member of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and of the executive committee organizing the Governor General’s Conference on Leadership and Diversity. He has been a Director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Keltic Petrochemcials Inc.

Bernd is currently a Director on the board of Investors Group and the Indigenous charity Outside Looking In.

Vanessa Smith, Secretary

vanessaVanessa Smith of the Missanabie Cree Nation in North-Western Ontario, is a Kindergarten teacher, at Jamieson Elementary school, on the Six Nations reserve. She is currently completing her Masters in Education “How do Canadian Aboriginal children learn?” A life long learner, Vanessa is aware that whatever we do today will positively or negatively affect the next generations. Therefore, identifying and teaching to the student’s strength, empower not only the students but also the teachers, parents and community.

Bill Cortis, Director

billBill Cortis is a business lawyer practicing in Ontario for approximately three decades.

He pursued graduate studies at Western University, Gonville and Caius College in the University of Cambridge and the Schulich School of Business Administration at York University. He holds an M.A. in economic history, an M.B.A. in corporate finance and an LL. B. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Mr. Cortis has pursued a corporate and commercial legal practice specializing in corporate finance and banking with an emphasis in the areas of financial institutions, energy infrastructure and green energy.

Mr. Cortis has been a director of numerous public, private and charitable corporations over the past 25 years, including Microsoft Canada, NXP Semiconductors and the Hincks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre.

Ryan Smith, Director

ryanMr. Smith has over 15 years experience in finance acting as principal of a private boutique investment firm. Involvements have spanned several sectors and disciplines, most specifically commercial, corporate and asset based lending, venture capital, merchant banking and real estate financing including direct involvement in real estate development, management and business work-outs. He has been actively involved in a full range of growth and liquidity issues for investee companies including building management teams, arranging syndicates for first round and follow-on investments, building Boards, initiating issuer bids, and completing public issues and divestitures. Mr. Smith has been involved in, structuring and managing numerous investments with total equity and debt financing in excess of $1 billion. These activities resulted in working with individual private investors, advisors, institutional partners and lenders. Mr. Smith is or has been a Director of numerous public and private Boards and is CEO and founder of TerraGenex Inc.