2021 AISES Leadership Summit

Held Virtually April 2 and April 9, 2021

2021 AISES Leadership Summit

Held Virtually April 2 and April 9, 2021

Keolu Fox image

Keolu Fox

Keynote Speaker - April 2nd

Geneticist + Researcher + Surfer

Dr. Keolu Fox is the first Native Hawaiian to receive a Ph.D. in genome sciences. Dr. Fox's research interests include genome sequencing technologies, genome editing, and indigenizing medical research. Dr. Fox is currently a post-doctoral fellow in Alan Saltiel's research group at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His work focuses on using genome sequencing/editing technologies to investigate the molecular events involved in the regulation of glucose uptake and storage, with special attention to mechanisms underlying the specificity of the actions of insulin and the links between obesity and diabetes in underrepresented minority populations. He has been awarded grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published his findings in journals such as Blood, The American Journal of Human Genetics, Nature Communications, Transfusion, and Human Evolutionary Genetics. Along with fellow indigenous geneticists Katrina Claw (PhD) and Joe Yracheta, Dr. Fox co-founded IndiGenomics, a tribal non-profit organization with a mission of bringing genomic expertise to indigenous communities, empowering indigenous research capacity and positively contributing to health research with indigenous communities for present and future generations.

Dr. Fox’s mission is to increase ethnic diversity in genome studies in order to figure out why certain populations — including indigenous peoples — experience higher rates of common chronic diseases. He is also creating tools that empower indigenous peoples to be partners in their own health research, including a mobile genome-sequencing platform, interactive informed consent forms and a tribal consultation resource.

More recently, Fox worked at the National Institutes of Health, under Dr. Ed Ramos, who advised Barack Obama (as a Senator) on the creation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, a law that prohibits the use of genetic information to discriminate in the provision of health insurance and employment.

Teara Fraser

Keynote Speaker - April 9th

For award winning entrepreneur and Canadian Aviation leader, CEO Teara Fraser, the sky is no limit. As the first Indigenous woman to establish her own airline, Iskwew Air, Fraser is carving her own path through what has historically been a male-dominated industry. Named one of Canada’s “Top 25 Most Influential Women” and featured on the MacLean's 2021 “Power List” Teara is inspiring the next generation of women and applying her gifts to the empowerment of indigenous peoples around the globe.

Fraser’s life changed forever the moment she first stepped foot onto a small aircraft and discovered her deep fascination with the aviation world. Within a year, she had earned her pilot’s license, demonstrating a unique and innate talent for flying. By 2010, she founded her first organization KÎSIK Aerial Survey Inc providing aerial photography acquisition services directly to Governmental, Environmental, Mapping, Engineering, Utilities and Geospatial users.

After many years of providing such services and expertise, Fraser sold her company and began building a future in aviation that transcends the existing confines of the industry. She founded her airline in 2017, naming her company after the Cree word Iskwew which translates to both “fire” and “woman” – Fraser pays homage to the matriarchal traditions of her Cree heritage and encapsulates the indigenous understanding that women are the underlying heart of the community.

Fraser has taken her passion for connecting hearts and minds beyond the runway and into the establishment of The Raven Institute and The Indigenous LIFT Collective. Both organizations operate with Fraser’s dedication to reclaiming Indigenous traditions: elevating more women into roles of power to diversify leadership or “re-matriate” as Fraser has coined and emphasizing the Indigenous way of respect to Mother Earth through minimization of the carbon footprint.

In teaching the power of the human connection, Teara amplifies and celebrates the wisdom of her ancestors, fostering a sense of strength and resilience among her audiences; she encourages them to take ownership of both themselves and the responsibilities they have to the world around them.


Teara Fraser, Métis, will share her leadership journey, insights, and expertise as the first indigenous woman to own an airline company. She will focus her address on resiliency, adversity, and recreating one's life.


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