Our Team

The Board:

Robert Penwarden

Robert Penwarden, Chair

Mr. Penwarden was the owner and operator of the Tundra Inn located in Churchill, Manitoba from 1977 to 2009. He was a member of the Fort Churchill Military Hospital board of directors between 1968 and 2009, serving as Chair of the Board for approximately two thirds of that time. Mr. Penwarden has also actively been involved in the Churchill Chamber of Commerce, the Churchill Northern Study Centre and the Thompson Region Local Management Board.

Richard Kachur

Richard Kachur, Vice Chair

A specialist in governance issues with expertise in leadership and staff development within the Municipal and Provincial governments. Appointed in 2000 by City Council as the City of Winnipeg City Clerk, Richard has extensive experience in providing governance support directly to the Mayor and Councillors in their decision-making processes. Richard also convenes the City of Winnipeg's elections for Mayor, Councillor and School Trustees, and is respected for his forward thinking and innovative ideas which have resulted in improved practices in citizen-friendly election procedures and automated technology. A results-oriented person with a proven track record in the community.

Arnold Asham

Arnold Asham, Director

Mr. Asham is the owner and operator of a curling supply business, Asham Curling, which he started in 1980. He is the founder of the World Curling Players Association and is one of the co-founders of the World Curling Tour. Mr. Asham is the founder of the Asham Stompers and Stomper Festival that won the Aboriginal tourism award in 2006. He is a committee member for the Premier's Aboriginal Economic Summit and is also the recipient of a number of awards including:

  • 1995 - Aboriginal Business Leadership Award from Industry Canada
  • 2006 - Manitoba Business Magazines Entrepreneur of the Year
  • 2006 - Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award
Mike Bettens

Mike Bettens, Director

Mr. Bettens is CEO of the award winning digital agency, Unite Interactive Corporation. Unite Interactive provides services in the areas of digital and brand strategy, web design and development, mobile and responsive design, content management, digital marketing and partner services. Clients include organizations in the consulting, banking and financial services, government, aerospace, manufacturing, health, education, social service, non-profit/charitable, Aboriginal and other industries. Mike has served on many boards and community advisory committees including 4 terms as a board of director for the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce and the United Way Aboriginal Relations Council.

Sean McCormick

Sean McCormick, Director

Mr. McCormick is the President and Founder of Manitobah Mukluks, a Profit-500 company and Canada’s fastest-growing footwear brand. Cited in Canadian Business as a highly successful entrepreneur who has “laid the groundwork for a global operation,” Sean has been instrumental in guiding Manitobah from its early roots to its current global success - from startup to $15M+ in annual sales.

Equally community-minded, Sean has developed successful community outreach programs & takes pride in following in his mother’s footsteps as a community activist and constantly seeks new ways to share his Métis heritage across the entire Manitobah ecosystem.


John Coutris

John Coutris, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Coutris graduated from the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Management receiving a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree specializing in finance. As Chief Executive Officer of the Metis Economic Development Fund, he oversees the marketing, development, and execution of the fund. In addition, he is accountable for the financial management of the fund and investments through a comprehensive and disciplined disclosure process. Prior to the joining the fund, Mr. Coutris spent many years in the financial services industry advising retail & commercial clients as part of the leadership team. As past Vice President and Treasurer of non profit organizations, his engaging approach to leadership, strategic development, and corporate execution have assisted to create strategically focused, sustainable, and thriving organizations.

Carly Souque

Carly Souque, Business Development Manager

Ms. Souque brings eleven years of financial service industry experience to MEDF, specializing in credit adjudication and assisting customers in reaching their financial goals. As the Business Development Manager, Ms. Souque assists the General Manager in developing annual market plans and ensures that key activities, deliverables and milestones are achieved. Ms. Souque also assists the General Manager in the due diligence activities and adjudicating credit requests. Ms. Souque is dedicated to making the MEDF a success and to facilitate and promote the Metis business community.

Erica McDonald

Erica McDonald, Office Manager

Ms. McDonald joins MEDF Inc. as the Office Manager. She comes to the fund after spending many years working in a non-profit organization. During the last several years, Ms. McDonald acquired the skill set necessary to take on the role of Office Manager for MEDF. Her outstanding training, leadership & communication skills, as well as a strong background in Customer / Client satisfaction, will ensure exceptional proficiency in the continued success of MEDF Inc. & its partners.