Native Business Women
Stephine Poston (Pueblo of Sandia)
Business: Poston & Associates LLC/Owner
Committed to empowering tribal communities through culturally competent, community- based approaches. She has nearly three decades’ experience in public and community relations, strategic facilitation and empowerment training at the tribal, federal, state and local levels. In 2016, she was named New Mexico Women of Influence and in 2017 was recognized by NCAIED as the Native Business Woman Owner of the Year.
Vanessa Roanhorse (Diné)
Principal – Roanhorse Consulting LLC
Vanessa Roanhorse (Diné, Navajo), returned to the Southwest region and launched Roanhorse Consulting LLC in 2016 in order to focus her work on providing access to overlooked communities with a focus on indigenous communities. RCLLC, a startup itself, is dedicated to working with unheralded communities, businesses, organizations, and individuals to achieve and aspire their self-determination through forging communities of practice, creating equity through entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic empowerment from within. Vanessa got her management chops working for 7 years at a Chicago-based nonprofit, the Delta Institute, focused throughout the Great Lakes region to build a resilient environment and economy through creative, sustainable, market-driven solutions. Vanessa oversaw many of Delta’s on-the-ground energy efficiency, green infrastructure, community engagement programs, and workforce development training. She’s had the chance to work with incredible organizations such as Delta Institute, Cultivating Coders, Changing Woman Initiative, ComEd, IDEO, 1871, Center for Neighborhood Technology, ReBuilding Exchange, Living Cities, ICLEI, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, and the Cities of Albuquerque, Chicago, Miami, and the Navajo Nation. Her academic education is in film from the University of Arizona but her professional education is from hands-on experience leading local, regional and national initiatives. Vanessa hopes to foster a community of empathy to solve our greatest challenges one action at a time. She is a big fan of tacos, specifically Al Pastor tacos and is a Chicago Bulls fan for life.
Jaime Gloshay (Navajo/White Mountain Apache/Kiowa)
A Community Loan Officer at Accion New Mexico. She grew up in New Mexico and Arizona on both the Navajo and White Mountain Apache Reservations. Jaime holds a B.A. in Native American Studies, and M.P.A with a focus on Nonprofit Management from the University of New Mexico. Jaime continues to pursue her passion for public service through nonprofit work, specifically focusing on working with the Native American populations. As a community loan officer, her primary role is to increase access to capital to Native communities throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
Kalika Tallou (Nahaakoos Dine'e, Naakai dine’é, French/Blegian, T áchii’ nii)
Kalika's diverse cultural, educational, and entrepreneurial backgrounds provide the foundation for her passion of bridging worlds and promoting harmony through the healing arts of holistic health and sacred art of hair styling. She is the owner of Salon Tallou, a full service organic hair salon and wellness space that offers a unique blend hair artistry and organic body care. Kalika has been able to connect with her community through mentorship of young Indigenous women that are interested in natural beauty practices and by the diffusion of innovations through healing workshops, photo-shoots, film and fashion.
Kim Gleason (Diné)
Two Worlds-Native theater and film/Executive Director
Born in twenty-nine palms, California. Kim is a Navajo Producer-Playwright-Actress-Singer and Director. She’s been active in local theater, film and television for over 17 years, where she continues to promote Native American performing and cinematic arts in New Mexico. Her musical journey started at the age of 11, where she studied classical music on the Cello, and found the passion of acting and singing in high school. She later ventured on to study theater professionally at the University of New Mexico, until graduating in 2005. From 2010-2014, Kim moved to Spain to teach English and worked with theater companies “The Madrid Players” and “Lobito Teatro”. Since her return from Spain, she’s worked along side theater companies “New Native Theatre” in Minneapolis and "In Strange Company” in New York State. Since 2009, Kim has been the Executive Director for Two Worlds, producing full stage theater productions, staged readings, short films and screenings, education-collaboration projects, PSA community announcements, and photography. This month she will be release her first short film called “Follow Me” and direct a Staged Reading at Rodey Theater at the University of New Mexico called “A Weight of Shadows” by Jay B. Muskett. She’s excited to be a Co- Founder of the new organization “Native Woman in Business Summit.”
Alicia Ortega (Santa Clara/ Pojoaque Pueblo)
All Pueblo Council of Governors/Executive Director
Grew up in Santa Clara Pueblo and is an enrolled tribal member of the Pojoaque Pueblo. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Management where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Organizational Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurial Studies and two Master of Business Administration degrees in Marketing and Management of Technology. Alicia is also an artist and an active community member and has worked with various organizations including the American Indian Business Association, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber Toastmasters, TEDxABQ, the Gathering of Nations and many others. Today, Alicia is the Executive Director of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, which collectively represents the 19 Pueblo Governors of New Mexico and Ysleta del Sur in Texas. She works directly with each of the Pueblo governors and their tribal leadership as they meet on a monthly basis to discuss and address critical issues affecting our tribal communities in the areas of health, education, economic development, infrastructure, natural resources, native youth initiatives and state/federal legislation. She also currently serves on the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Tribal Nations Advisory Council and the American Heart Association Board of Directors.
Janene Yazzie (Diné)
Janene Yazzie, Diné, is born for Tsi’naajinii and Tódích’íi’nii. She is an entrepreneur and community organizer that is now running for New Mexico District 4 Public Regulation Commission. A strong advocate for human and Indigenous rights, Janene has extensive work experience addressing the impacts of environmental racism, treaty and indigenous rights violations, energy development on Indigenous lands, the inter-generational impacts of environmental contamination, and Climate Change. She has helped develop policy, projects and programs for food and water security and is committed to representing community stakeholders in high level decision making processes. Janene is co-founder of Sixth World Solutions, and has also co-founded the Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association (LCRWCA). She currently serves as the North America Focal Point to the Indigenous Peoples Major Group of the High-Level Political Forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is dedicated to this work as a mother, wife and proud water protector.
New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is responsible for pipeline safety, transportation, telecommunications, and the state fire Marshall’s office. District 4 represents all of Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties, and parts of Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Socorro, Bernalillo, and Santa Fe Counties. It is the district with the highest Native American population and with the most coal, natural gas, oil, and uranium resources in the state. Janene represents the kind of leadership we need for our working families, Indigenous peoples, rural communities, and low-income residents, in these decisions that impact our everyday lives. For more about her platform or about Janene’s work you can check the following websites:
In Beauty, In Honor.
Neeko, a third generation Navajo Silversmith, creates modern Navajo Jewelry out of her studio in Shiprock,Nm. Born and raised in Texas, Neeko's love of silver and turquoise jewelry started when she was a little girl but little did she know that she would end up being a female Navajo silversmith.
After graduating high school, Neeko attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.S. in Communications: Radio-Tv-Film with her main focus in Cinematography. She moved to Los Angeles in the Fall of 2010 where she ended up landing a job as a DI Colorist and was a full time Colorist for 4 years until life led her onto a different path, silversmithing.
With no tools but a heart full of hope, Neeko used some money she had saved up to buy the tools that would get the job done and set up shop in her apartment bedroom. Working out of her LA apartment for the past four years, Neeko recently moved to Shiprock,Nm where she is currently building up her new studio.
Neeko sees the world from her own perspective and she has her own style, this is reflected in her designs. Each piece she hand makes, she strives to push her work to the next level and continues to create pieces that are timeless. She has recently learned how to sand cast and tufa cast, new things are upon the horizon. Started in 2014, byNEEKO creates timeless, elegant, modern Navajo jewelry that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Calandra Etsitty (Diné)
Winston Paul Clothing
Winston Paul is a Diné owned and operated business out of Many Farms, AZ. My name is Calandra Etsitty owner and designer for Winston Paul. Ever since I can remember I have always loved anything fashion related. I knew I wanted to pursue fashion, so I went to school for it but did not finish due to financial issues. I decide to start my business back in February 2017 and it has been amazing ever since. The name derives from the youngest of seven siblings,Winston Paul Etsitty. Born with Down syndrome, Winston Paul inspires people to see how beautiful they are inside and out. Winston has always been a sharp dresser and I feel I had some influence on his wardrobe. It is pretty safe to say that Winston influence my choice to start my retail business so it is only right to name my business after him. That is just a little history on how I started.
Winston Paul creates traditional and contemporary clothing for women. Winston Paul is popular for their pleated skirts. We use nothing but the finest fabrics down to the materials that are used to construct these garments. We do custom and specialty orders such as wedding, graduation, ceremonial skirts and any events that require traditional attire. We do not stick to the norm, we like to use all types of fabrics and notions to create an outfit that is simply amazing. Every order that is made we ensure that our client is involved through the whole process form the style of the outfit to picking the fabric of their choice. As we are a small business we build relationships with each of our clients so we can create a friendly vibe and a unique experience.
Jenn Harper, founder of Cheekbone Beauty, was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario and relocated to the Niagara Region where she was raised and developed a passion for cosmetics. Jenn is happily married, with two beautiful children and still living in the Niagara Region to this day. For Jenn, make-up has become a means of expression that she feels has amazing power! Jenn developed Cheekbone Beauty because she felt there needed to be a brand for real people, that offered the latest trends and was super easy. There needed to be a brand that was made in Canada, that was never tested on animals AND that gave back to the First Nations community. The brand did not exist, so Jenn created it! Through countless hours over the past two and a half years, Cheekbone Beauty was born!
Over the past ten years, Jenn has had successful career in sales and marketing with two large international corporations. During her first week of training session with one of these companies a questionnaire asked: “What is your dream job?” Jenn wrote “To be the CEO of a major cosmetic brand.” At the time, there was no indication that Jenn would eventually set out to build Cheekbone Beauty. During the development of Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn researched the industry as well as charities that are helping close the educational funding gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Jenn found the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) and Cheekbone Beauty continues to support the FNCFCS today. During Cheekbone’s infancy, Jenn also suffered a heavy personal loss with the suicide of her brother B.J. This loss, though difficult, has remained a driving force behind Jenn’s desire to see Cheekbone Beauty succeed with its mission.
In addition to Cheekbone’s mission, Jenn strives to educate as many Canadians as possible about the Residential School System and the effects it has had on her family and friends through decades of generational trauma. Jenn speaks regularly to university, college and high school students about social entrepreneurship, empathy and the history of First Nations families in Canada. Jenn has also been invited to speak to various entrepreneur groups, women in business associations, Apple Canada and First Nations organizations. Cheekbone Beauty and Jenn have been featured in media outlets such as Flare.com, APTN News and CBC Radio Unreserved. In 2017 Jenn Harper was awarded the “Social Enterprise Award” at the 17th Annual Women in Business Awards by the Women in Niagara (WIN) Council and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) for her work on Cheekbone Beauty. After attending the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Conference (AWBEN) in 2016 and 2017, Jenn was asked to sit in on the Discussion Panel for the 2018 AWBEN Conference to be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, February 15th and 16th, 2018. Jenn will also be speaking at the Creative Leaders Symposium hosted by The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples on March 1st and 2nd in Ottawa, Ontario.
If you would like more information, please contact Jenn Harper at 905-401-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Kim Smith (Diné)
Kim Smith- hails from the Diné Nation in the southwestern part of the U.S. She has dedicated her life to fighting for indigenous human rights, water & land at a local, national and international level. In her Diné community her work includes advocacy work in environmental justice, food sovereignty, art & indigenous based knowledge. When she is not home Kim curates a national traveling exhibition called, “The Art of Indigenous Resistance” which highlights graffiti and indigenous art as a platform to raise awareness about indigenous resistance. Kim also travels to indigenous resistance communities around the world to reconnect intertribal relationships and build solidarity. Over the course of 3 years Kim has helped raise over $20,000 for the frontline communities she has visited. Kim is the founder for the online collective indigenous feminist magazine, "Indigenous Goddess Gang". Kim works along side Winona Laduke as a board member for Honor the Earth & Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, she is considered an expert on Climate Change for the United Nations and is a registered International Front line Defender.
Bethany Yellowtail (Crow & Cheyenne)
Thanks to school textbooks, museums, and pop culture, we all have had at least a basic education about the indigenous people of the United States—perhaps more, if you happen to be an ancestor of the community or otherwise personally tied to it. But for clothing designer Bethany Yellowtail, this general understanding is far from satisfactory. With her culture typically preserved in museums (yet often stuck in the era of the 1800s, as she says) or depicted in movies (but typically filling misrepresented, stereotypical roles), it’s not really a surprise that she didn’t have many Native American fashion designers whose career she could follow when creating her own ready-to-wear line. So she's carved a path all her own.
“I didn’t imagine myself being a fashion designer when I was a teenager or younger, but in our communities, the culture of creating is very much alive,” Yellowtail, who grew up on the Crow reservation in the Northern Cheyenne nation of Montana, tells us. “There is so much brilliance in indigenous creativity, and I grew up seeing incredible regalias, seeing aunties and grandmas sitting around the table making things for our cultural events. I didn’t say ‘We’re fashion designers,’ but really that is what we are. We are creators.”
Following her time at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, as well as in various roles at larger brands, Yellowtail launched her own line, B.Yellowtail, in 2014, inspired by her heritage and using images and techniques she grew up with. However most recently she’s become the focus of a new six-part docu-series, alter-NATIVE, which releases its final episode this coming Tuesday, April 3. “To try and crack the fashion business is no easy task—and being Native American offers its challenges,” says the World of Wonder filmmaker, Billy Luther, “but having seen her single-minded focus and determination up close, I wanted to follow her on her journey.”
The timing feels pertinent and exciting for Yellowtail to have a platform to tell her story for many reasons. To begin, with festival season around the corner, we can’t help but anticipate at least one thoughtless attendee wearing a traditional war bonnet to the main events. “That is most definitely cultural appropriation. Wearing ceremonial regalia and being in spaces where there are alcohol and drugs—we don’t do that, and it is very much frowned upon,” Yellowtail explains to us.
However, more important, as the political climate in the world has prompted so many marginalized communities to raise their voices in protest, there’s perhaps no better time for a young indigenous designer to reclaim her heritage on a mass scale.
“We are starting to understand that the old systems that are in place are no longer serving us,” she says of the current worldwide shift. “A lot of the fashion industry, as we know, has done a lot of damage to, not only our environment but our economy. Fashion and art can be revolutionary in that way if they choose to be and choose to do it in an authentic way.”
While Yellowtail has been vocal about supporting the Women’s March—in 2017 she even designed a custom scarf for indigenous women to wear during the inaugural event—as well as Stand With Standing Rock, her fashion line and e-commerce site have been the most constant form of honoring her culture and helping it flourish into the future. “We have 20 artists that sell on our website, and all of them work in rural reservations,” she tells us. “They are able to sell their work at a fair price, and we get to send money back to our communities every week.”
At its core, this give-credit-where-its-due practice is absolutely everything to Yellowtail's brand. And to an even wider audience, it serves as a guide for how we all can appreciate and honor a culture, specifically one that might be different than our own. "What I challenge people to ask themselves is How is this purchase really impacting Native American people?" the designer explains of how to support brands from indigenous cultures. "When I go home [to Montana], my community is at a 70% unemployment rate. When I see in mass markets how much money and economy is driven off of Native American influence and how brands are really striving off of it, that’s not okay to me. Our people deserve to have dignity and livelihood just like everyone else. Imagine if we had ownership over our own cultural identity through fashion? That would change our community entirely."
Take a look at the final episode of alter-NATIVE, it features IGG's Kim Smith, Tazbah Rose & the rest of the B. Yellowtail Squad. <3
and shop products directly from B.Yellowtail's site: www.byellowtail.com