Spotlight on Denise Hardy, OPG Indigenous Relations Advisor
For OPG’s Denise Hardy, bear sightings, fishing and being out in nature are just some of the fruits of living and working in northwest Ontario.
A member of the Rock Bay First Nation, Hardy works as an Indigenous Relations Advisor in OPG’s Northwest Operations. Her days often include staying in contact with local First Nations communities, building relationships, creating awareness, and educating OPG employees on how to best communicate with these communities.
“Many times I’ve been invited to speak at business development events to share best practices for working with First Nations, and I’ve often used OPG as a best-practice example when it comes to building relationships with Indigenous communities,” she said. “OPG puts such a high priority on the environment and communities working together.”
With a passion for the outdoors, Hardy feels right at home in the northwest. An avid fisher, she loves catching walleye and trout from her kayak in the summer months and ice fishing in the winter. What isn’t harvested from her catches is left out to be scavenged by other animals in the area, most notably bald eagles.
“That’s not something a lot of people get to see very often,” she said. “I’m grateful I get to experience such beautiful things in nature up close.”
Aside from fishing, Hardy also enjoys golfing, running, cross-country skiing and curling. As the first Aboriginal president of the Fort Williams Curling Club in Thunder Bay, she works with youth at the club to foster their interest in the sport.
Whether it be in her job or her many varied hobbies, at the heart of everything she does is family and community.
“My favourite aspect of my job is all the learning opportunities I get to have in the communities,” Hardy said.
She learned the importance of hard work and living each day to the fullest from her parents, who instilled those values in all of their children.
Now, she’s passing on those same values to her daughter, Dairyan, whom she calls her greatest achievement.
“The path I choose in life is to provide guidance for her.”