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Welcoming New Team Members to The National Center

 The National Center means business for Indian Country, and that mission is something our staff lives out every day. Thanks to The National Center’s dedicated team, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and American Indian entrepreneurs and business owners always have someone on their side. That’s why we’re always excited to welcome new team members who are just as passionate about economic development in Indian Country as those we serve. We recently welcomed three new team members – take a minute to learn more about them!

Keep reading below to learn more about Emerald Skye Byrd, Lauryn Ross, and Shelby Kinlichee!


Emerald Skye Byrd, Public Relations Coordinator

Emerald Skye Byrd is The National Center’s Public Relations Coordinator. A member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Nokko Clan, Emerald holds a Master’s in Advertising from Savannah College of Art & Design, as well as a Bachelors in Digital Media and an Associates in AVATAR from Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she served as the Native American Student Organization’s Vice President from 2010-2012 and as President from 2012-2014. She has been and remains active in her tribe’s educational and cultural activism, often representing the Coushatta Nation in national events.

Creative solutions are Emerald’s specialty. At age 19, while working with the Coushatta Tribe, she designed and produced her first mobile app, a dictionary of the Koasati language still in use today.

Byrd’s career in marketing is multifaceted, including extensive experience in language and cultural activism, database management and research, branding, social media management, digital creative and production, with strong focus on public relations. She has collaborated with numerous corporations in Atlanta, Georgia while pursuing her master’s. She was employed at Coushatta Casino Resort for 5 years, and with her tribe for 9 years prior before joining The National Center team.





Lauryn Ross, Accounting Clerk

Lauryn Ross is the National Center’s Accounting Clerk. Lauryn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in art from Carroll University. Prior to joining The National Center team, Lauryn was given the opportunity to work with the Cross-Cultural Experience Program in Thailand. During her time there she was able to gain experience working with other cultures and even learned how to speak Thai. Lauryn is excited to be a part of the team and is eager to apply her knowledge and skills to the finance team.

During Lauryn’s free time she enjoys spending time with animals and quality time with her family. Her favorite hobbies include painting and collecting puzzles.






Shelby Kinlichee, Export Business Development Specialist

Shelby Kinlichee is The National Center’s Export Business Development Specialist, helping to administer programs under The National Center-operated Arizona MBDA Export Center. Shelby holds has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in biostatistics, epidemiology, nutrition and American Indian studies from the University of Arizona. She is also a proud member of the Nazlini community of the Navajo Nation. Her previous work includes business development and giving back to her tribe, the Navajo Nation. Prior to joining The National Center, Shelby was a part of Navajo Nation COPE, as a Training Coordinator. While there, she helped train the workforce to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through contact tracing, data collection, and expanding resources to rural areas of the Nation.