Lance Morgan | A Business Revolution

“If you are interested in Native issues, do what you need to do. One person can make a difference.”- Lance Morgan

If you listen to NextGen Native, chances are you know Lance Morgan. Lance is the CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc, a corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. He also is the managing partner of Frederick Peebles Morgan, and teaches at Arizona State University Law School.

Lance Morgan

Lance Morgan, courtesy of Ho-Chunk Inc.

I worked with Lance and his company in my last job and had the chance to get to hear his story a bit as he told the story of Ho Chunk Inc. The two are intertwined.

After studying economics and earning a law degree (official bio below), Lance moved back to his tribe and within a few years, started to implement the idea he had been tinkering with to create a tribally owned company. It’s a bit crazy now to think that not too long ago, this was a revolutionary idea.

Lance grew with the company, and it’s currently generating about $250 million in revenue. It’s a shining success in Indian Country. And not just because of how much it earns, but what it does with its profits, creating housing on the reservation, running a used car company to help tribal members build credit.

We discuss transition and trying to build the next generation of talent. I mentioned that a personal goal I have is 30 years from now, there will be 100 Lance Morgan’s and that will be the expectation. We discuss the transition the company is experiencing currently in its business lines. Lance shares some of his favorite podcasts (Freakonomics, Revisionist History, TED, Stuff they Didn’t Teach you in History Class, Revolutions, Harvard Business Review, NPR, and BBC to name a few).

This conversation spans far beyond business, including what Lance thinks is most important in life. It’s a jam packed 45 minutes, you may end up listening to it twice!

Lance Morgan Official Bio

Lance Morgan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ho-Chunk, Inc. Morgan launched Ho-Chunk, Inc. in 1994 as the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Under Morgan’s leadership, Ho-Chunk, Inc. has been recognized by a variety of national organizations including: Innovations in Government Award, sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation; Honoring Nations Award, also sponsored by Harvard; Minority Business Magazine, Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; Distinguished Alumni Speaker, Harvard Law School; Small Business Administration; U.S. Department of State; U.S. Department of Commerce; and the White House.

Morgan was selected as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2011. In 2012, he was awarded the Nebraska Builder Award by the University of Nebraska and the keynote speaker for commencement ceremonies. Morgan was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian in 2013/2014, he was honored with the Advocate of the Year Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

Morgan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Nebraska (B. S. 1990) and graduated from Harvard Law School (J.D. 1993). He is a member of the Minnesota Bar Association. Morgan is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

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