AIBL LEADERSHIP

AIBL is governed by a national Board of Directors comprised of distinguished individuals from various education and business fields. AIBL is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes as described under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the 1954 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) to provide:

  • An organization which supports and promotes American Indian business people and entrepreneurs which will encourage unity and cooperation and will provide a basis from which efforts may be made toward the advancement of the American Indian people. This includes substantially increasing the number of formally educated American Indian business managers, owners, and/or entrepreneurs who will develop tribal/reservation economies to promote the welfare, independence, and advancement of all Indian people

  • Better communication among American Indian business students and between the students and the American Indian people and the general public

  • A basis for the development of professionalism among the American Indian business students and members of AIBL

  • Assistance to American Indian business students, including but not limited to: Financial assistance for school/work; Educational opportunities, such as curriculum development; research; publication; career development; distribution of educational materials; educational film production, etc

  • Providing a forum for discussion and an extended-family support system in the academic and employment areas; and providing mentoring and professional/peer networking opportunities

  • Providing a student and professional foundation to assist with the exploration of problems associated with tribal economic development, emphasizing culturally appropriate Indian business development

  • Promoting the interest of American Indians to pursue careers as tribal managers, Indian business owners, and/or entrepreneurs

  • Participating in any grant, program, benefits or services available under any federal, state, or local law from any other person or organization or agency

  • The establishment of cooperative efforts with corporate, private, state, and federal entities which are concerned with the under-representation of minorities in business.

Chair, Dave Archambault
Chair, Dave Archambault

David Leon Archambault, Sr. was born on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, a Hunkpapa or Sitting Bull flavored Lakota, and has received the Lakota name Itazipo Wakinyan /Thunder Bow. He graduated high school from Red Cloud Indian School in 1966, Black Hills State University in 1976 in Education, and has a Masters in Education Administration from Penn State in 1984. Archambault has worked as an educator, administrator, and consultant at Indian schools and Tribal Colleges.

Dr. Joe McDonald
Dr. Joe McDonald

Dr. McDonald, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, was born in St. Ignatius, MT. His good family gave him self-confidence and other tools to become a role model in an increasingly divided world. Western Montana College recognized Joe's potential early. Joe previously served on the Board of the American Indian College Fund and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Dr. Larry Gianchetta
Dr. Larry Gianchetta

Dean of the School of Business Administration at The University of Montana, received his Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics at Texas A&M University in 1975. In the summer of 1990, Dr. Gianchetta attended Harvard University and went through their Management Development Program. He was a visiting scholar at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, in the spring of 1992 and has also lectured at Toyo University in Tokyo, Japan.

Don Meyer
Don Meyer

After owning and running a number of businesses for 35 years, Don has spent the last 8 years dedicated to evolving the Owner-Contractor relationship specifically in Native Communities as it relates to long-term success in residential and commercial construction. Tribal Building Solutions has developed, designed and completed residential & commercial projects ranging from $1.5M to $17M over the last few years.

Mary Ellen Turmell
Mary Ellen Turmell

Mary Ellen Turmell is a graduate of The University of Montana. Following graduation, she taught school in Great Falls, Montana. She is a trustee emeritus of the University of Montana Foundation, and currently serves as President of the University of Montana Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Flathead Lakers. She is a member of Alpha Phi Sorority, Daughters of the American Revolution, and PEO. She lives with her husband, John, in California and Bigfork.

John Turmell
John Turmell

John Turmell graduated in 1964 from The University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in business, majoring in management. After graduation, he worked at his family's auto dealership in Missoula and, a short time later, he enrolled in the General Motors Institute where he received a degree in Dealership Management. John retired at the beginning of 2002, after 33 years of service. John continues to be active in the UM Alumni Association activities and is on several boards.

Chad Barber
Chad Barber

Chad Barber is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes growing up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. He graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration and has been an avid supporter of AIBL since 1993. He joined the Board of Directors 2009. Chad has held multiple management and executive roles with Safeco and Liberty Mutual providing leadership in service and sales centers, operations, business development, and strategy.

Dr. Liz Ross
Dr. Liz Ross

Liz Ross is the Executive Director for the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, hosted by Fort Lewis College (FLC). Prior to joining the SBDC, she was the director of the MBA Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Director of Rural and Outreach for Alaska. Her experience includes being the CEO and Chairman of the Board of an Alaska Native Corporation, working in the tax department of Ernst & Whinney, as well as various community volunteer work.

Bob Harrison
Bob Harrison

Robert J. Harrison was the Chairman and Founder of Red Cloud Food Services, Inc. and Red Cloud Inc. Bob was born and raised on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota where he is an enrolled citizen. Bob founded each company for a specific purpose. RCFS was founded in 1998 and was later certified as an 8(a) Company by the SBA. RCFS is a national and international manufacturer of food products.

Dr. Ron Sheffield
Dr. Ron Sheffield

Ron is a member of the Quechan Indian Tribe of Fort Yuma Arizona, President of OrgScience, Inc., Adjunct Professor of Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, and co-author of the 2020 published book 'Native American Entrepreneurs'. His doctoral research at GWU was conducted on the Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Reservation and was titled, "The Influence of Language on Culture and Identity: Resurgence of the Quechan Native American Tribal Language."

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Prairie.jpg

Prairie Bighorn grew up on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in eastern Montana and is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux Tribe.  She graduated from Rocky Mountain College, with a bachelor’s degree in business, and from the University of Montana, with a master’s degree in business administration.  While she was in college, she was an active AIBL chapter member and also worked for the National AIBL office during her graduate studies.

Before joining the AIBL team, she worked in Washington DC, providing accounting and contract management services to help support economic development within American Indian communities.  She has also served as the comptroller for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana and worked for an auditing firm specializing in governmental compliance.

In 2011, she was a recipient of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development’s 40 Under 40 Awards.  This prestigious award recognizes 40 emerging American Indian leaders who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their communities.

In her spare time, she enjoys running, snowboarding, reading, starting new businesses, and hanging out with her family.

Associate Executive Director

Hannah Cirelli is an enrolled member of the Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma, Arizona. She grew up in Virginia, where she graduated from George Mason University with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and from the George Washington University with a master’s degree in Gender and Cultural Studies. While in college, she was the Vice President of her school's Native American Student Association. 

Before joining AIBL in 2017, Hannah lived in Washington, DC. She has over 7 years of experience in Human Resources working for an array of different organizations including Denver Indian Health Services, Atlantic Media, Cleary Gottlieb, and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. 

In her free time, she enjoys cooking healthy meals, fitness, drinking coffee, and DIY projects. Hannah is extremely passionate about helping native youth find their passion by helping them translate that into their profession.

AIBL STAFF