Professional Title: Section Head – Intellectual Property Manager
Current Career Sector/Type: Professional Industry/Corporation
Running For: President-Elect
Institution: The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G)
P&G AISES Conference Leader
Purpose: Partner with AISES to bring Native American STEM students internship and full-time positions with P&G.
P&G Native American Leadership Council, Member
Purpose: Co-create Strategic Plan and Vision for P&G Native American network that connects P&G Native Americans to P&G’s D&I mission and non-P&G Native Americans to P&G. Create programming that provides professional and career development for P&G Native American employee success and similar opportunities for aspiring Native STEM students.
Founding member and Co-Chair of SACNAS first professional chapter in industry – The P&G SACNAS Chapter
Purpose: To engage SACNAS students and provide them with opportunities to experience a career in the private sector via internships or chapter collaborations. Provide professional and career mentoring and programming for students at the SACNAS annual conference and regional student chapters.
SACNAS Life Member
Multiple STEM focused collaborations with national funding agencies in the form of national workshops, webinars and invited talks on the importance of Diversity & Inclusion, Professional/Career Development and Innovation within the private sector.
SACNAS Post-Doctoral and Professional Committee, Member
Purpose: To develop strategy and vision for impacting key needs of post-doc and professional SACNAS members through new programming, initiatives, and resources. Provide oversight and guidance to the SACNAS Leadership Institute.
SACNAS Finance Committee, Member (Chair from 2016-2017)
Purpose: Lead fiduciary activities of the organization. Develop operating budgets for the fiscal year and recommend for alignment via the Board of Directors. Participated in annual third-party audits and monthly reconciliation of expenses. During chair tenure, the committee internalized management of SACNAS finances, saving over $80K per year in third party costs. This allowed agility to understand our financial position “real time” to optimize operating expenses.
SACNAS Chapter Committee, Member
Purpose: Operated standards and goals for student and/or professional SACNAS chapters. Oversaw chapter activities, developed new initiatives and advised chapters in resource development, fundraising and organizing events. Reviewed new chapter applications, annual reports and provided recommendations to committee. Developed National Conference programming to the benefit of student chapter attendees.
SACNAS Audit Committee, Member
Purpose: To partner with third-party accounting firm to provide an audit of SACNAS financial position and controls. Review audit reports and recommend actions to the Board of Directors based on the auditors/committees findings.
SACNAS Board of Directors, Member (2015-2017) and Treasurer (2016-2017)
Purpose: To provide governance and oversight of fiduciary activities of SACNAS organization. Deliver strategic vision for society focus in the 5-10-year time-frame. Lead Finance Committee as Treasurer of and ensure Financials, Audits and Budgets are accurate and strategically sustainable.
SACNAS Executive Committee, Treasurer/Member
Purpose: Set priorities for Board consideration and ensure seamless prioritization of on-going strategic plans/goals with Executive Director.
In 2015 I was elected to the SACNAS Board of Directors. I had the great honor of representing SACNAS and ensuring that the governance and financial position of the organization was strong. During the first two years of my board term, I was heavily involved in the development and deployment of the current SACNAS Strategic Plan. From this, I understand that the newly elected SACNAS President will be deeply involved in the creating the next strategic plan. I am tremendously excited to gather voices, listen to your stories and optimize this plan to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our membership now and in the future.
Currently, I hold a leadership seat within the Native American Leadership Council at P&G. Through this group, Native American employees bring non-Native P&G employees awareness of issues affecting our cultures and communities through yearlong programming. My role in this group is largely strategic planning, communications and outreach/development. One of our efforts I have been deeply involved in is to partner with different tribes/nations across the country for community focused philanthropic collaborations between P&G manufacturing sites and local Native communities. This has resulted in tens of thousands of Native Americans benefitting from the on-going relationships. As a leader of the Native American Team at P&G, it is a responsibility to build and foster these relationships for the betterment of the Native communities but also the Native employees that work at nearby sites. These efforts, in addition to my work with SACNAS, highlight my long-standing and passionate commitment to our communities.
Further, I have led the P&G Native team that has received the “Top 50 Companies for Native American Professionals in STEM” as recognized by AISES Winds of Change Magazine for the past 6 years. Recently, I have led engagement with the Society of American Indian Dentists to sponsor their annual conference and provide support for their Lessons in a Lunchbox programming aimed at raising oral health awareness within the Native youth demographic.
From a fundraising perspective, my most relevant skillset is opening meaningful doors and not being afraid to have open/honest discussions with stakeholders. Over the years, I have been provided opportunities to connect with nearly every type of funding source, from individual donors to leaders of large companies. I have learned from these relationships the importance of trust, how to listen and an understanding of needs. I seek to use these skills to broker partnerships that will support the SACNAS strategic plan and enable our members.
For SACNAS, I have been intimately involved with the organization’s finances for the past 4 years. Chairing and participating on the SACNAS Finance Committee has given me a unique perspective on the current and future financial outlook of the organization. Through that lens, it allows a vantage point of the challenges, but most importantly, the opportunities for fundraising strategies that would be beneficial.
First, we need to explore and develop real partnerships with the private sector. I realize this is brought up as an opportunity nearly every time fundraising is discussed, however, it is relevant for a few reasons to discuss: 1) I have been on the other side of the table in industry and held discussions with organizations like AISES, SACNAS and other large companies to understand what is truly beneficial for all parties, 2) I have experience operating within a large company and putting together partnership proposals for the betterment of D&I and 3) a majority of students will enter the private sector workforce and these types of partnerships not only help to sustain SACNAS but will provide broader development opportunities for them.
Second, we need to dramatically increase our focus on developing partnerships with individual donors and foundations and unleashing our ability to raise funds via digital platforms. Our organization continues to play a vital role in the development of URM scientists and has a strong historical equity of doing such. This is so powerful and is needed now more than ever within our country. As a Board Member, I championed and helped prioritize the hiring of a Director of Development to specifically focus on this demographic but also to diversify our funding streams in general. Now, with the right infrastructure, we can really make progress in this area.
Third, continue to focus on securing grants from funding agencies that will allow SACNAS to continue to deliver for its membership. Our previous/current leadership and elders have been amazingly passionate and successful at delivering in this area time and time again. This continues to be critical for our success.
For specific fundraising examples, my efforts have revolved around two areas, internal and external to my current industry employer. I have co-written several grants with tribes/nations seeking funding from foundations to further various infrastructure projects for betterment of their communities. In one example we sought to raise >$200,000 for a cultural center and in another, over $1 million for site preservation of Native American earthworks. Both of these applications are pending. I have collaborated with executives at major companies and put together programs that seek to bring more D&I awareness of Native employees to large companies like P&G.
As one of two Native American Ph.D.’s in a Fortune 500 company, I understand the disparity of URM students in STEM, especially those pursuing a Ph.D. And that is why, for over 18 years, I’ve lived SACNAS in various capacities spanning my undergraduate/graduate education. Now as a professional in industry, I remain humbled by the positive impact SACNAS has had on me throughout my career. For me, SACNAS programs provided connections to science and community that are unparalleled and I would not be where I am today without that aspect of SACNAS. As a result, I’m deeply inspired by and passionate about delivering the SACNAS mission completely and am look forward to utilizing the skills I’ve developed in the private sector to create new opportunities for SACNAS membership.
The SACNAS organization is in different times from when I was on the Board of Directors in 2017. Since then, I have seen the resolve of SACNAS leaders to carry forward our work to address funding, Executive Director gaps and the issues that continue to plague our communities at a national level. Within P&G, I am considered a strategist and an integrator. Those that know me well will tell you that I speak with my heart and do not back down from doing what is right, even in the face of pressure. I want to assure the membership of SACNAS that I will represent and fight for you, no matter the circumstances.
A core responsibility of the SACNAS President is to lead the Board of Directors to ensure that there is sufficient governance and fiduciary oversight of the organization. This includes, ensuring that the SACNAS strategic vision is prioritized with the Executive Director for implementation and that our financial position is strong so that the SACNAS mission can be fulfilled. As stated in the Leadership Experience section, outreach/ development are key aspects of my leadership role with the Native American team at P&G. This is also a core responsibility of the President that is critical.
A SACNAS President should be inspiring to the organization and an embodiment of what the organization stands for, and the good that it has accomplished. They should be a master of their scientific discipline and a role model for SACNAS students to aspire to and a partner for SACNAS elders/professionals to collaborate with.
A SACNAS President should understand why they do the work that they do, which is tied to the SACNAS strategic vision of “True Diversity in STEM”. Through that vision, our foundational goal is to make science excellent and the only way we can do this is through Diversity AND Inclusion. By bringing it back to science through D&I, we will unleash the innovation potential of our communities and our country.