When MCEC’s Director of Business Development, Tony Liberal, ventured to the 2023 Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) Conference, it wasn’t just a typical business trip; it was an opportunity to learn, grow, and share wisdom with Tribal peers nationwide.
Held from October 2-6 at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona, and hosted by the Gila River Indian Community, this event brought together CFOs and economic development directors from Tribes spanning the nation.
“The NAFOA Conference was an opportunity to see how other Tribes operate their business lines, how they navigate their access to and generation of capital, and how they fund the initiatives that support their peoples’ prosperity economically,” Liberal said.
The NAFOA Conference wasn’t just about looking outward; it was also a chance to reflect on MCEC’s journey and the roads ahead. As Liberal mentioned, “The main goal was to learn as much as we could about how we can grow and support Nisqually with the best possible financial processes.”
A significant insight gleaned from the conference was that the possibilities for expanding MCEC’s business portfolio remain vast.
“A huge takeaway we gained from NAFOA was that we haven’t even scratched the surface of the kinds of operations we can implement to build our business lines,” Liberal said. “It’s a testament to the uncharted territory waiting for MCEC’s exploration and growth.”
The NAFOA Conference offered another valuable insight: an endorsement that MCEC is on the right track. Liberal emphasized, “The conference provided further confirmation to our leadership that we’re doing the right things. If we stay the course, innovate where we need to, and remain flexible to new opportunities, Nisqually will continue to prosper.”
In other words, this journey to NAFOA wasn’t just about attending a conference; it was about recharging, reassessing, and refocusing on the path forward. As MCEC connects with fellow Tribal leaders and financial officers, it gains the insights and inspiration needed to keep making a difference in the Nisqually community and Tribal economic development.
With these lessons learned, MCEC is more prepared than ever to navigate the financial complexities of Tribal economic development and, most importantly, to ensure the continued prosperity of the Nisqually Tribe.