“Tremendous impact…on both a professional and personal level” — Celebrating 40 Years of NAFOA

Ariel Farinango (Native Inca), 2019 Leadership Summit Alumnus; Investment Banking Analyst, William Blair

How many NAFOA Conferences have you attended?

How are you involved with NAFOA?
First became involved with NAFOA through its Leadership Summit in 2019. Joined NAFOA as a Youth Communication and Advisory Consultant in 2020 and interacted with the NAFOA team/organization on a frequent basis.”

Tell us about your favorite NAFOA Memory:
“My favorite memory was meeting NAFOA’s 2019 Leadership Summit class. It was the first time I had interacted with other Indigenous people on a professional level. The individuals in my cohort were very accomplished and involved in their respective communities. It felt empowering being surrounded by like-minded individuals who were motivated to grow professionally and personally. NAFOA also did a great job of creating an inclusive environment for participants through close-knit welcome dinners, tailored professional development workshops, and other initiatives.”

What does NAFOA mean to you?
NAFOA is an organization that has had a tremendous impact on me on both a professional and personal level. Before participating in NAFOA’s 2019 Leadership Summit, I had mainly interacted with the Indigenous community through my parents’ work at Powwows. Participating in the Leadership Summit allowed me to build personal connections with my cohort and gave me access to a large, promising, Indigenous professional network. The Annual Conference had well-thought out events/workshops that exposed me to key issues and trends in Indian Country. Once I joined NAFOA as a Youth Communication and Advisory Consultant, I realized how committed the NAFOA team was to having well-thought programs/events for Indigenous participants. It was evident that the lean NAFOA team was strategizing to offer the best opportunities to Indigenous youth and Indian Country. During my part-time consultant role at NAFOA, I had the chance to further expand my network, as my role incentivized me to meet and learn from reputable professionals in Indian Country, like Dawson Her Many Horses, Veronica Lane, Elke Chenevay, etc,. and previous NAFOA Leadership Summit cohorts.”

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Celebrate 40 years of NAFOA with us by sharing your favorite NAFOA memory. And, join us on April 4–5 at the Hyatt Regency Seattle in Seattle, WA for the 40th NAFOA Annual Conference.



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Growing Tribal Economies and Strengthening Tribal Finance. NAFOA is 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.nafoa.org