Tag Archives: DC

Joe Sarcinella on Fatherhood, Minimalism and Intentional Living

When Joe Sarcinella and I spoke, he was days away from becoming a father. As of publishing this episode, he is now a proud father (congrats!!). As a recent parent, I thought it would be fun to have Joe on NextGen Native to get the perspective of a recent first-time parent and a to-be parent. For those that aren’t parents, or have kids out of the house, this episode is also for you.

Although we talk about being parents, the conversation occurred in the same context that our conversations did below. That is, the topic of parenting is centered within living life with intentionality, in control.  How does one intentionally raise their child? How does one intentionally plan the rest of their life? One example: how do you raise a child in a 500 square foot apartment?

We also discussed Joe’s latest diet (previously vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, paleo), and his latest approach to physical fitness (weight lifting, to ultra marathons, to weight lifting, back to ultra marathons), and minimalism.

It’s a fun episode, and I hope that you benefit from it as much as I’ve had. Personally, I’m trying to apply more minimalism into my life, or at least rethinking it, thanks to Joe.



Heath Clayton on Hacking Growth, Mentors, and Success Through Naïveté

“People like genuine people. People like people who are authentic, people lke people who show up with their true identity. And being Chickasaw is part of who I am.”-Heath Clayton

Heath Clayton

Heath Clayton

One of the areas in which I love to dabble is what I call “life system hacking.” The basic idea is finding ways to create a life, circumvent expectations or bypass the norms of which we all are led to believe cannot be bypassed or circumvented. There are a lot of people who write about the subject online, and it can get a bit of a reputation as self-help like content. But I continue to expose myself to it because I think there are gems that can be found, if you know what you are looking for. I was excited to interview someone I think hacked the system quite successfully. That person is Heath Clayton (Chicksaw).

Heath earned a Bachelor’s degree for about $3,000 without stepping foot onto a university campus. After “college” he worked in the White House at age 21. Not after 21 years of working in politics. At 21 years old. Continue reading

Chris James | Reservation Economic Summit

Chris James is the President & CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), a role he recently stepped into. He grew up in Cherokee, North Carolina in the heartland of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Chris James

Chris James, President & CEO of NCAIED

Chris is busy preparing for the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) that is quickly approaching in March. But he carved out time to share stopped by to share his story with NextGen Native. Continue reading

Jackson Brossy | On the Shoulders of Others

Jackson Brossy is the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office. He appeared on the show previously and returned for another conversation.

Jackson Brossy

Jackson Brossy

Since this was the first episode I recorded in 2017, I asked Jackson about whether he makes any resolutions. He doesn’t, but he did share one of his goals for the year. Through his work, he wants to acquire property to open an embassy for the Navajo Nation in Washington, DC. We talked about where the idea came from, building upon others’ ideas, and finding projects that are both big picture and the next step in a process.

The conversation made me think about work done in Indian Country generally. I think much of what we do as young professionals focuses on building upon the work of those that came before us. It isn’t different, or better, or “new” necessarily, but we may be able to take on projects and initiatives now because of the work that others did before us. Conversely, people that are bringing new ideas, or trying to take on a goal that’s failed before doesn’t mean they think they are better than those that came before them, it’s simply that their experience is different, the resources available may different, or any variety of reasons.

We also talk about what we’ve been reading recently. For Jackson, it’s Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography, for me I highlighted an article about palliative care and how it’s making me think not about the end of life, but about living life to the fullest.

I had fun catching up with a friend I’ve known for 10 years now. We discussed a bit about moving through different stages in life. The last 18 months I’ve had a lot of new things in my life, all good, too!  But it’s definitely made me think about where I am currently, and it’s hard to imagine knowing people that I met after college for a decade already. Anyway, these are the kind of conversations Jackson and I have when we get together, hopefully you enjoy it!

Also, hit us up if you have good fiction for us to read…

Sara-Jane Small Wood | Promise Zone and President Obama

“There’s nothing holding you back except what’s in your mind”-Sara-Jane Smallwood, Promise Zone Coordinator and Policy Director.

Sometimes you speak with someone that has so much positive energy that it’s bound to rub off on you. Despite a massive headache during this conversation, I came away feeling energized after speaking with Sara-Jane Smallwood.

Sara-Jane Small Wood, Promise Zone Coordinators

Sara-Jane Smallwood

Sara-Jane is one of those people that had a clear goal from a young age and pursued that goal and was able to realize that goal: returning home to work for her tribe. She did so in a big way, working on a very high-profile program that eventually resulted in a visit from President Obama to Choctaw Nation. Continue reading

Kayla Gebeck | Around the World for her Language

“What do [you] feel you are good at and feel you can contribute to your community?”

When I spoke to Kayla Gebeck, the thing that jumped out at me was her enthusiasm to try new things, start new adventures, with the goal of preserving her language. After not traveling far beyond the upper Midwest, Kayla traveled to a Pueblo, then to Hawaii, and ultimately to New Zealand. Her goal was to learn how different communities were working to to preserve their languages.So while she was able to explore personally, and expand her horizons, the skills she was learning would help future Ojibwe speakers.

Kayla Gebeck

Kayla Gebeck

Before it was over, Kayla studied in London and was able to connect the work people do in developing countries and relate that to Indian Country and visa versa. We talked about making connections outside of Indian Country and how these connections can create lasting ripples of interest or awareness with Indian Country.

Kayla’s story is really interesting to see all that she’s been able to accomplish already. And more importantly, that her community is the driving force for her work.

Official Bio

Kayla Gebeck is a public affairs advisor at Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office and a member of the firm’s Native American Law Practice Group. Ms. Gebeck provides assistance to tribal governments and their enterprises on legislative and regulatory matters. Her areas of focus include education, healthcare, housing, social services, natural resources, environment, self-governance, trust land and federal relations.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Gebeck served as a policy analyst for the Native American Finance Officers Association. In this position, Ms. Gebeck advocated the views and concerns of tribal governments in the areas of access to capital, tax and finance policy, in addition to preparing reports and broadcasts that alerted tribal members on new guidance and/or legislation affecting their governments and enterprises.

While attending the University of London, Ms. Gebeck served as a photographer for the Global Coordinating Group Indigenous Media Team, which covered the preparatory meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Alta, Norway, and conducted research for Legal Action Worldwide in an effort to build the legal capacity of conflict-affected governments.

Maria Givens | Udall Intern to Hatfield Fellow

Maria Givens

Maria is a member of the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe and currently works for the National Indian Health Board. I was excited to interview a fellow tribal member for the first time! This is also the second Mark O. Hatfield fellow to appear as a guest on the podcast in addition to yours truly, who was also a Hatfield Fellow. Maria’s talents have been recognized and she has used her experience and network to go from a summer-long experience as a Udall Intern to serving as the Hatfield fellow and living full time in Washington, DC.

Maria Givens,from Udall Intern to Hatfield Fellow

Maria Givens, Coeur d’ Alene

*history lesson* The French called my people Coeur d’ Alene. It translates “Heart of the Awl.” The awl is a tool used to punch holes in leather. French traders supposedly called us that because of shrewd trading skills. In our language we are Schitsu’umsh.

Maria attended the University of Washington after transferring from Loyola Marymount entering her sophomore year. She realized that it was not the right place for her and decided to move closer to home. What is amazing to me is that instead of disengaging from school or losing focus, instead she turned towards her academics even more diligently to help herself through the first year.

Transferring to the University of Washington was the right choice for her. In addition to her academic experience, Maria also organized the University of Washington powwow, which is one of the largest university powwows in the country. All while she was a double major in political science and American Indian Studies. She was drawn to each major independently but realized that the two could be combined into a single interest. She was a Udall Intern where she was worked for Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). This experience ignited an interest to pursue work in Indian law and policy.

Maria’s experience is a perfect example for other NextGen Natives. She excelled in school and happened to come across the Udall Intern program. During her time in the Udall program she met a friend in the program who later urged her to apply to the Hatfield Fellowship. Her hard work and preparation was meeting her network to provide her a great opportunity. She will begin the Hatfield Fellowship this Fall.

In addition to her great personal story, Maria provides some great specific advice about how she handles stress, manages to stay organized, and the value of spending time with your own thoughts. Oh, and taking action.

Maria is definitely one to watch, and I don’t say that just because we are cousins!