About Us

Who We Are

At The Shine Network Institute, we want to empower Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people to thrive.

With a focus on the screen-based media sector, we are committed to dismantling systemic and structural barriers that have kept Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people from thriving within the sector.

Through training, mentorship and advocacy we strive to provide the most effective pathways to success that offer sustainable and lasting outcomes. Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people are the most under-represented voice in the Canadian screen-based media sector. We want to eradicate this reality by providing Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people with the tools, resources and training that lead to opportunity, advancement and radical transformation of the Canadian film and television landscape.

Our Mission

Our mission is unequivocal: to advance the careers of Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people in the screen sector and advocate for profound systemic change. When Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people thrive, our communities prosper.

In order to dismantle outdated systemic barriers we need Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people to lead the way. Recognizing that Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people are the most underrepresented people across the sector, we are committed to creating pipelines that advance their careers and help them thrive while creating safer spaces for Indigenous people within the sector.

Of the 5,919 credits reviewed in the 2023 Women in View On Screen Report, Indigenous women and gender-diverse creatives received:


TV drama directing


TV drama writing


TV drama cinematography


Film production


Scripted film writing


Film directing

Our Story

The Shine Network Institute (TSNI) was launched in 2020 by screen sector veteran, Jennifer Podemski, as a direct response to the lack of support for, and chronic under-representation of, Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people both in front and behind the camera in Canada’s screen-based media production sector.

Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people have been historically underrepresented and misrepresented in mainstream media, contributing to widespread misconceptions and harmful stereotypes. We are committed to championing Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people in the screen sector by providing the tools and resources that will empower self-determination in-front and behind the camera and build economic potential through entrepreneurial leadership.


This site was developed in collaboration with Indigenous scholars, industry professionals and knowledge keepers to support Indigenous filmmakers on their professional and holistic journeys. We are grateful for their generosity and dedication to The Shine Network Institute.

Dr. Kathy Absolon

Dr. Kathy Absolon is an Anishinaabe kwe from Flying Post First Nation. Her academic journey has been a pathway of unlearning, healing, re-learning and finding who she is as an Indigenous woman and what her place is in the academy. Her Anishinaabe name is Minogiizhigo kwe which translates to Shining Day Woman, the one who brings goodness and beauty to the day. Dr. Kathy Absolon is the Director of the Centre for Indigegogy and an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Faculty of Social Work, Indigenous Field of Study.

A black and white photo of Jennifer Anaquod. Jennifer has glasses, dark hair, and is wearing a white shirt. She has a serious expression on her face.

Jennifer Anaquod

Jennifer Anaquod is Nehiyaw and Anishnaabe from Muscowpetung First Nation in Treaty 4 territory and has grown up and lived most of her life as a guest on Coast Salish territory. Jennifer is a curriculum consultant, researcher, and educator whose life work has focused on creating safe spaces in education for Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Jennifer grounds all her work in the 4 R’s of respect, reciprocity, relevance, and responsibility. Jennifer graduated from UBC with a B.Ed with a specialization in Indigenous curriculum and transitioned into an M.Ed in Curriculum and Leadership. Jennifer currently is a Ph.D Candidate and her research focuses on displaced place- based education. Jennifer’s most recent research project Pathway Partnerships with Indigenous Post-Secondary Institutions explored current practices that help support and enhance Indigenous students’ experiences in pathways between different post- secondary institutions.

Debra DiUbaldo

Debra DiUbaldo is a Métis community leader and knowledge keeper in Winnipeg Manitoba. During her career she has supported lifelong connections and learning in deeply meaningful projects. This has included her role as the Student Advisor in the Inner City Social Work Program in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. Since her retirement she continues to lead and support Indigenous resurgence and ceremonial work at Mount Carmel Clinic, a community health organization in the North End of Winnipeg and in her community leadership with projects including the Clan Mothers Healing Village and The Winnipeg Boldness Project.

Dr. Lucy Fowler

Dr. Lucy Fowler (she/they) is a Two-Spirit Métis woman, born and raised in Winnipeg, and an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. Lucy is a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Foundation (Two-Spirit Michif Local). Lucy’s family are Sinclairs, Cummings, and Prudens, some of whom took scrip in St. Andrews, and she has other family and ancestors from Red River, Oxford House, Norway House, and Sioux Valley, and settler ancestors from the Orkney Islands and Ireland. Lucy’s research and teaching focus on Métis youth identity, Indigenous education, queer theory, Indigenous feminisms, Indigenous hip hop, and youth cultures.

Myrna McCallum looks up into the camera. She is wearing a green vest and shirt. She has brown hair.

Myrna McCallum

Myrna McCallum is a true change-maker, award-winning podcaster, and leading champion of trauma-informed lawyering. She is the host of “The Trauma-Informed Lawyer” Podcast and acts as a subject matter expert on trauma-informed policy, procedure, and process. Myrna also offers training courses on trauma-informed engagement for leaders, policy makers, police officers, lawyers, and judges. She is also a highly sought after public speaker. Myrna received the 2020 Federal Department of Justice Excellence in Legal Practice and Victim Support Award, the 2022 Canadian Bar Association BC Aboriginal Lawyer’s Forum Special Contributor Award, the 2022 Saskatchewan Ombudsman’s Game Changer Award and the 2023 Canadian Bar Association BC Women Lawyers Forum Award of Excellence.

Ruth Murdock

Ruth Murdock is the Founder of Sawano Pinesiwan and a proud member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. She has a wealth of experience as an adult educator, guest speaker, curriculum writer and facilitator in holistic Indigenous training. For over 30 years, Ruth has been facilitating Life Skills training, Life Skills Coach training and Trauma training across Manitoba and Turtle Island.

Dr. Gladys Rowe

Dr. Gladys Rowe is a Muskego Inniniw (Swampy Cree) person who also holds relations with ancestors from Ireland, England, Norway, and Ukraine. She is a member of Fox Lake Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. She currently resides on the occupied lands of the Duwamish and Suquamish peoples in Washington State with her family. Gladys is a Scholar, Filmmaker, Poet, Author, Facilitator, Researcher, and Evaluator. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to her work and loves to think inside the circle when it comes to transforming the futures we are living into. She has been working in the ecosystem of Indigenous and community driven research and evaluation since 2008. In 2020 she began her independent consulting work and has recently founded Indigenous Insights LLC. Gladys is the host of Indigenous Insights: An Evaluation Podcast.

Chrystal Toop looks into the camera with a large smile. She is wearing a pink shirt with shoulder-length hair that turns from brown to blonde.

Chrystal Toop

Chrystal Toop is an Algonquin-Anishinaabe-Euromix Storyteller, facilitator, justice worker and life spectrum doula. She is the founder of Blackbird Medicines, a plant and land-based spiritual community practice.