Vanessa Genier wins the Mastercard Game Changer Award

2023 Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards

November 9, 2023 | Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, co-presented by RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard in partnership with Export Development Canada and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, presented Vanessa Genier from Missanabie Cree First Nation with the Mastercard Game Changer Award at the Third Annual Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards.

Vanessa was presented with the Mastercard Game Changer Award by Jennifer Sloan, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Stakeholder Engagement at Mastercard.

Through her Timmons, Ontario-based organization, Quilts for Survivors, Vanessa Genier, who belongs to Missanabie Cree First Nation, has sparked a nationwide movement, uniting communities with every stitch. 

Through her leadership, Vanessa has transformed the craft of quilting into a social enterprise with profound impact. Her non-profit has empowered over 3,800 Residential School and 60’s Scoop Survivors across Canada, enveloping them in quilts that symbolize healing and cultural reverence.

This award celebrates Vanessa’s remarkable ability to weave together a network of volunteers and quilters, fostering a community dedicated to support and reconciliation. Quilts for Survivors transcends traditional boundaries, creating a space for education, remembrance, collective action and cultural learning. 

Vanessa’s unwavering commitment, entrepreneurial acument and community impact, proves that true change is handmade and makes Vanessa a most deserving recipient of the Mastercard Change Maker Award.

“I am honoured to accept this award in recognition for the work being done for Indigenous survivors by survivors,” said Vanessa. “I am here today because of my great grandparents and survivors, Emily and David. What started out as a grassroots project quickly became an international way to bring honour, respect, and love to survivors. Thank you to Pow Wow Pitch and Mastercard for honouring Indigenous entrepreneurs. I would also like to thank our many volunteers, our supporters, my first nation, our board, friends, and family.”

“It is an honour for us to celebrate the outstanding impact in Indigenous entrepreneurship and initiatives toward reconciliation,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Congratulations, Vanessa, we are so proud of your work and heart to take care of our elders and Survivors. Thank you for creating a platform that helps our Survivors feel safe and protected.”

To watch Vanessa’s feature, click here. To watch the full Awards show, click here.