Our Team

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.

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.

Richard Kachur

Wayne Rivers, Director

Prior to negotiating the successful sale of the company in 2016 Wayne was the president and CEO of Procurity Inc. I leading supplier of retail, pharmaceutical and financial services to independent pharmacy in Western Canada. Operating distribution facilities In Saskatchewan, Alberta and head office in Manitoba and with annual revenues excess of $200 million ,Procurity grew to be a significant and profitable participant in one of the most highly regulated and competitive industries.

In 2016 Wayne founded the Two Rivers Consulting Group Inc., providing a variety of general management services to clients in the pharmaceutical sector.

Born in Winnipeg and a graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Wayne is married to wife Cheryl and together they have two adult daughters.

  • A former member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Canadian Wholesale Drug association
  • Active and current board member of the children's rehabilitation foundation
  • Past board member of rainbow stage


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, John is responsible for all business activities, promotion, 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.

Mr. Coutris also represents MEDF as a Director on each of the investee investments assisting to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound and ethical governance and financial management policies. Prior to the joining the Fund, John 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.

Erica McDonald

Erica McDonald, Office Manager

With more than a decade of experience working in the Metis community, Ms. McDonald brings a vast knowledge of the culture and entrepreneurial spirit of the Metis people to MEDF. As the Office Manager, Ms. McDonald assists the MEDF team with the development of the annual marketing plan, the management of the Funds financials, as well as ensuring the Fund is kept current with the ongoing growth of its digital marketing and social media platforms. Her outstanding training, leadership and communication skills will ensure exceptional proficiency in the continued success of MEDF and the sustainability of thriving Metis communities.