Former MMPA student breaks new ground
Working in downtown Toronto, Killulark (Laura) Arngna'naaq is thousands of miles from her home community of Baker Lake, Nunavut.
But the young Inuk doesn't see a daunting mass of buildings. Rather she sees opportunities for social development as the Accounting Manager for Habitat for Humanity GTA.
Arngna'naaq is one of the few Inuk Chartered Accountants in Canada.
She graduated from Trent University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2011 and was the first Indigenous student to be accepted into the prestigious Master of Management and Professional Accounting (MMPA) program at the University of Toronto.
She completed her Master's degree in 2013 and achieved all her professional qualifications in 2015.
"I was the first Aboriginal to graduate from the MMPA program, which is cool," she said.
Although she found it to be very challenging program, Arngna'naaq believes it changed her perspective because of just how rigorous it was.
"The academic skills developed through the MMPA programming completely changed who I was as a person; I find myself thinking back to class and drawing from that in my current job."
While she is based in Toronto and has lived in southern Ontario since 2000, Arngna'naaq has worked diligently to stay connected to her Inuit roots: she taught herself to carve soapstone, and worked on her Inuktitut language skills through self-study and by auditing an Inuktitut course at the University of Toronto.
Arngna'naaq is even building a kayak in her few spare hours and is now learning the traditional Inuit game of throat singing.
She also volunteers for organizations serving Indigenous people and has taken on the challenge of bringing awareness of Inuit heritage and history to her financial sector colleagues.
The academic skills developed through the MMPA programming completely changed who I was as a person; I find myself thinking back to class and drawing from that in my current job." - Laura Arngna'naaq