Awardees will be celebrated at a gala in Phoenix, AZ on August 24th

Today, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center) announced its 2019 Native American 40 under 40 award recipients. Each year, the National Center recognizes 40 emerging Native American and Alaska Native leaders who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business, their professions, or in their communities.

This year’s class – the 11th – features leaders from a wide variety of fields, including tribal and state government, gaming, tribal economic development, business and consulting, academia, health care, the law, theater, marketing, and hospitality. Winners hail from 18 states and Washington, DC. Over 30 unique tribes and Native affiliations are represented among the winners.

“The 2019 class of our Native American 40 under 40 award winners is a truly impressive group of amazing young leaders,” said Chris James, President and CEO of the National Center. “They join a growing community of past winners who are already making a difference in their communities and professions. I look forward to honoring their achievements and welcoming them into the 40 under 40 family.”

The awards gala will take place on August 24th at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ. Also being honored at the gala are the recipients of the National Center’s Business Scholarships, which are awarded to deserving undergraduate and graduate students majoring in a business-related field.

This year’s award winners are:

  • Joshuaa Allison-Burbank, Navajo Nation & Acoma Pueblo; Speech-Language Pathologist/Lecturer/Research Project Coordinator at the University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS
  • Jennifer Bighorse, Osage Sioux, Cherokee and Creek; Director of Marketing for Osage Casinos – Owasso, OK
  • Cynthia Billy, Muscogee (Creek); Executive/Economic Development Director for the Wichita Tribe Industrial Development Commission – Elgin, OK
  • Alison Black, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Ponca, Osage, Prairie Band Potawatomi; Director of Indian Education at Frontier Public Schools – Red Rock, OK
  • Cory Blankenship, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Secretary of Treasury for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – Cherokee, NC
  • Levi Bowman,Navajo Nation/Pueblo of LagunaComputer Engineer at the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration – Albuquerque, NM
  • Kaylor Carlton, Osage Nation; Director of Rehab and Speech language pathologist – Glenpool, OK
  • Shawnna Castellano, Lac Courte Oreilles; Region Director for the National Indian Gaming Commission – St. Paul, MN
  • Tomasina Chupco-Gilliam, Seminole Tribe of Florida; Project Specialist for the Native Learning Center – Tamarac, FL
  • Felina Cordova-Marks,Hopi; Postdoctoral Fellow Cancer Prevention and Control Cancer Center University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
  • Adam Crepelle, United Houma Nation; Managing Fellow Native American Law and Policy Institute at Southern University Law Center – Baton Rouge, LA
  • Blake Follis, Modoc Nation; Attorney General for the Modoc Nation – Miami, OK
  • Ron Galbraith, Navajo; Specialist in Infectious Diseases & Immunology, Internal Medicine at NYU Langone Health – Brooklyn, NY
  • Kimberly Delfina Gleason,Navajo; Executive Director of Two Worlds/Co-Founder of Native Women Lead – Albuquerque, NM
  • Timian Godfrey, Navajo; Advanced Practice Clinician, TribalEM, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona – Tuscon, AZ
  • Brianna Gray, Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove; Project Coordinator for Doyon Government Group – North Pole, AK
  • Holly Guise, Iñupiaq, Native Village of Unalakleet; Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Irvine – Irvine, CA
  • William Hunt, Lumbee; President & CEO of PCI Support Services, LLC – Saraland, AL
  • Joy Huntington,Athabascan; Principal/President of Uqaqti Consulting, LLC, Founder of the Joy Huntington Brand – Fairbanks, AK            
  • Lafawn Janis,Oglala Sioux Tribe; Owner of Bluebird Consulting – Rapid City, SD
  • Dylan Jennings,Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Indians; Director of Public Information Office for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission – Odanah, WI
  • Carrie Nuva Joseph, Hopi; Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Arizona’s Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research – Tucson, AZ
  • Anthony Lindoff,Tlingit and Haida, Kaagwaantaan; Owner/Operator of Kaawu Shellfish, Co. – Juneau, AK
  • Tracy Lowe,Eastern Shawnee/Creek/Osage; Project Manager for Sawyer MFG Company – Broken Arrow, OK
  • Joshua Lucio,Zuni Pueblo; Program Associate for Scholarships and Programs for the American Indian Graduate Center – Albuquerque, NM
  • Jasha Lyons Echo-Hawk,Jasha Lyons Echo-Hawk, Seminole/Pawnee/Creek/Omaha/Iowa; Resource Development Coordinator for the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project; Birth Doula – Pawnee, OK
  • Lycia Maddocks,  Yuma Quechan; Director of Communications for the National Congress of American Indians – Streetsboro, OH
  • Elizabeth Malerba,The Mohegan Tribe; Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF) – Washington, D.C
  • Adam McCreary,Cherokee; Government Relations Senior Manager for Cherokee Nation Businesses – Tulsa, OK
  • Ayla Medrano,Muscogee (Creek); Executive Director of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma – Oklahoma City, OK
  • Shane Morigeau,Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Montana State Representative for District 95 – Missoula, MT
  • Nathan Moulton,Confederated Tribes of Colville Indian Reservation; Executive Director of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe – Yakutat, AK
  • Dennis Olson, Jr., Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Commissioner for the Minnesota Office of Higher Education – St. Paul, MN
  • Bob Peters,Gun Lake Tribe; Chairman of Tribal Council for the Gun Lake Tribe – Shelbyville, MI
  • Anthony Purnel, Agua Caliente Band of Chauilla Indians; Council Member Agua Caliente Band of Chauilla Indians – Palm Springs, CA
  • Madeline Sayet,Mohegan Tribe; Theater Director – Mystic, CT
  • Daniel Sherron,Ponca Tribe; Clinic Manager for the Osage Nation Health Services – Ponca City, OK
  • Nicole Stoops, Native Village of Kotzebue; Executive Director for the Native Village of Kotzebue – Kotzebue, AK
  • Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart,Oglala Sioux Tribe; Co-Owner/CEO of Painted Skye Management/Etiquette Catering – Rapid City, SD
  • Megan Young, Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Director of Strategy and Special Projects for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians – Atmore, AL

Those interested in attending the 40 under 40 gala can register by clicking here. The Ceremony will also include a silent auction to benefit the National Center’s scholarship program. Those interested in donating an item for the silent auction should contact Yvette Fielder at for more information.