Early Career & Young Professional Development
Launched in 2017, the NAFOA Leadership Summit has provided Native American youth and young professionals the opportunity to learn about the current issues and policies impacting tribal economic development.
Summit attendees learn directly from tribal leaders and business professionals during a full day of programming that provides panel discussions regarding graduate school, career advancement, along with business and tribal economic development topics.
Following the Summit, participants attend the NAFOA Annual Conference. The two-day conference provides networking opportunities and facilitates important dialogues about tribal finance and economic issues impacting tribal economies.
Young professionals ages 21-27 years old participating in Career Basics are invited to apply for the NAFOA Leadership Summit.
- Career Basics Requirement
- Who Should Apply?
- How to Apply?
- Application Review and Notification
Coursework within Career Basics is designed to prepare participants for the NAFOA Leadership Summit.
Youth ages 21-27 years old participating in Career Basics are invited to apply for the NAFOA Leadership Summit. Interested applicants must be registered and making active progress in the current Career Basics session.
If you have participated and completed Career Basics within the past two years, you may use that to fulfill the requirement. Participants who registered for a past Career Basics but did not complete the program must re-register and participate for the current year. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to verify your Career Basics completion.
Nominations from Alumni and Partner Organizations
Alternatively, NAFOA invites Summit alumni and a select few eligible partner organizations to nominate individuals for the Leadership Summit. NAFOA will contact you if you have been nominated by a partner organization. We encourage nominees to register for Career Basics, but this requirement will be waived.
Nominated individuals must still submit a full application to be considered for the Leadership Summit. Please note, nominations are not a guarantee that you will be accepted into the program.
The Leadership Summit is designed to benefit:
- Undergraduate students studying business, finance, economics, or related topics;
- MBA graduates or students interested in pursuing an MBA;
- Young professionals interested in pursuing a career in finance, accounting, business, or related fields;
- Young professionals interested in tribal governance, finance, and/or administration.
To apply for the Leadership Summit, applicants must:
- Be a tribal citizen or have American Indian, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian descent;
- Be between the ages of 21-27 years old at the time of the Leadership Summit;
- Be located within the United States at the time of application and during the program dates;
- Be enrolled in the current session of Career Basics and making active progress/have completed a past Career Basics within the last 2 years, or be nominated by an alumnus or eligible NAFOA partner organization;
- Demonstrate a strong interest in learning more about the importance of tribal economies and the policies that impact tribal finance.
The application form will ask you to provide the following:
- Provide a clear and personal response to the following essay questions in 250 (min) -500 words (max)
- "Why is tribal economic development important? Provide your ideas and/or observations of tribal economic development and its impact on your community."
- "How do you expect attendance at the NAFOA Leadership Summit to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? What are your networking goals for the program?"
- Provide a recent transcript and/or list any relevant coursework in business, finance and/or economics;
- Current resume, preferably highlighting paid or volunteer experience in finance, accounting, business tribal administration, and related fields;
- Letter of recommendation (optional, but highly suggested)
REMINDER: To be considered a complete application, you must be enrolled and participate in the current active session of Career Basics, have completed a past Career Basics session within the last 2 years, or be nominated by a Summit alumnus or NAFOA partner organization.
Applicants will be scored based on:
- Strength of essay responses in the submitted application;
- Academic performance and professional and/or extracurricular experiences, especially related to business, finance, and related fields;
- Community involvement;
- Participation in the NAFOA Career Basics program or nomination status;
- If provided, letter of recommendation.
Selected Leadership Summit applicants will be notified via email and/or phone by early to mid-March to confirm their acceptance and attendance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Native American young professionals between the ages of 21-27 who are enrolled in Career Basics or nominated by a NAFOA partner or alumni.
Applicants must either be enrolled and be actively participating in Career Basics to apply.
Alternatively, NAFOA invites alumni and a select few Native organizations to nominate 1-2 young professionals. Those nominated do not have to complete Career Basics but are encouraged to do so.
Yes. Nominations from alumni and NAFOA partner organizations allow applicants to skip the Career Basics requirements. However, nominees must still complete the application form.
Nominations are not a guarantee that you will be accepted into the program.
If you completed Career Basics within the past 2 years, you may count that towards your current application. Please check with email@example.com for your completion status.
If you registered but did not finish a past session of Career Basics, you will need to register for the current active session.
Yes! We encourage all interested youth ages 18 – 27 to enroll in Career Basics. You can still enroll and participate in Career Basics during the program dates even if you are unable to attend the Leadership Summit.
The Summit schedule begins at 8:00 am until 5:00 pm on Sunday. All program sessions are mandatory. Attendees are also expected to attend the Member Tribe Reception from 5:00-7:00 pm.
During the Conference days, Leadership Summit attendees are expected to attend all events starting at 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. Additional dinners and receptions may also be added to the schedule.
Schedules are subject to change and attendees are generally expected to be available and in attendance from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm from Sunday to Tuesday.
All accepted applicants will receive full funding for the program. No additional application or information is needed.
The Leadership Summit funding provides support for the costs associated with participation in the program. Funding is available for travel/transportation, hotel costs, meals, conference registration fees, and the NAFOA Leadership Summit program fees.
Additionally, the dress code for the NAFOA Leadership Summit and NAFOA Conference is strictly business formal. To help attendees meet this expectation a $250.00 stipend is provided to purchase clothing.
The clothing stipend is provided as a reimbursement via check. Summit attendees must provide receipts as proof of purchase and be responsible for submitting a reimbursement request.
Yes. NAFOA will cover and coordinate air/bus/train travel to and from the Leadership Summit.
Expenses for ground transportation or driving will be reimbursed.
No, each Leadership Summit attendee will have their own hotel room provided for them.
NAFOA will coordinate the booking of hotel rooms and cover the expense.
Additional guests are not permitted to stay in attendees’ hotel rooms and be onsite unless they have independently registered for the NAFOA Conference.
If additional accommodations are required, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may require documentation to consider the request.
Please email email@example.com for any questions or concerns.
2024 Program Details
Cost of Program
Fully Funded ProgramThe Leadership Summit funding provides support for the costs associated with participation in the program, including travel/transportation, hotel costs, meals, conference registration fees, and the NAFOA Leadership Summit program fees. A $250 stipend to purchase business formal attire will also be provided.
Location & Accommodations
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel
The 2023 Leadership Summit will be held in Hollywood, FL. Attendees will be staying in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel for the duration of the Summit and Conference.
6300 Stirling Rd
Hollywood, FL 33024
The Leadership Summit will be held Sunday, April 28, 2024.Following the Summit, attendees will also attend the 42nd NAFOA Conference on April 29-30.
Attendees are required to arrive on Saturday, April 27, and can schedule departures for Wednesday, May 1.
The NAFOA Institute’s Leadership Summit, the virtual Career Basics program, and webinars are generously supported by philanthropic donations and individual donors.
To learn more about giving to the NAFOA Institute, email Cody Harjo, Director of Media and Learning Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org.