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In this month’s profile of the National Center’s staff, we ask Chad Marchand a few questions about his background in Indian Country and role at the National Center. Chad joined the organization in October as Director of Business Development and Director of the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Program. Chad has a long history of working with tribes and tribal organizations, as well as community leadership groups, in both his professional and private lives. When he’s not studying for his latest degree or volunteering in the community, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, Reagan, or playing co-ed softball. We hope you enjoy getting to know Chad – and connecting with him via Linkedin or a National Center event near you.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work in Indian Country.

I have extensive experience in Indian Country, both professionally and personally. I was born and raised in Omak, Washington, and am a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. I earned my Bachelor of Arts (’05) in Political Science and History and my Master’s (’14) in Public Administration (Emphasis in National Security Policy) from The University of Arizona. I also earned in my Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis (’17) from the University of Maryland, College Park. And, I am currently enrolled at Georgetown University pursuing a Master’s in Professional Studies in Applied Intelligence. I anticipate graduating this Spring 2019.

I joined the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development in October as Director of Business Development and Director of the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Program.

Before joining the National Center, I was a Project Manager for The University of Arizona’s Native Nations Climate Adaptation Program. I worked with tribal nations throughout the United States on climate change and environmental issues. I have also served as the Community Justice Unit Supervisor for the Pima County, Arizona Attorney’s Office and was a Deputy Prosecutor with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for the Colville Confederated Tribes.

In the community, I am on The University of Arizona Native American Presidential Advisory Council, and I’m also the President of the Honors College Alumni Club and the Scholarship Chair of the Tucson CactusCats Alumni Club. Additionally, I with the City of Tucson’s Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) Governing Board. I was also appointed by former Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup to the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC). In addition, I was a member of the Flinn-Brown inaugural class for the Civic Leadership Institute, which is designed to train Arizona’s next leaders.

What made you interested in joining the National Center?

The National Center offered me a unique opportunity to continue working with tribal nations throughout the country, First Nations in Canada, and Indigenous populations throughout the world on issues that impact our communities’ economic growth. Professionally, I have always enjoyed positions that offer challenges and allow for personal growth; the National Center’s Director of Business Development and CDFI Program did just that.

Joining the National Center team also gave me the opportunity to work for a great leader, Mr. Chris James. I am at a point in my career where I am not only choosing a position, but I am choosing a leader from whom I can learn and follow. In my short time here, Chris has offered unmatched guidance and mentorship. I appreciate that I get to learn from him in this position.

What have you enjoyed about your experience at the National Center? What are you working on currently?

“The team!” We have a great new team that has hit the ground running. In just three short months at the National Center, we have hosted the 10th Anniversary of the 40 Under 40 Awards, Native Edge Institutes in Oklahoma and Alaska, and are already finalizing preparations for the Reservation Economic Summit (RES) and 50th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas, NV. I have personally traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to broker a relationship with First Nations and attended the Aboriginal Business Match Summit in October. I also traveled to Washington, D.C. at the end of November to speak on a panel at the Native CDFI Network Summit. And, in December I moderated a panel at the Navajo Nation Economic Summit on Native CDFIs and how they could potentially assist small business development.

Furthermore, I have been assisting in our RES sponsorships and have been leading our efforts in the development of our CDFI which we hope to launch very soon. And, lastly, I am excited to announce that we have been able to solidify our relationship with the American Indian Business Leaders organization and will be accepting student interns this Summer at the National Center headquarters in Mesa, AZ.

What’s the one piece of advice or words of encouragement you would give to a young professional who wants to get more involved in his or her tribe, or the broader American Indian and Alaska Native community?

Take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and do not hesitate to take chances! All of us have a fear of failing and very few take risks in life because of this fear. If you want to be a part of change and be a part of leaving the world a better place than when you came into it, you must be willing to leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do more. Do not be afraid of pursuing that higher education degree. Do not be afraid to apply for a loan to start your own business. Do not be afraid to take a leadership position within your own tribal community.

When you’re not working on attending a National Center event, where can we find you? What are your hobbies?

Right now, graduate school keeps me pretty busy, but when I am not working or going to school you can find me attending a community board meeting or at one of my daughter Reagan’s school events. I also play on a co-ed softball team on Sunday nights. If you want to learn more about me, you can connect with me via LinkedIn.