Rene Tookenay

Renee Tookenay

Entrepreneur - Business Owner

Our business name is Tookenay Solutions Inc. We are currently developing a natural cosmetic product.

I was born/grew up in: Born in Minneapolis, MN and grew up moving all around Canada. Mostly Ontario and BC

I now live in: Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

I completed my training/education at:I didn't go to college to become an entrepreneur but a Nurse's Assistant. I went to Red River College and then worked at Seven Oaks Emergency Department.

Do you self-identify as First Nation, Métis or Inuit (FNMI)? I am an Anishinawbekwe from Fort William First Nation.

Describe what you do at work.

Right now we are in the product research and development phase. So there is a lot of chemistry work to be done. We are partnering with Actlabs here in Thunder Bay and Ancaster, ON to get the formulation and testing done. We use lots of specialized equipment like muffle furnaces, micro measuring tools, acids and lots of writing(graphing our results). In product development we do a hypothesis first then test and retest to make the process duplicatable so we can scale it up and take it to market. We use math for measuring and mixing our ingredients. We use graphs to analyze our results.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people’s lives?

So many woman and some men today are wearing lots of different cosmetics. Most are made from so many harsh chemicals that our skin is becoming affected. Our product is all natural, green and organic.

What motivates you in your career?

I get excited about the next phase of taking our product to market. The selling of it to the public. Taking it to Trade Shows. Marketing, advertising, distribution. The freedom to be creative and use all I've learned in life to apply it to this entrepreneurial journey. I love finding solutions to problems.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

Actually I was enrolled at Lakehead University going to be a Naturopathic Doctor when one day I had a problem that I needed a solution for. I couldn't find anything at the store for my problem so I mixed some stuff up in the kitchen and applied that. It worked and I went on about my day. 3 weeks later I was still thinking about what had happened and decided to look more into it. I knew I had something so off I went with it.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

Our culture is a big part of our life so a lot of our time is spent doing those sort of things. We have a sweat lodge at our house, teaching our kids traditional ways -hunting, fishing, smudging. We've done fasting, medicine walks, full moon ceremonies.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Find a mentor. Someone who has what you want and then do what they did. Success leaves clues. Follow the clues.

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Avatar  Beverly Bannon

Hey Renee. I'm so proud of you for being your own boss. That's what I want to do dod again congratulations.