MESA, Ariz. — The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center) on Tuesday released its 2020 class of Native American 40 Under 40 award recipients.

The Native American 40 Under 40 recognizes 40 emerging American Indian and Alaska Native leaders under the age of 40 from across Indian Country. Nominated by their peers, the 2020 40 Under 40 winners have exemplified leadership, initiative, and, especially during COVID-19, resiliency and dedication towards their communities and businesses. This year's 40 Under 40 represent the best from academia, the medical field, government, non-profits, the legal field, and more.

This year, the Native American 40 Under 40 award recipients will be announced virtually through the National Center’s social media pages in the coming weeks.

Additionally, award recipients will be honored at RES 2021. The 2020 class joins well over 400 previous winners that have been honored over the last decade. The full list of 2020 40 Under 40 award recipients can be found below.

“The Native American 40 Under 40 awards recognize the hard-work, dedication, and perseverance of our best and brightest,” National Center President and CEO Chris James said. “Every year I am impressed by the wide range of accomplishments of our 40 Under 40 winners. The 2020 class shows us what young Native American and Alaska Native leaders are capable of – and what they are already accomplishing.”

  • Dr. Layton Lamsam, Osage Nation; Resident, Yale University Department of Neurosurgery 
  • Ashley Hemmers, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe; Tribal Administrator, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe 
  • Sheldon Spotted Elk, Northern Cheyenne Tribe; Director of Indian Child Welfare, Casey Family Programs
  • Amanda (Mandy) Cheromiah, Pueblo of Laguna; Director, Native SOAR (Student Outreach, Access and Resiliency), University of Arizona Native Nations Institute (NNI)
  • Dr. Nicole Been, Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects, Bacone College
  • Ventura Lovato, Kewa Pueblo – Santo Domingo Pueblo; Education Program Specialist (School Boards), Bureau of Indian Education
  • Dr. Eryka Charley, Navajo; Director, Native American Student Services, University of Northern Colorado
  • Curtis DeCora, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Business Strategist, Superior Marketing
  • Dr. M. Crystal Lee, Dine’; Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico
  • Kenrick Escalanti, Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe; Multimedia Resource and Development Specialist, National Congress of American Indians
  • Brooks Boyd, Forest County Potawatomi; Executive Councilman, Forest County Potawatomi
  • Delonda Pushetonequa, Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; Treasurer, Tribal Council, Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki Nation)
  • Rochell Werito, Muscogee Creek; Cultural Programs Coordinator, Native American Student Services, Oklahoma City Public Schools
  • Mary Parker, Cherokee Nation; Management and Program Analyst, National Indian Gaming Commission
  • JT Willie, Navajo; Executive Director, Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development
  • Jacob Schellinger, Stockbridge-Munsee; Vice President of Government Relations, National Congress of American Indians
  • Bob Peters, Gun Lake Tribe; Chairman, Gun Lake Tribe Tribal Council
  • John Lowery, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina; Regionals Operations Director, North Carolina Department of Commerce 
  • Dr. Tyler Parisien, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Program Director, Turtle Mountain Community College
  • Leann Sommer, Louden/Galena Tribe; Director of Sales, In-Group Hospitality, LLC. (Hyatt Place Anchorage – Midtown)
  • Chris Welch, Cherokee Nation; Supervisor of Employee Relations and Development, Cherokee Nation
  • Levi Brown, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; Tribal Affairs Director, State of Minnesota – Department of Transportation
  • Troy Macbeth Abromaitis, Lytton - Nlaka'pamux Nation; President, Real Estate Institute of British Columbia
  • Leroy Silva, Pueblo of Laguna; Community Coordinator, Notah Begay III Foundation
  • Jayme Davis, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Program Director, Native Governance Center
  • DR. Gage Boardingham, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes; Clinical Pharmacist, Cherokee Indian Hospital; Tribal Government Executive, The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes; Founder and CEO, The Living Entrepreneurial Aspirations Project
  • Josh Vo, Yupik of Andreatskt; Regulatory Compliance Manager, Koniag Government Services; General Manager, Tuknik Government Services (TGS); General manager, Kadiak, LLC.
  • Dr. David J. O’Connor, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; American Indian Studies Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Calista Pinnecoose, Navajo Nation; President, North Stone, LLC.
  • Michele Scott, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; Executive Director, Health Education Center, Inc
  • Rudy Cruz, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribal Community; Tribal Councilman, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribal Community; General Manager, Tigua Facilities, Inc.
  • Michael Douglas, Haida – enrolled Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Office, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium 
  • Agnetha Gloshay, White Mountain Apache, Navajo and Kiowa; Project Manager, Roanhorse Consulting, LLC.; Board Member, Family Independence Initiative; Activator, SheEO; Co-Founder, Native Women Lead
  • Rayburn ‘Jake’ Donaldson, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Managing Partner, Method Architecture
  • Tasha Fridia, Wichita Kiowa Caddo; Assistant Director, Tribal Youth Resource Center – Tribal Law and Policy Institute 
  • Tesia Zientek, Citizen Potawatomi Nation; Education Director, Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • Amy McCarter, Cherokee Nation; Community Relations Manager, Cherokee Nation Businesses
  • Stephanie Masterman, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska (Tlingit and Haida); Retail Manager, Eighth Generation
  • Dr. Ashleigh Coser, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma/Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma; Psychologist, Cherokee Nation Health Services
  • Serene Lawrence, Anishinaabe/Hopi; Senior Project Manager, Eighth Generation

More Stories Like This

NCAI Calls Out MLB Commissioner for Giving the Atlanta Baseball Team a Pass on Tomahawk Chop
Pope Francis Agrees to Visit Canada to Discuss Healing and Reconciliation for Catholic Church’s Involvement in Residential Schools
Economic Impact Study Reveals Native Tourism is a $14 Billion Industry
Native News Online Editor Levi Rickert on Native America Calling on Tuesday’s Program
IllumiNative Issues Statement Ahead of Start of World Series on the “Tomahawk Chop”

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff