a portfolio by bernice wong


The Musqueam Capital Corporation (MCC) was established for the purpose of guiding the Musqueam First Nations Band in Vancouver, British Columbia to financial self-sufficiency. To achieve this complex goal, the MCC needed to focus their efforts while still considering every voice in the community.


In analyzing a company, we often begin with a needs assessment to identify issues such as poor performance or service gaps. Yet when we reached out to two community planning experts, we soon realized that this approach would lead to a patchwork system of services irreconcilable to MCC’s goal of a self-sufficient Band. Thus, we began with an asset mapping exercise, to build our strategy upon existing capacities within the Musqueam Band. We then prioritized our findings using SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) and ERRC (Elimate-Raise-Reduce-Create) maps. Each of our tactics was validated and refined based on feedback from aboriginal affairs and education experts.


As our project addressed sensitive communities, it was important for us to be aware of certain jargon that is natural to corporate and planning industries. Over the course of our research, we realized that a lack of empathetic communication can reinforce feelings of deep mistrust, even when parties are presented with reliable information.


Our strategy addressed two of the community’s most pressing needs: housing and education. Using analogues and case studies, we were able to ground our tactics in existing research, and help Band leaders visualize truly achievable outcomes. Our final strategy included quick wins to boost community morale, for which we set up steps for immediate action. We addressed short term housing solutions, and established a framework for cocreating youth engagement programs over the long-term.