Kelly Terbasket as she welcomed everyone to Syilx land at CMI 2023

“This is not a land acknowledgment. This is an acknowledgment of the work that needs to be done,” said Kelly Terbasket, Co-Founder and Program Director of IndigenEYEZ & kinSHIFT, reciting Heather George’s words as she welcomed a gathering of 150 social entrepreneurs, social impact leaders, impact investors and ecosystem builders to Syilx land for the 2023 Connect Money Impact conference, held in Kelowna on October 25.

Setting the tone and the intention for the day, Kelly Terbasket was joined by Andrew Greer, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Purppl, and Thi Dao, Strategic Partnerships Director at Future of Good, to lead a room full of people through conversation, activities and connection.

One of the expectations for the event was for us all to make space and take space, connect, and take hope-filled action. 

Social entrepreneurship has the capacity to restore hope

The number of Canadians who reported a sense of hope was substantially lower than 5–6 years ago, a stat we found alarming, to say the least. This proves just how much the social enterprise movement is needed.

Social entrepreneurship has the capacity to restore hope by funding positive impact in the world so we can enhance people’s lives and meet their needs in key areas, such as affordable housing and food security. This is just one facet of reigniting hope. 

Ultimately, what people truly want is a feeling of community and a sense of belonging. Social enterprises can help build that too. Through the power of community and connection, we can make necessary changes and find the best solutions for everyone, ensuring everyone feels like they belong.

To create true belonging, we need to look both outward and inward.

Learning From Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being

For Kelly Terbasket, a member of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, belonging and connection are deeply embedded in her worldview.

“We all share one membrane, one skin,” she said, describing how we are connected in all parts of our being together. 

She shared with us the Syilx story of the four Chiefs, which acts as a cultural framework for the Syilx people. In this story, the four chiefs come together to solve a problem: feeding the Stelsqilxw (people to be). Centrally important to this story is that the four chiefs had different perspectives and brought these differing perspectives together to inform their discussion, problem-solving, and decision-making to create an action plan. 

This serves as a model of what we all can do if we work together and combine our different perspectives, instead of allowing division to separate us. We have to remember that we are all people with a common goal and common needs. 

“My purpose is to be a bridge, a systems changer,” Kelly Terbasket said. 

Indigenous reconciliation is critical. We have much we can learn from Indigenous ways of knowing and being, which could help us solve many of the crises that impact us all.

That is how we can find hope and belonging, together. 

Finding Hope and Connection

We all got to experience a sense of belonging and connection, as Kelly Terbasket led everyone in the room through some grounding exercises. 

The first exercise had us all create sounds of water and nature with our hands and arms, together, as one room. The second activity had us all say our names and show how we felt that day. Everyone then had to repeat the name and movement we made. This had a tangible impact, galvanizing the room, and filling it with a tangible excitement and hopefulness. 

Along with action and tradition, “collaboration and partnership give me hope. Creativity and innovation give me hope,” Kelly Terbasket said.

We felt that hope too — a hope that connection and power of community coming together can make the world a better place.

It was an incredible way to start the event, and we were glad to be a part of it. Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done, but we know social enterprise has the power to help make a real difference in the world.

As Andrew Greer said, “There’s a movement happening here. If you’re willing, you are welcome in this work.”


This is the first in a series of blog posts about Connect Money Impact 2023 created for Purppl by Sparx Publishing Group, a purpose-driven full-stack marketing agency on a mission to make the world better. 

The Sparx Publishing Team


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