RUSSELL F. PEDRO

RUSSELL F. PEDRO

Business Development Specialist for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico (AICCNM) and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center.

He is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, Village of Paraje – one of the 19 Pueblo Indian Tribes of New Mexico, located 45 miles west of Albuquerque.

Russell is passionate about Native Small Business, Community and Economic Development. The motto he follows is: ACCESS to Capital + ACCESS to Opportunities = Job Creation & Economic Development.

The AICCNM goal is to assist small business from all walks of life with Government Certifications including SAM Registration, Hub Zone Certifications, SBA 8(a) Certifications, Minority and Women-Owned and SDB Certifications. AICCNM also assists its members and clientele with Loan and Financial Packaging, Lines-of-Credit, Bonding, Insurance, Procurement Assistance, Procurement Packaging, Exporting and Networking.

Russell was the recipient of the Martin Olson Memorial Scholarship; R.O. Anderson Schools of Management and the Presidential Scholarship from the University of New Mexico and attended UNM’s – Robert O. Anderson School of Management, concentrating in Entrepreneurial Studies, Travel Tourism Management and Communications. He received a Professional Certificate, from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Minority Business Program. He currently serves on the Native American Training Institute (NATI) and Giving Tree Learning Center Board of Directors.

In October 2013, Russell was the recipient of one of the Native American “40 Under 40” awards from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development and was also awarded a 2013 American Indian Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from the American Indian Business Association (AIBA). He is a proud father of his children – Julius, Max and Keanna Lane and leaves us with this statement: ‘Hush’dra’meh / Goo’meh – Stay Strong, Be Strong’

Russell was one of the presenters at the 2015 World Indigenous Business Forum held in October in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This is taken from his presentation.

SO WHO ARE WE AT THE AMERICAN INDIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF NEW MEXICO…

Our mission and vision is simple and powerful – we are here ‘to help native people achieve successful economic development initiatives while incorporating, strengthening and building upon tribal and community values. We are a membership based organization that actively facilitates business growth, workforce development, community and economic development and convention and tourism within the State of New Mexico.’

OUR MOTTO IS ‘DRIVING AMERICAN INDIAN BUSINESS SUCCESS’.

We currently work with businesses, tribal entities, governments, organizations and individuals interested in entrepreneurship and community and economic development which includes 475 small businesses, 30 corporate businesses, 45 non profits, organizations and individuals from all walks of business life of which 80% percent are Native American owned and operated. As mentioned in my bio, we are here to assist businesses and tribes with government certifications, loans and financial packaging, lines-of credit, bonding, insurance, procurement assistance, procurement packaging and networking.

We also are honored to work with the 23 tribes in New Mexico which include the 19 Pueblos, Mescalero and Jicarilla Apache Tribes, the Navajo Nation and businesses within the Southern Ute Nation.

NEXT I WANT TO FOCUS ON THIS WORK CALLED COLLABORATION.

What does collaboration mean? There are no wrong answers. According to my friend Webster – it is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations ‘work together’ toward an intersection of common goals. In particular, teams, businesses and people who work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for a finite resource.

While attending college, we were asked to do a history paper on the great depression and interview our family or those in our community on how life was during these times so I interviewed my grandparents. Each had a different view and experience during those times… my grandmother was living in a box car as a child in the City of Gallup while her father was working for the Santa Fe Railroad Company and noticed a huge disturbance with people living there. The conditions included food shortages, lost jobs, poverty and despair. Times were lean. Times were rough she mentioned. I then asked my grandfather how his experience was during the depression – he had been living on the reservation during this time – and he told me ‘what depression’ – I was like what? He then said during that time – the people, families, native communities, gathered, danced prayed, harvested, came and ate together as one… as a collective…. Different villages who raised crops traded with others tribes who hunted, people and nations got over their differences and helped one another, and broke bread with one another. Don’t get me wrong _ it was tough, but not as bad as it was in the major cities he told me. It was a time of reflection, a time of deep prayer and forgiveness and a time for the people to wake up and come together as one.

BUT HE MENTIONED THIS IS OUR CULTURE… OUR WAY OF LIFE…. WE SHOULD NOT ONLY COME TOGETHER DURING TIMES OF TROUBLES BUT IN TIME OF PROSPERITY… AND THIS GOES FOR TODAY.

Remember where our people have been and what may soon come. These were and are powerful words that I have learned, each word is so vital to have and remember… we are always reminded and yes, scolded from our elders, our tribal leaders, our kiva families, our communities, that we are all decision makers and to be mindful of our decision making that will affect our children, our children’s children. What are we doing today that will affect our younger generations and not to forget where we have come from, our culture, our language, our dances, and our people. They also say that it takes a community to raise a child. Our hope is that it takes a small business community to raise strong business people who are here to help our local economies by creating jobs and by creating opportunities not just for one individual but for all!

We are so honored to work with over 85 community resource partners in the State of New Mexico, at the state, local, tribal, county, city and federal levels – in all areas including other Chambers of Commerce, Big Brother, financial, high school, colleges and universities. We have also been honored to work with native companies at the national level and even up in Canada. Ms. Leslie Lounsbury, Publisher of Say Magazine, I would not be here today if it was not for you. As you know it takes time, dedication and commitment to build these relationships – I thank you!

Lastly our youth – our future. It is so vital that we invest in our youth – that we inspire, encourage and give them good examples to look up to. We are now working on our 3rd Annual ‘Youth’ Impact Summit hosted in conjunction with our Annual New Mexico Native American Economic Summit to allow students an experience that provides insight and exposure to the success that exists within our tribal communities and the community at large. The youth summit presents learning opportunities through impact sessions on leadership, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, art, STEM fields and community resources available to students. Each of these sessions is created to motivate, encourage and show students how they can become leaders, entrepreneurs, find their passion and make a difference in their community. Our goal is also to promote innovation through ‘the shark tank challenge’ business/service plan competition and foster creativity through the youth artist t-shirt contest. Our main goals for the youth ‘impact’ summit are to promote youth entrepreneurship, empower the future leaders and cultivate a sense of harmony in the community through communication and collaboration between the youth and the leadership. We hope that by bringing the community together in this way, every student will walk away with either an internship, mentorship, scholarship, an entrepreneurial award, a job opportunity, networking experience and at the very least, a sense of belonging and acceptance from the community that encourages them to pursue higher education, take on leadership roles and get involved in the community in a positive way.

WE NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES THAT IT IS CRITICAL WE PASS DOWN OUR LANGUAGE, OUR RELIGION, OUR CEREMONIES, OUR DANCES, OUR PRAYERS, OUR KNOWLEDGE, OURSELVES BUT ALSO KEEP OUR MINDS OPEN TO LEARNING FROM THEM LISTENING TO THEIR QUESTIONS, THEIR POINTS OF VIEW, THEIR KNOWLEDGE, THEIR HEARTS, THEIR MINDS AND SOULS.

We are proud of all of you!

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