Spotlight on a Native-Owned Business: Soaring Bird Solutions
Karla Bylund—member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation—started Soaring Bird Solutions, a Native American Woman-owned Human Resources consulting firm, in 2015. The firm specializes in services including policy review, engagement surveys, and more, utilizing a network of human resources professionals made available to the firm’s clients. Over the past three years, Soaring Bird Solutions has exhibited at The National Center’s Reservation Economic Summit (RES). During COVID-19 disruptions, Karla was able to keep her company in the black through connections she made at past RES events, showing that when Indian Country works together, we all can prosper.
Keep reading below to learn more about Soaring Bird Solutions and Karla Bylund. We hope you enjoy our interview!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business (location, tribal affiliation, type of work, professional background, etc.).
My name is Karla Bylund and I am a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I founded Soaring Bird Solutions, a Human Resources consulting firm, in 2015.
I have over twenty years of experience in the human resources profession, the majority of which has been in Indian Country. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Kansas State University. I also hold a Diversity and Inclusion certification from Cornell University and a Senior Human Resource certification from the Society of Human Resource Management. I have been a contributing member of the Forbes Human Resource Council since 2017 and published an article with Forbes on the topic of diversity.
Soaring Bird Solutions is a Native American Woman -consulting firm which provides professional Human Resource consulting services including compensation and organizational analysis, human resource audit and assistance, policy review, employee relations investigations, engagement surveys, career development and customized training. Soaring Bird Solutions partners with a team of professionals in the hospitality and casino industries including former CEOs, tribal attorneys, and former human resource directors who are available to assist on projects.
2. COVID-19 has been devastating to many Native American communities. Why is it important for all of us to work together to combat and recover from COVID-19?
Native American communities are often forgotten in the midst of chaos and crisis. No one is speaking for us, so we have to work together to combat crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Had it not been for the advocacy from The National Center and other Indian Country interest groups, Native American tribes and tribal communities would not have received any funding from the CARES Act.
3. Have you ever attended a Reservation Economic Summit? How was that experience, and how has the National Center helped you in the development of your business?
I have attended many RES conferences and have had a vendor booth for the past three years. The best marketing tool I have is building relationships in Indian Country. RES gave me the opportunity to meet many potential clients and allies. Last year, COVID devastated my business. However, two contracts kept me in the black and those were through contacts I met at RES.
4. Where and how can our readers purchase your products or services?
Soaring Bird Solutions, LLC
5. Anything else you want to add?
In 1997, my father, Karl Simecka, president of Arrowhead Technologies, was named Indian Business Owner of the Year by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. I worked for him at the time and that was when I was first introduced to The National Center.