Lacey Horn on Managing $700 Million

“We are in a period of radical change…step into your role, do what you do best and raise the profile of tribes in a positive light.” Lacey Horn

Lacey Horn is a citizen of and treasurer for the Cherokee Nation. Principal Chief Bill John Baker appointed Lacey to this position In this role, Lacey is responsible for a budget that totals almost $700 million dollars for the Nation.

Lacey Horn

Lacey Horn, Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation

Lacey grew up in Vian, Oklahoma. I admire her story because it’s one that combines a steadfast comfort and certainty in her life goals, combined with seizing opportunities. Lacey worked hard to achieve her goals and these opportunities overlapped with her hard work.

From an early age she knew she planned to attend Southern Methodist University. After college, she went to work for KPMG, one of the “big 4” accounting firms. She moved to Chicago to experience something different. But she did so knowing that she planned to return home at some point. Lacey’s story reminded me of a previous idea I shared about walking your own path. It’s not always easy, but your life will be so much more rich because of it.

After the financial collapse in 2008, Lacey decided to move home. It was part of her plan, but she moved at a time when people at home told her not to, because the economy was so bad. She did anyway, and built an accounting business in Oklahoma. It was then that she was called by Chief Baker to serve.

In her role as treasurer, she’s built relationships at the Nation, has been recognized and appointed to leadership positions with organizations in Indian Country, and built bridges into other venues representing tribes in new arenas.

I really enjoyed this conversation for several reasons. Lacey is grounded but driven, committed and inquisitive. Her work in tribal finance is a personal interest for me, and is an area I think is ripe for growth over the next several years.

Lacey and I dive into several deep issues, and she shares some great practical advice to tackle these issues.

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