People in Profile

Justin Herman

For Justin, true success is in giving back to his community and supporting the people he cares about.

Born in Fort McMurray, Justin spent his early years in Janvier, a member of the Chard Métis Nation. “I was raised by my grandparents at their home in Janvier, near our family’s trapline. My grandfather didn’t speak English, so my first language is actually Dene. I didn’t learn English until I went into kindergarten. It’s kind of an anomaly for someone my age, but I’m fortunate to have had that experience.”

In time, Justin made a teenaged return to Fort McMurray. “Janvier is a small community, so I had to move up to Fort McMurray to continue on to high school.”

“I remember sitting in my high school guidance counselor’s office, trying to answer that nagging question of what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’. I was flipping through binders crammed with information on all sorts of careers and job opportunities.

“My main motivation was to help people. I wanted to give back to my family and my community, so at first, I thought of becoming a lawyer,” he said, remembering how he poured over all the information he could find on the profession. “I did more research and realized that, at the end of the day, a lawyer can only help so many people – and there’s a lot of schooling to go along with it. I’d also thought of becoming a doctor – I’d get to help a lot more people, but I’d still be looking at another 10 years of school. I really wanted to help people but didn’t want to be stuck in school for another decade.”

Justin looked elsewhere and soon found himself drawn to the buzz of the business world.

If I could find success in business, I could help as many people as possible, and I could get there a lot faster than I would by studying law or medicine.”

His goals were admirable, but daunting and ambitious.

“I had a plan, but unfortunately didn’t get into it straight out of high school.” he said. After graduation Justin spent his next years working in the mines north of Fort McMurray. He enjoyed the stability his job provided, but increasingly felt it was keeping him from his real work. “After eight years, I said ‘if I don’t do this now, I never will’. So in February 2009, I quit working at site to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur and I never looked back.”

Now, after years of hard work, Justin has found his success has taken many forms.

“I’m the current CEO for Chard Métis Nation and Chard Métis Dene (CMD) Group of Companies. I manage both the economic portfolio for the CMD Group of Companies and the inner workings and day to day activities for the Nation,” he said. “I’m also the majority owner of Stream Source and I’m still running my personal business, Saskana, which I started back in 2010.”

Stream Source is a large staffing company with a focus on Indigenous recruitment. Saskana, which means “my children” in Dene, is a multi-faceted operation providing its own staffing services as well as professional sale and installation of insulation, electrical and solar lighting products.

Justin also volunteers on the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism Board of Directors. “I was approached about a board position and, after looking into it, decided to put my name forward. If I’m contributing my time to anything, I want to ensure it has meaning and that I can make a difference, so I accepted the position.”

Away from work, Justin spends time with his family and enjoys the world outdoors.

My kids are grown up now and living their own lives, but when they make time for me, I’ll make time for them. Outside of that, I’ll be golfing or just spending time outdoors in general – going out on the boat, hiking with my girlfriend and our dogs, things like that.

“And some days I’ll just take time to relax. I listen to my body and give it what it needs, and sometimes – especially if it’s been a stressful week – I’ll just relax and do nothing, if I can.”

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