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General Sessions



Welcome Session
Tuesday, December 12 (8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m.)

In this energizing opening session, you'll get a chance to connect with fellow conference attendees from across Indian Country and participate in facilitated activities that will help prepare you for three days of fun and fulfilling learning.

Setting Yourself Up to Succeed on the Board or Council
Tuesday, December 12 (9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.)

Learn how to increase your personal effectiveness as a board or council member while limiting your stress. We'll discuss your rights and responsibilities as a board member, review strategies for setting and meeting your own goals, and provide you with tips for steering the board away from common mistakes that suck time, energy and productivity.

  • Setting and meeting your own goals
  • How understanding the board or council's role will keep you focused and productive
  • Time management and stress reduction tools

4 Elements of Tribal Economic Development Success
Tuesday, December 12 (10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska's award-winning economic development corporation, Ho-Chunk, Inc., and its sister company, Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation (HCCDC), have served as models for dozens of other tribes looking to achieve economic success in a sustainable and community-minded way. In this fascinating session, Brian Mathers, HCCDC Executive Director, will share with you how the tribe has been so successful, and offer a model that other tribes can follow.

  • Laying the groundwork with 4 crucial elements for economic success
  • Making the best use of obligated taxes
  • Leveraging sovereignty in creative ways

Finance Essentials, Part 1: A Practical Guide to Financial Statements
Wednesday, December 13 (8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m.)

Understanding the tribe's finances doesn't have to be tricky - you just need to know what to look for. In this hands-on session, auditor Kurt Tucker will walk you through which of the various financial documents the board should read, how to read them and what questions to ask of which people to make sure you're in the know.

  • How to read balance sheets and income statements
  • Key terminology you should know
  • 5 ratios you should be able to discuss

Finance Essentials, Part 2: The Board or Council's Role in Financial Oversight
Wednesday, December 13 (9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.)

Building on what you learned in the previous session, we'll help you understand the board or council's role in financial oversight, what steps you can take to ensure federal funding is safeguarded, and how you can protect the tribe against fraud and embezzlement - both from tribal employees and even tribal council members!

  • Designing a cash management system - how many checking accounts are enough?
  • Setting up effective systems for monitoring cost allowability
  • How the board or council can catch and prevent fraud and embezzlement

Better Bylaws
Wednesday, December 13 (10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)

Well-crafted bylaws will help eliminate confusion and encourage consistency in how your board or council operates. Whether you're creating bylaws for the first time or revising your current bylaws, discover how just about anyone can write effective bylaws by following a simple outline.

  • Researching and writing bylaws that accomplish what you want
  • Adopting the bylaws
  • Next steps: distributing, using, reviewing and updating

The Secret to Shorter and More Productive Meetings
Thursday, December 14 (8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m.)

Tired of runaway meetings? Get more accomplished in less time by following simple guidelines for efficient meetings. We'll look at things you can do before, during and after meetings to boost your board or council's productivity.

  • Signs your meetings aren't as productive as they could be
  • Strategic ways to structure the agenda
  • Striking the right balance with public participation at meetings

Setting (and Enforcing) Performance Expectations with the Chief Executive
Thursday, December 14 (9:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.)

In this important session, you'll learn how to maintain a delicate balance - holding your Chief Executive accountable for the results you want without micromanaging. From hiring the executive to evaluating performance and following up - and everything in between - we'll provide you with valuable tips and tricks for getting the best out of your Chief Executive.

  • Elements to include in a Chief Executive employment contract
  • Communicating the board or council's expectations effectively
  • Deciding on fair performance goals and measures

Creating Healthy Board Dynamics
Thursday, December 14 (10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)

Trust, accountability, candor and respect for open dissent ... high-functioning boards and councils foster all these dynamics and more. We'll take a look at 15 questions you can ask to assess the health of your board or council's dynamics, and explore ways to take your board to the next level.

  • Building trust within the board/council and with key staff
  • How to self-assess your board or council
  • Team-building strategies


Topics subject to change.

For more information, please call 800-992-4489.

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