Emerging Leaders Making a Difference Today

On July 7, PWNA held a celebration event to honor 13 graduates of our 4 Directions Development Program (4D). The graduates celebrated the completion of a 6-month long leadership development process, marked by graduates sharing how the program had already impacted their personal and professional lives. All the graduates spoke about many of the challenges they face working in the communities they serve, and in the face of this adversity, these emerging leaders seek to improve the quality of life and share a common belief that giving up is not an option.

4D recruits and trains “emerging leaders” working and living on tribal reservations in the Northern Plains and Southwest regions of the United States. We consider an emerging leader as someone who is already recognized as a local leader, someone others can go to for support, a trusted member of the community. An emerging leader is also someone who is willing to expand their knowledge base and learn new skills that will impact their personal and professional contributions to the lives of those around them.

Miranda Lente, Isleta and Acoma ancestry, joined the 4D cohort so that she could enhance her skills and ability to impact the lives of others. “The 4D training program description was different and interesting. I knew it would benefit my current or future career path,” Miranda noted.

Emerging leaders like Miranda seem to have a constitution for being of service to others. This quality may be steeped in a Native perspective of what a true leader is – one that has a balanced focus on serving others rather than solely for personal gain. For Miranda, the goal of personal and professional success is not only for her but the benefit of others. She credits her mother Karen for being a role model and mentor in helping her to develop this quality.

As a loan officer for Tiwa Lending Services, Isleta Pueblo, Miranda is helping members in her community learn about finances, credit, personal loans, and home purchase. The organization’s website explains that the purpose of Tiwa Lending Services is “to serve as a leader for Economic and Social development of financial excellence for Tribal Communities at large” and to provide “services to the people of Isleta Pueblo and Surrounding Communities seeking financial assistance through loans, financial education and home ownership by developing innovative products and services.” This seems to be a perfect job for Miranda and you can hear the excitement and good energy when she talks about her work. In 4D, Miranda achieved both her personal goal of improving her health and professional goal of Improving her networking skills.

PWNA launched the 4D capacity building service to provide ongoing support to emerging tribal leaders. Components include four two-day sessions focused on skills assessment, leadership training, professional and personal goal setting and individualized mentoring for 10-15 participants over a six-month period. Cohorts are hosted regionally to support participation from all tribes in our 12-state service area. To date, 135 Native leaders from 35 tribes in 6 states have graduated from 4D.

The 4 Directions Development Program is a good example of how Partnership With Native Americans is fulfilling its mission to serve immediate needs and support long-term solutions. 4D emerging leaders like Miranda are bound to have lasting impacts in the communities they serve and PWNA is honored to be of service to them.

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