Orene Askew aka DJ O Show is a rising Indigenous entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is also an emerging DJ in the indigenous music scene. DJ O Show has dedicated herself to her passion. She is one of the few female hip-hop and R&B DJs. She is from the Squamish Nation, playing gigs mostly in the Vancouver area, but she has performed all over North America
In 2012, Askew awoke to a fire that had spread from her neighbour’s house on the Squamish reserve in North Vancouver. Even though she did not have time to think, she grabbed the only things that mattered to her – her DJ equipment. This life-changing event sparked her to continue her DJ business with a more motivated approach.
Orene graduated from the Aboriginal Business & Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program when it was offered through the Squamish Nation. The Aboriginal BEST program offers a 12-part training series on building a business that takes people through the steps of building a business, from market research to developing a business plan.
She says that the Aboriginal BEST program’s mentorship is a valuable resource for young Indigenous entrepreneurs as well as having an Indigenous cohort and training that is respectful of First Nations people and culture. To this day, the mentors of the Aboriginal BEST program still keep in contact with Askew.
Askew is also a motivational speaker. She is Afro-Canadian and First Nations, which play a large role in her life. She embraces both cultural backgrounds and incorporates the teachings she has learned in everything she does. Askew is passionate about spreading her positive message to Indigenous youth, “whether it’s about staying in school, continuing education, overcoming obstacles, working hard or the benefits of following your dream no matter what.”
She will be sharing her passion with her story and music at the annual indigenous youth gathering, Gathering Our Voices 2017. She enjoys her role as a motivational speaker because she can speak to Indigenous youth about her experience starting her own business and motivating youth to start their own.
She also has a strong social media following, which is key to her branding and publicising her gigs. “My personality is my branding”, says Askew. She took training from marketing agency Activ8 that helped her see how important it is to use social media to connect with her target audience.
In addition to running her own DJ Business, Askew is a full-time student at Capilano University, studying business administration. She is the Head Instructor at the School of Remix at which she he provides workshops and training 1-one-1 or in groups of up to 20 people.
Her hard work as a DJ and a speaker have been recognized: in 2015, Askew won a B.C. Aboriginal Business Award, and she was nominated for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.
For a look into a “Day in the Life of DJ O Show”, check out Telus Optik feature here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NWV1Cxujsg