Success for Native America 2022

First Southwest Bank (FSWB) and First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) are excited once again to partner with Fort Lewis College for the second “Success for Native America” panel discussion. It will be held on April 4, 2022 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Fort Lewis College (FLC) in the Vallecito Room.
The 2020 “Success for Native America” panelists—a business school professor, cosmetic company founder, public health worker, and an attorney—addressed the challenges and advantages associated with their heritage and how they navigated societal expectations and experiences to achieve their career and life goals. 

The 2022 event will include successful indigenous leaders from the public and private sectors discussing how they have attained their success. We expect this year’s discussion also to include some discussion of the challenges of job seeking amid COVID. Swarvoski Little, FSWB Portfolio Servicing Specialist, will moderate the discussion. 

“We are very excited to hear from this accomplished group of professionals and to learn from their experiences,” said Kent Curtis, President & CEO of FSWB and FSWCF President. “As one of two Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) banks in Colorado, our mission is to extend financial and economic opportunities to people historically excluded from the mainstream banking system. Only 50% of Native Americans nationally have a bank account. That’s the primary way one grows wealth,” said Curtis.
“Partnering with FLC is a way for us to further our CDFI mission and provide Native American students with knowledge and resources early on with an eye towards their future careers.”  
The 2022 panel includes:
Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere as a returning panelist. She is the Founder and CEO of Ah-Shi Beauty, the first Native American full cosmetics and skin care company in the United States.

Dr. Carma Claw is also a returning panelist. She is Assistant Professor of Management for the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College.

Keana Kaleikini, MSPH, is an environmental scientist and epidemiologist for the State of New Mexico and Associate Director of Collective Medicine.

Dominic Martinez is the Co-Owner and Operator of Leland House Suites of Durango.

Dr. Joshuaa D. Allison-Burbank, PhD, is an Assistant Scientist and Faculty Member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Founder/Executive Director of Rainbow Farms Therapy Group.

“The 2020 Success for Native America event offered students valuable and practical advice,” said Dr. Jenni Trujillo, Dean of FLC’s School of Education and interim Associate Vice President of Diversity Affairs. “As Native American and Indigenous students make up 46% of our student population—representing 185 tribes and Alaska Native villages—it is crucial that we continue to provide support and opportunities in meaningful ways. We are looking forward to bringing back this interactive event with both new and familiar faces, current faculty, and alumni.”

The event is intended as an opportunity for students, FLC faculty and staff, and the public-at-large to learn from the successes and challenges of our Native American peers. The panelists bring a variety of public and private sector experience and tribal perspectives and we look forward to what is sure to be an interesting and engaging conversation. 

“We are honored to sponsor this phenomenal event lifting and highlighting Native American voices. First Southwest Community Fund is committed to investing in the people, culture, and ideas of Rural Colorado. We are excited to partner with First Southwest Bank and Fort Lewis College. Community informed and collaborative efforts are key to our mission of best serving historically underserved communities,” said Azarel Madrigal, FSWCF Acting Executive Director & Program Director.

Success for Native America 2022 was organized with the support and collaboration of First Southwest Bank, First Southwest Community Fund, Fort Lewis College’s FLC Engage and Diversity Collaboratives. Questions? Please contact

Read more here about the bank and community fund’s commitment to fostering Native American success, and this article by the Durango Herald.