Tara Barnes, vice-president of marketing, Manitobah Mukluks

Tara Barnes
Tara Barnes
Editor's Note

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade honour 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs, business executives and civic leaders and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.

Click here to see the full list of the 2020 recipients and click here to watch the special Ottawa Stronger Together broadcast honouring the year’s recipients.



For nearly a decade, Tara Barnes has led the marketing efforts behind Manitobah Mukluks, growing the brand’s national recognition and elevating Indigenous voices in the community. 

She was instrumental in launching the brand 10 years ago, creating a stronger online presence for the business and rethinking how the company was selling products. 

In 2019, Barnes spearheaded a new sales strategy, establishing 18 new pop-up retail stores, offering customers a new shopping experience. 

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With her guidance, the business continued to develop its direct-to-consumer sales approach, both online and in-store. 

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Barnes’ innovative sales approach also allowed the company to hire more than 100 new part-time staff, 80 per cent of whom are Indigenous.

She’s prioritized working collaboratively with Indigenous communities, creating social impact through marketing efforts and wider recognition of the history behind the brand. 

She has participated in the Aboriginal Women’s Business and Entrepreneurship Network’s annual conference in Ottawa both as a speaker and a mentor and continues to work with ME to WE, a social enterprise encouraging young people to inspire positive change in their communities and abroad.

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