JoDonna Ward’s life changed 11 years ago when her trailblazing mom passed away and left the future of the family business uncertain because no one else could take it over. Despite having no clue how to run the business or any entrepreneurial experience, she quit her city job and returned to the small, remote town of Kayenta, Arizona – Gateway to Monument Valley. In this episode she shares her story, struggles, and determination to stick it out and manage 27 employees. (40 mins)
"I try to practice strong values from my culture. The stronger we are with our connection to our identity then we are strong in our mind, body and spirit. We should not have to quantify our Indianness. Our language tells us a lot about where we come from."
"Recently helped raise $1.8 million for Standing Rock. I got into rapping through poetry and hip-hop. A key to my success is I don’t DRINK. Not too many Dine get the opportunity I have and I am thankful."
"Who me?!! Who me??" Retired Navajo educator GloJean Todacheenie remembers saying to herself, over 55 years ago when her classmates asked her to run for freshman class president. She won her first race and many more over the decades that followed. In this podcast, she talks about her insights into education and leadership. She also talks about her defeat in a bitter campaign for a seat on the New Mexico state legislature. (50 mins)
(Photo credit: Democratic State Legislative Campaign Committee)
"I used to be overweight and I drank a lot. I had a complete life style change. I quit a race and the rest of the week I asked myself why did I quit. If you have a bad day you learn from it. I set goals by trying to improve my times from the previous year."
Al Henderson believes “It’s time for young people to take over.” Henderson may be the only Navajo with a master’s degree in economics. When he is not teaching economics and management courses at the University of New Mexico Gallup (N.M.) branch where he holds the title of Lecturer, he spends time helping other tribal members get into business and advocating on their behalf.
Henderson believes that the way to get young people involved is too: “ Give them hope and a role,” he said. “You do that by setting up a situation where they have a vested interested. Vested interest to participate and there would be a reward at the end. At this point, the people who have a vested interest are the people who have leases across the reservation.”
"I use modeling and acting as a tool to help my people. I’m more of a giver than I am a taker. The inspiring words from my people energizes me. Adam Beach kept telling me keep going. You are never too late to do what you want to do."
Jolonzo showed his collection at NYC's Fashion Week. Jolozo stated, "I get my originality from living on the reservation. I was told to stay true to myself. My clothing line is an independent brand for the independent thinker."
In 2014, Dineh Benally was tapped by former Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr. to serve as his running mate in the contentious Navajo election. In this interview, Mr. Benally shares his thoughts on leadership, how he was molded as a leader, his inspirations, and his views on business. (46 mins)