Women Wednesday – Native American Leaders

Wilma Mankiller
Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 1945, Wilma Mankiller is a descendent of Cherokee Indians, a tribe that was forced to leave its homelands in the 1830s. Her family moved to San Francisco, California, with the hopes of more opportunities, however, because of poverty and discrimination, the family struggled.

Wilma’s passion to help her people was inspired by Native Americans’ attempts to reclaim Alcatraz Island in the 1960s. As an adult, she returned to Oklahoma and began working for the Cherokee Nation as a tribal planner and program developer.

In 1983, Wilma ran for and was elected to serve as deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation. A mere two years later, she was named the tribe’s principal chief—becoming the very first woman in the Cherokee Nation to hold the position. Throughout her career, she advocated for improving the Cherokee Nation’s government, healthcare, and education systems. In 1998, Wilma received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her leadership and activism to better the lives of Native Americans.

 

Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan 
We’re proud to call Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the national president and chair of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, one of our own. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Women Corporate Directors Foundation, which promotes and strengthens women in the boardroom. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation tribe, Kathy served under George W. Bush’s administration on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. She also served as a commissioner on the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office Commission, where she was responsible for guiding the tribe’s economic investments, approving development contracts, and reviewing educational programs.

Kathy’s tenure in the accounting profession led her to a series of leadership roles within KPMG, including managing partner of tax, vice chairman of human resources, chief diversity officer, and chief corporate responsibility officer. She currently works with the KPMG Board Leadership Center to broaden governance discussions regarding business and society and is the national leader for Total Impact Strategy.

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