Who We Are

Our Team

Jennifer Podemski stands looking straight into the camera. She is wearing a black v-neck shirt and has curling black hair.

Founder and CEO

Jennifer Podemski

Jennifer Podemski is a director, writer, producer, and actor. Hailing from Toronto but calling Barrie, Ontario, her home, Jennifer’s artistic journey has been shaped by her rich Anishinaabe (First Nation) and Ashkenazi (Jewish) heritage.

Jennifer’s acting career took flight with a standout performance as Sadie in Bruce McDonald’s iconic film, Dance Me Outside. This breakthrough role garnered critical acclaim and solidified her position in Canada’s film and television canon.

Driven by the desire to address the underrepresentation of Indigenous voices in the entertainment industry, Jennifer pivoted to producing in 1999. She co-founded Big Soul Productions, a ground-breaking Indigenous-owned and operated full-service film and television production and post-production company. The company went on to produce an array of compelling content, including documentary television series, scripted short films, and the highly praised, first, all-Indigenous dramatic television series, Moccasin Flats, which aired on Showcase Television and APTN.

In 2005, Jennifer branched out independently, establishing Redcloud Studios Inc., where she continues to create, produce, write, and direct content. Notable works under her belt include five seasons of the captivating paranormal television series, The Other Side, and the award-winning feature film, Empire of Dirt, dramatic series Rabbit Fall and Unsettled, award winning documentary series Future History and most recently, the award-winning, critically acclaimed limited series Little Bird for Crave and APTN.

Alongside her career as a director and producer, Jennifer built an illustrious career on screen with popular shows like Degrassi TNG, Republic of Doyle, Take This Waltz, Blackstone, Hard Rock Medical, Cardinal, Reservation Dogs, Resident Alien and the upcoming comedy Don’t Even for Crave. Among her proudest achievements is her leading role in her film Empire of Dirt, which earned her a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Beyond her artistic endeavors, Jennifer’s passion for empowering Indigenous voices led her to establish The Shine Network Institute in 2020, a Canadian not for profit dedicated to advancing the careers of Indigenous women within the screen, media, and creative arts sectors.

VP, HR and Corporate Affairs

Jennifer Dahan

Jennifer Dahan is an accomplished Total Rewards, Project Management and HR professional with 20 combined years’ experience in the corporate sector. It has always been a passion of hers to serve communities and make a positive impact. Jennifer currently works as the VP of HR and Corporate Affairs at The Shine Network Institute. She is very grateful to have made the leap into the nonprofit world, bringing her wealth of tools essential to realizing creative initiatives. Never the loudest voice in the room, Jennifer prefers to absorb the creative energy and apply her skills, bringing ideas into thoughtful action.

Board Members

The Shine Network Institute Board of Directors are comprised of Indigenous leaders.

Board Member

Reneltta Arluk

Reneltta is an Inuvialuk, Dene and Cree mom from the Northwest Territories. She is founder of Akpik Theatre, a northern focussed professional Indigenous Theatre company. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, this nomadic environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the multi-disciplined artist she is now. For nearly two decades, Reneltta has taken part in or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across Canada and overseas. Under Akpik Theatre, Reneltta has written, produced, and performed various works creating space for Indigenous-led voices. Reneltta is the first Inuk and first Indigenous woman to graduate from the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program and she is the first Inuk and first Indigenous woman to direct at The Stratford Festival. There she was awarded the Tyrone Guthrie – Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award for her direction of The Breathing Hole. As an Indigenous Arts leader, her experience includes being Director of Indigenous Arts at BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity and is now at the National Gallery of Canada as Senior Manager of Policy, Protocol & Strategic Initiatives under Indigenous Ways & Decolonization.

Board Member

Adeline Bird

Adeline Bird is a UNAPOLOGETIC Afro-Anishinabe creative, and proud member of Rolling River First Nation, Treaty #4 territory, and was born in Brandon, Manitoba, but raised majority of her life on Treaty #1 territory, Winnipeg. She is a multifaceted artist, activist, and entrepreneur who has made remarkable strides in her communities and beyond.

Bird spent her formative years in Winnipeg’s West End, one of the city’s most diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. It is known as one the largest Urban reserves. Adeline grew up in the housing block of 400 Langside Street. Here, she developed her keen sense of storytelling, social justice, creativity, and a passion for equity and Inclusion.

As a child, Adeline showed a natural talent for performing and writing. She spent hours in her room, mimicking radio hosts like Rick Dee from Rick Dee’s weekly top 40, watching films like Poetic Justice, and Smoke Signals, writing stories, and practising her performances for her school’s talent shows.
Bird’s passion for storytelling led her to become involved in Winnipeg’s Indigenous film industry, as well as a broadcast/podcast producer and radio host as a tool for social change. In 2016, she started her podcast Soul Unexpected exploring inspiring stories from marginalized voices doing incredible work from across Turtle Island. By exploring storytelling through podcasting, she later started a career in radio, hosting the Indigenous Music Countdown on NCI.FM and SiriusXM, and later went to produce and host for CBC National’s syndication radio.

Bird attended the University of Manitoba, where she earned a degree in Social Work. And in 2018 attended the CBC New Indigenous Voices program, where she made her directorial debut for her short film, Nappy Hair & an Eagle Feather, which is available on CBC Gem.

Throughout her life, Bird has worked tirelessly to promote social justice. She has worked as an advocate for marginalized communities, including Indigenous peoples, Black peoples, the LGBTQ2S+ community and Women. Her work has taken her all over Canada and beyond, including Paris, France and Los Angeles.
In addition to her creative and advocacy work, Bird is an accomplished artist and writer. She is a screenwriter and actress, with a particular focus on Afro-Indigenous storytelling. In 2016, she launched a book titled Be Unapologetically You: A Self-Love Guide for Women of Colour.

Bird’s contributions to the cultural and social landscape of Manitoba have not gone noticed. She has been recognized with several prestigious awards including Manitoba’s Inaugural Inspiring Women Award, conferred by St. Johns Manitoba, NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine. She was also honoured with a Manitoba Black Community Award, for outstanding achievement and significant contribution to the black community.

Today, Adeline Bird continues to be a force for positive change in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and beyond. She continues to write for television shows and sits on the board with Shine Network, through her work as an artist, activist and entrepreneur, she has made a lasting impact on her community and has inspired countless others to be uplifted by her blueprint.

Board Member

Jason Ryle

Jason Ryle is an independent producer, curator, story editor, and arts consultant based in Toronto. Through his mother, he is Anishinaabe and a member of Lake St. Martin First Nation (Manitoba). From July 2010 to June 2020, Jason was the Executive Director of imagineNATIVE, an Indigenous-run organisation mandated to support Indigenous filmmakers and media artists. In this capacity, Jason oversaw all operational and artistic activities of the annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest showcase of Indigenous screen content. He also oversaw the organisation’s year-round initiatives, international partnerships, and special projects, including On-Screen Protocols & Pathways, an influential framework for film and television production, and the 360 VR series 2167. Under his leadership, imagineNATIVE became the global hub for Indigenous film and an integral part of the Canadian industry.

Since his departure from imagineNATIVE, Jason has focussed on building his practise as a screen-content producer. He is currently in post-production on the third season of APTN’s AMPLIFY and his first two feature films as a producer (SINGING BACK THE BUFFALO directed by Tasha Hubbard and ENDLESS COOKIE directed by Seth Scriver) will be released in 2024. In March 2022, Jason joined the Toronto International Film Festival – TIFF as International Programmer, Indigenous Cinema with a focus on non-Canadian Indigenous-made features.

From 2006 until its closure in 2021, Jason was a script reader for the Harold Greenberg Fund (which provided financial support to Canadian narrative screenwriters), which encompassed story development and market assessment. He has long volunteered on various boards of directors (including as former President of the Toronto Arts Council), and is the current Chair of Indigenous Fashion Arts, and a director for The Shine Network Institute and REEL CANADA.

Beginning in 2013 until 2020, Jason was an Advisor for Indigenous films at the Berlinale. He also oversaw the Indigenous Cinema stand at the European Film Market from 2015-2020, which promoted features and shorts made by Indigenous filmmakers to international sales agents, distributors, and festivals.

In February 2021, Jason received the Clyde Gilmour Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. The award is bestowed to Canadians whose work has in some way enriched the understanding and appreciation of film in their native country.

Board Member

Sara Mainville

Sara Mainville has been called to the Ontario bar since 2005. Sara has a Management degree (Lethbridge) and a LL.B. (Queen’s). She has earned an LL.M (Toronto) which has engaged her in a lifetime study of Indigenous jurisdiction’s important role in legally reconciling Indigenous sovereignty in Canada. She has practiced law as a solo practitioner, and taught jurisprudence to undergraduate students, after being an Associate for a well-known Anishinaabe-led law firm in Ontario. In 2014, Sara was elected Chief of Couchiching First Nation. She returned to law in 2016 by joining Olthuis, Kleer Townshend LLP. Sara is also very proud of her participation in the negotiations that led to the creation of the First Nation Sovereign Wealth LP, a partnership of 129 First Nations in Ontario which involved 14 million Hydro One shares and $29 million in seed capital. She is greatly interested in First Nation’s inherent regulatory authority and advocating for its legitimate place in Canada.

Areas of interest: cannabis, gaming, and tobacco law, self-government and self-determination, advancing treaty relationships, and institutional development within Indigenous legal orders. Sara has been Lexpert® ranked as “Most Frequently Recommended” in Aboriginal Law since 2018, as one of the Best Lawyers in Aboriginal Law in Best Lawyers in Canada in 2021 and 2022. Sara is a partner at JFK Law LLP.

Board Member

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.

Lately, she has been developing an Indigenous-specific course (LoveBack) which addresses workplace trauma, resilience, decolonization and inter-generational burdens as experienced by Indigenous professionals. Currently, she is organizing a first-of-its-kind conference on Justice as Trauma which will feature Dr. Gabor Mate and Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin. This event takes place in Vancouver from April 3-5, 2024 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Myrna has co-edited two publications:
Canadian Law, Indigenous Laws and Critical Perspectives published by CanLII as a Criminal Law Open Access eBook and
Trauma-Informed Law: a Primer for Lawyer Resilience and Healing published by the American Bar Association.

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, the 2023 Canadian Bar Association BC Women Lawyers’ Forum Award of Excellence and the 2023 Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers’ Forum Cecilia I. Johnstone Award.

Our Partners & Supporters