A former Prince George journalist is the new senior director for the CBC’s National Indigenous Strategy.
Robert Doane, a Gitxsan journalist and former producer and host of CBC's Daybreak North show based in Prince George, will lead the implementation of the new three-year plan geared to improving its employment and representation of Indigenous peoples moving forward.
Before Doane started his career at CBC in 2006, he studied journalism at the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
During his time at CBC, Doane held the roles of researcher, associate producer, reporter, host and producer. He completed his masters in business administration with a specialization in leadership at Royal Roads University in 2017. He also graduated from CBC’s Developing Emerging Leaders program and co-chaired CBC’s All Nations Employee Resource Group.
Doane earned several national and provincial Radio Television Digital News Associaton awards. When Doane left CBC in 2018, he joined Carrier Sekani Family Services in Prince George as director of communications.
“I owe a ton of gratitude to them because they really taught me about reciprocity and engagement,” Doane said.
Doane returned to CBC in December 2020 to take on the role of Indigenous Advisor which was a newly created role. The Indigenous Advisor supports ongoing and increased Indigenous representation and the amplification of Indigenous voices at CBC which is crucial to the organization’s overall strategy of building a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace, a news release said at the time.
“This position must be one that creates space for Indigenous employees of today and the future,” Doane said at the time of his appointment in 2020. “The challenges facing Indigenous staff are many and I think it is imperative to ask ourselves what we can do to support those who are now here and those to come. A key piece to this position is engagement, to learn from and celebrate those who are already here, and to engage with those communities and territories on which we conduct our day-to-day business. It will be my job to listen, learn and to develop a strategy to tackle the challenges we collectively face: from how we recruit, train and retain staff, to how we are portrayed in media, and how we can collectively educate to ensure we are all walking on the same path together.”
Further developments since then resulted in the creation of the CBC’s National Indigenous Strategy whose aim is to better reflect, respect and amplify diverse Indigenous perspectives across the public broadcaster, Doane said.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Doane said about the creation of the strategy. “We started the work on this plan about two and a half years ago. A large group of us came together – First Nations, Metis and Indigenous folks and non-Indigenous folks and we came together as a team to do the work.”
The first step was to look at the organization as it stood and then the team conducted engagement sessions across the country, which was challenging because of the pandemic, Doane added.
“But we met with hundreds of First Nations, Metis and Inuit folks and then we got writing,” Doane said.
The three-year strategic plan was approved by the board in September and it was released on Feb. 6.
“It’s really a document that provides information around governance, the people that we hire, around relationships, how we establish and build relationships with Indigenous peoples across the country and many other things,” Doane said. “There’s 14 objectives and 49 actions that will be leading us over the next three years.”
Doane said he thinks it’s incredible that he can be part of the work being done.
“It’s been a learning journey for me – I am just one perspective – but I’ve got to meet so many people and learn along the way and build on those learnings,” he said.
Doane knows his education and work history has brought him to the position he is in now.
“And I will continue learning,” Doane said. “It’s exciting to be at this point – we’ve got a lot of work to do – it’s not going to be easy – but for the first time the public broadcaster has a plan they never had before, so it’s exciting.”
Doane said he knows they’ll make mistakes along the way because it’s a learning journey for everyone.
“But it’s really about making a better place for everyone,” Doane said.
“I hope everyone’s excited to see what comes of it and I hope it creates more opportunities for more First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples to get more equitable opportunities in the organization and I think it will also help us shape our programming in a good way – not just on the radio but in the podcasts realm and TV, streaming – all those things, because this really builds on the work that many people have been doing already.”
Here is CBC’s National Indigenous Strategy.