Annie Charles, a self-described ‘true northern girl’, began post-secondary education in film but ended up graduating from the Paul J. Hill School of Business after realizing she was destined to be an entrepreneur.
Annie and her sister, Janine Windolph, own “Soulful of Mother Earth,” a business dedicated to crafting traditional and contemporary Indigenous jewelry.
“My heart always feels happy when I see things natural,” says Annie.
Her family comes from Waswanipi, Quebec; but she was raised in LaRonge, Saskatchewan. She eventually moved to Regina with her mother.
She says the she time spent in the natural landscape of LaRonge has left her memories that she embraced through as she faced academic obstacles.
Already having taken many arts classes and with a sister who already had a master’s degree in Film, Annie felt she already knew the content being taught. She knew it wasn’t for her so she dropped out of university and decided to work.
“I had to do some learning and living before feeling ready to come back to university,” she says.
When Annie returned to university, she felt like the ‘black sheep’ in her family, because she is the only one who pursued business as a profession. Today, she feels good about it.
While Annie was in school, she became involved in a career planning program called the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneur Camp at FNUniv. At first, she was a Camp Counsellor, working her way up to Assistant Coordinator.
While attending university, she and her sister started the business.
In 2012, they competed in “Progressed 2 Capital”, a competition to support entrepreneurs. The business placed sixth against many other Saskatchewan businesses.
In June 2016, Annie received a Bachelor of Administration from FNUniv, which wasn’t an easy task because she sometimes failed a class. However, with the support of her peers and business professors she was able to stay grounded and hopeful.
Annie hopes her experience will be an inspiration to future alumni, showing other students that university may not be easy but if you keep working hard you will succeed.