Ron Deganadus McLester brings rich knowledge from personal lived experiences as well as his professional proficiencies. Ron joined Algonquin in August 2016 as Executive Director and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives. He spent the early days of his career as an Indigenous Student Counsellor at McMaster University and a Cultural Coordinator at the University of Guelph. Following those roles, Ron was Manager & Special Advisor to the Vice President of Student Services at Mohawk College from 2009 to 2011 where he oversaw program creation and the development of support services for Indigenous learners.
Ron worked previously as Director & Special Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives at Mohawk College, a position which he has held since 2011. In this latest mandate, he was responsible for overseeing the mutually beneficial partnership between Mohawk College and Sheridan College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and the University of Guelph for the purposes of bettering service to Indigenous learners. Impressively, he was responsible for the creation of the “Bundled Arrows Initiative”, a regional collaboration between Indigenous communities, and the first Indigenous education initiative of this scale. He has also led the creation of significant spaces dedicated to honour and serve Indigenous learners. During his time at Mohawk, Ron was able to secure significant funding and increased the profile of Indigenous initiatives locally, regionally and provincially. Part of this recognition included recently being recognized as one of Hamilton’s Top 40 under 40.