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Board & Staff

Applications Are Open!

MNIBA is now accepting applications for our Board of Directors. Download the information and application here!

MNIBA Board Application & Information

Our Board

Madonna Peltier-Yawakie

Madonna co-founded Turtle Island Communications, Inc. (TICOM) to provide telecommunication engineering and consulting services to Tribal Nations.  TICOM works with their clients to develop and implement broadband systems that meet National Broadband Plan Standards for rural and remote high cost service areas.  TICOM’s accomplishments include engineering, project management, construction management to implement the following:

  • The first 100% tribally owned and ETC Designated Commercial Wireless System in the Nation
  • The first 100% tribally owned Fiber to the Home Network which provides 1 gigabit capacity to all residents and businesses within its tribal lands.

TICOM’s work contributes to closing the digital divide in Indian Country, and increasing broadband access to enhance economic, education, public safety, and healthcare opportunities for those living and working on tribal lands. 

Madonna’s career in the Telecommunication Industry spans many years. She has contributed to the FCC’s Telecom/Broadband Policies for Tribal Nations.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration, and a Masters in Community & Regional Planning from NDSU.  Madonna is Citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

“I have been involved with MNIBA since its inception, and I remain involved with MNIBA because of its focus on business development issues that are relevant to American Indian business owners.” – Madonna Peltier Yawakie

Shanne Soulier

Shanne Soulier founded Big Spirit, Inc., as a premier full-service marketing consulting firm and advertising products supplier. The mission of Big Spirit, Inc., is to help individuals, small businesses, and non-profits succeed by utilizing strategic marketing strategies and unique promotional products that build brand awareness to maximize their goals.

Shanne has over twenty years of experience working in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He has consulted on marketing initiatives for numerous companies including North Memorial Medical Center, Nestle, YWCA, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Minneapolis and St. Paul International Film Festival, Compass Group NAD, and Target.

He has experience building brand initiatives, coordinating multi-channel marketing programs, developing communications strategies, and evolving public relations campaigns. He has also been a key player in the development of merchandise and retail lines that have helped create unique revenue streams for his clients.

Shanne is a Citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

“A large part of my personal and business mission is to foster and promote the growth and prosperity of our people and the communities we live in. Serving as a board member, I can be part of key initiatives that make a real impact. It also allows me to connect, partner and build alliances with other visionaries, entrepreneurs, key partners and leaders in the Native community who share similar goals.” – Shanne Soulier

Dani Pieratos

Dani is an Anishinabe Ikwe (Indigenous woman), a mother, a hockey player, and a social entrepreneur. Dani served as the tribal housing Office Manager for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. She recently left her position, to focus full-time on building her family’s start-up, Harvest Nation, an aeroponic farm to bring fresh, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to her region.   

She graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a B.A. degree in Native Studies with an honor’s thesis on asset building for Indian Country. Dani is a Citizen of Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.

“MNIBA is where we got our start in small business development, when we attended the Indianpreneurship business plan training. It gave us the confidence to push harder for Harvest Nation. In being a direct beneficiary of MNIBA’s great mission, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back by being a member of its Board of Directors as its Secretary.” -Dani Pieratos

Kim Strand

Kim Strand is a Minnesota State Behavioral Health Human Services Grant Manager.  She oversees multiple Tribal and American Indian grant projects.  She has a strong business, finance and technology background and assists in economic empowerment for Natives and other diverse communities.  She has been a business consultant for multiple non-profits, taught as an adjunct teacher at Tribal colleges, and managed the Tribal business portfolio at Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa Tribe.  She served on the American Indian Public Center board, and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce board as board treasurer.

She was awarded the Bush Leadership fellowship in 2008 and received her master of public affairs graduate degree from the University of Minnesota.  She received her bachelor of science in business and ethics degree from Crown College.  In her spare time, Kim spends time with her family, owns and operates a vacation rental company, and cares for 2 adoptive rescue dogs.

Kim is a Tribal descendant of Lac Courte Oreilles and St Croix Tribes.

“Being a part of Native American entrepreneurship through the MNIBA is important to strengthen our voice in industry, and to encourage others in our community to consider business ownership as a means of self-reliance.” -Kim Strand

Elaine Hansen

Elaine S. Hansen has been at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) since August 1999 and has served as the Director for the UMD Center for Economic Development (CED) since 2003. In her role she is also the Regional Director of both the Northeast and Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) covering the top third of the State’s geography.   From February 2015 until November 2015 she also served as the Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, Interim Director of Finance and co-director of Human Resources at UMD.   Her contribution is felt each year, by the 800 entrepreneurs and business owners that the CED serves. 

Other public service positions Elaine has held include serving as:

  • Commissioner of Administration for the State of Minnesota;
  • Finance Director for the City of Duluth;
  • Director of Audits for the Office of the State Auditor; and
  • Controller/Treasurer at Great Minnesota Corporation/Minnesota Technology.

She is a licensed certified public accountant (CPA), has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Minnesota, is an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Council, a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP), a Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and has worked with several non-profit organizations on financial management initiatives. 

Elaine is very active in community, state-wide and national organizations serving on numerous boards and committees.

“I support MNIBA because helping all entrepreneurs grow their business ideas is a passion of mine and working with an organization such as MNIBA helps target a specific audience and provides a greater reach.” – Elaine S. Hansen

LeAnn Littlewolf

LeAnn Littlewolf (Anishinaabe/Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag Band of Ojibwe) is Economic Development Director at the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). LeAnn has worked in both the nonprofit and policy advocacy sectors for over 25 years and carries a deep commitment to community leadership. She has worked as an executive director, provided direct services and program development. LeAnn has developed and designed a nonprofit organization focused on Native youth leadership and has assisted in the development of a startup focusing on Indigenous and rural women's leadership. Leanne is also a part of a leadership team for the Food Sovereignty initiative and development of Indigenous social enterprises at AICHO. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Education, a Master's degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership, and a Master's degree in Education. 

“The Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance has that Indigenous industriousness to create a new kind of economy that is driven by Native entrepreneurs and community. I am excited to join the Board of Directors to be one of many who work together to make a new kind of future for our people.” – LeAnn Littlewolf

Wayne L. Ducheneaux, II

Wayne Leo Ducheneaux II, is enrolled with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and is currently the Executive Director of the Native Governance Center (NGC) in St. Paul, MN., a nonprofit organization that assists Tribal nations in strengthening their systems of governance and capacity to exercise sovereignty. Prior to coming to NGC, he served on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council as a Representative from District 4, with two of those years as Vice-Chairman. Wayne is a member of the Four Band Community Fund's Board of Directors and through that work has developed a passion for economic development and entrepreneurship in Indian Country. Wayne is married to Megan Swan and they have two children Veda and Aiden.

"MNIBA's mission, spelled out in three letters ACT, aligns with my thoughts on moving forward improvements for Indian Country. I am proud to be associated with a progressive organization that aligns partners and connects resources to transform Native economies. It is my hope that through our work the economies for our people on reservations and the fortunes for all native entrepreneurs can grow and be prosperous on our own terms." – Wayne Ducheneaux, II

Jesse Sixkiller

Jesse Sixkiller is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an attorney at the law firm Gray Plant Mooty in Minneapolis, where he advises entrepreneurs in various corporate and transactional matters. Jesse is heavily involved with the local startup community. He has judged for the High Tech Division of MN Cup, an annual competition put on by a community-led, public-private partnership that reaches emerging entrepreneurs from across Minnesota and connects them with tools, resources, and support to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures. He also serves as a Lunar Services “expert” for the cohort of startups at Lunar Startups, an incubator dedicated to scaling and supporting women, people of color, and other high potential entrepreneurs.

Prior to private practice, Jesse was a law clerk at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota, and prior to law school, Jesse worked on federal policy matters in Washington, DC, for the executive branch of the Cherokee Nation. Jesse received his law degree at the University of Arizona and his undergraduate degree in both Government and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. Jesse and his family live in Minneapolis.

“I am proud to be a part of MNIBA where I can help empower indigenous entrepreneurs, improve tribal economies through entrepreneurship, and enrich non-tribal communities by increasing exposure to indigenous-run businesses and indigenous cultures.” – Jesse Sixkiller

 

Bruce Corrie, PhD. ~ Honorary Advisor

Bruce Corrie, PhD. is the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of St. Paul.  Prior to this he served 31 years at the University of Concordia as the Associate Vice-President, University Relations and International Programs and Professor of Economics. 

He has worked closely with ethnic communities to elevate the economic contributions of the Asian, Latino, Native American and African (ALANA) communities.  Bruce also serves on numerous boards through the state of Minnesota.

Bruce is an economist, with a PhD.in Economics from the University of Norte Dame, a Master of Business in Economics from North-Eastern Hill University, and a BA in Economics from St. Edmund University. 

Our Staff

Pamela Standing ~ Executive Director
Email: info@mniba.org  Phone: 218.850.8364

Pamela Standing left a 16-year international business career in 1991 to return home and immerse herself in grass roots organizing and rural tribal community wealth building. It was during this time she was able to draw upon her unique and diverse experiences from business and international travel to move into rural tribal business and nonprofit development. Standing’s passion is organizational transformation—serving as a catalyst to help organizations and businesses reach their potential, especially those that are restructuring. She brings with her well-rounded experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. 

Standing specializes in culturally-based business and strategic planning. Her experience has shown her that Indigenous-run organizations and owned-businesses can be healthy, enjoy financial growth, and succeed within the dominant business system without compromising cultural values. She endeavors to close the disparity gap through cooperative work, collaboration and forming partnerships and alliances that ultimately result in the sharing of resources.

In 2007, she helped co-found the Minnesota Indian Business Alliance (MNIBA) in response to the limited native-owned business and development occurring throughout the state.  Standing holds a BA in Education from the University of Washington and an MBA in International Business and Law. She is a Citizen of Cherokee Nation.

"Being involved in MNIBA has been a great source of personal learning and growth.  It is with deep pride that we can showcase the “indigenuity” of our native entrepreneurs and our relationship in trade and commerce, with its deep roots in our culture, history, trade routes, language and practices.  It is an honor to serve, learn and work with native businesses, tribal communities and native leaders” -Pamela Standing