Executive Leadership

Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities Program

Program Dates: May 6-10, 2024

Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities (LPIBSC) is a collaboration among Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education, NAFOA, and AFOA Canada. Its mission is to inspire and support Native finance professionals and leaders, as well as equip them with the tools to lead high-performing, innovative communities or organizations.

Developed under the guidance of HBS Executive Education, Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities is the only Executive Education program of its kind in North America. Together, esteemed HBS faculty, Native guest speakers who are knowledgeable in their fields, and participants from Native nations in Canada and the United States embark on the HBS campus for four days for a truly transformative experience. 

This executive-level program enrolls a select group of professionals and leaders from the United States and Canada each year. As part of each cohort, you can engage in interactive and participatory sessions and hear diverse perspectives from your peers. Participants will also receive a Harvard Business School Certification of Program Completion at the program’s conclusion.

FINAL Deadline: March 1, 2024

Please note: All available scholarships have been currently allocated. 

"I was truly fortunate to have the ability to attend such a dynamic program that gets to the heart of the key components of our economic sustainability in Indian Country. This was an invaluable program that every tribal leader should participate in at some point in their career."
Rodney Butler
Chairman, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Rodney Butler

LPIBSC Overview

This program provides you with the opportunity to view community investments in a broader context. While it is important to understand investment tools, strategies and products, it is equally important to understand how governance practices can shape the management of investments. By examining different institutions and covering topics such as, entrepreneurial finance, negotiations and change management, this program provides a solid grounding in the fundamentals of investment management. You will build the skills and confidence to immediately apply financial analysis techniques, set realistic performance goals, and play a bigger role in helping your community optimize its financial resources and strengthen its sustainability.

When you participate in an Executive Education program on the HBS campus, you enter an immersive experience where every aspect of the learning model has been carefully designed to facilitate your growth. Your learning will take place on your own, in your living group, and in the larger classroom driven by the renowned HBS case method.

Video from AFOA Canada

Investment Governance

Make informed decisions about different approaches to portfolio management.

Implement effective governance structures. Utilize valuation techniques for assessing investment opportunities.

Entrepreneurial Finance

Develop a framework for evaluating early stage ventures.

Make informed decisions about how incorporate different assets into your portfolio.


Identify effective ways of engaging with diverse and numerous stakeholders.

Utilize frameworks for effective negotiation independently and within a team.

Change Management

Develop effective strategies for leading complex and dynamic organizations.

Enhance your leadership capabilities and develop strategies to enact positive change in your community.

Application Process

Program Details


The program fee covers tuition, books, case materials, accommodations, and most meals. Payment is due upon admission into the program.

Limited tuition assistance is available for eligible participants and generously supported by Travois.


May 6-10, 2024
All program sessions are mandatory. Participants should expect to be engaged in the program from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Group events and meetings outside of these hours are also required and mandatory for participants to attend.

Location & Accomodations

Harvard Business School Campus
Boston, MA 02163
Program participants are encouraged to stay in the HBS residences and the cost of the stay is included in the cost of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Questions

Tribal government leaders including Chiefs, Chairpersons, Chief Executive Officers, Treasurers, Chiefs of Staff, and Senior Administrators.

Finance professionals including, Chief Financial Officers, Executive Officers, Senior Financial Managers, and Senior Accounting Staff with experience working in or with a tribal nation or Native organization.

Although there are no formal educational requirements, admission is a selective process based on your professional achievement and organizational responsibilities. 

NAFOA has a limited amount of scholarships that we can provide to program participants. If you would like to apply for funding, please complete the “Financial Needs Statement” portion of the application.

Submission of a financial needs statement does not guarantee financial assistance.

Applicants will be notified by mid-March about their application status.

If you have not received any notifications by late March, please contact education@nafoa.org.

No payment is necessary until you have been accepted. We will reach out to selected participants with payment instructions.

Payment is required prior to the program state date for those selected to attend.

No, you do not have to be employed at or affiliated with a NAFOA Member Tribe to apply.

General Questions

Upon successful completion, all participants will be awarded a Harvard Business School Certificate of Program Completion.

Faculty from the Harvard Business School will lead instructive sessions:

  • Tom Nicholas (Co-Chair) Abernathy Professor of Business Administration, Entrepreneurial Management
  • David L. Ager (Co-chair) Senior Fellow, Organizational Behavior and Managing Director, Executive Education
  • Ryan W. Buell – UPS Foundation Associate Professor of Service Management, Technology & Operations Management
  • Ramana Nanda – Professor of Business Administration, Entrepreneurial Management
  • Stuart C. Gilson – Steven R. Fenster Professor of Business Administration, Finance
  • James K. Sebenius – Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration, Negotiations
  • Adi Sunderarm – Marvin Bower Associate Professor of Business Administration, Finance

Participants will also learn from Native guest speakers who are knowledgeable in their fields, and other participants from Native nations in Canada and the United States.

The majority of HBS Executive Education participants stay on campus in several HBS Executive Education dormitory residences. Program participants are encouraged to stay in these residences and the cost of the stay is included in the cost of the program.

Bedding is provided in the dormitories.

LPIBSC is a four-day program and all program sessions are mandatory. The program begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends around 5:00 p.m. each day. To receive the most out of the program, group events and meetings outside of these hours are also required and mandatory for participants to attend.

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to education@nafoa.org for consideration. Participant cancellations must be made more than 30 days before the start of the program to receive a full refund. Cancellations or deferrals received 14 to 30 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of one-half of the program fee ($1,500). Requests received within 14 days are subject to full payment.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact education@nafoa.org.

LPIBSC Partners & Supporters

To learn more about giving to the NAFOA Institute, email Cody Harjo, Director of Media and Learning Initiatives, at cody@nafoa.org.

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