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Sonal Deshmukh,
Community Planning Coordinator, Indigenous Home-Lands

Sonal is a second-year Master student at Vancouver Island University currently completing her thesis project toward securing a Master Degree in Community Planning. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Architecture, and prior to enrolling in the Master of Community Planning program, Sonal co-founded and helped lead a successful boutique architectural firm that is now recognized for its urban and residential designs. Her belief that the built environment has an immense effect on human behaviour inspired her to pursue community planning.

Hailing from the central parts of India and relatively new to Canada, Sonal has acquired a passion for facilitating self-directed, sustainable community development for the Indigenous people she serves. Her work in Canada includes designing evaluative models to guide Indigenous entrepreneurs to deploy their innovative housing solutions in remote, First Nation communities across Canada. The modelling technique strives to break free from colonial community planning regimens by considering a broader spectrum of socio-economic factors so that Indigenous values are assigned primacy.

Sonal brings her passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and fresh perspective to bear on her new role at Ecotrust Canada where she will collaborate with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations to bring their vision for the community of Anacla to fruition.

Sonal has eagerly embraced the West Coast learning to kayak and canoe, and she directs her free time to explore the islands and forests of her new home.