A sense of purpose is deeply embedded in the culture of Native Business™ by its founders, Gary (Cherokee Nation) and Carmen (Makah Nation) Davis. The husband-and-wife team have partnered on multiple businesses and successful entrepreneurial ventures, including: Red Vinyl Records, Litefoot Enterprises, Litefoot Entertainment Group, Native Style® Clothing, and Davis Strategy Group. The pair have facilitated comprehensive national community outreach programs and an array of cross sector business opportunities ranging from acquisitions, casino gaming, land development, energy and pharmaceutical initiatives.
Purpose and Approach
Gary and Carmen Davis launched their new multimedia company, Native Business, to promote and advance Native American business, entrepreneurship and economic development. Native Business accomplishes this through its digital and print publications by featuring news, success stories, promoting best practices and informing readers about the latest business innovation and trends. Native Business will soon further empower enterprises and entrepreneurs across Indian Country by providing video and podcast tools to motivate and inspire new generations of Native entrepreneurs by sharing the wisdom of various business thought leaders. In addition to engaging readers and creating new conversations with its magazine, Native Business recently presented the inaugural Native Business Summit from May 13 – 15, 2019 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We were honored to have Cherokee Nation Businesses as the presenting sponsor of our first ever summit which brought together Tribal and Alaska Native leadership, featured speakers, thought leaders and present informative breakout sessions and trainings, a business tradeshow, the Native Business Golf Classic and plenty of networking. Through its various platforms, Native Business shines a spotlight on the best that Indian Country has to offer and assists Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations and Native business leaders with growing opportunity for future generations of Native people.
In addition to his role as Publisher of Native Business™ Magazine, Gary, a member of the Cherokee Nation, serves as Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA). He is also a member of the Forbes Finance Council, an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Gary previously served as President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), where he oversaw the organizations initiatives, including the Native American Global Trade Center, focused on growing the collective economic power of native businesses by facilitating a wide array of diversified multinational economic opportunities. He also expanded the National Center’s signature Reservation Economic Summit (RES) events into smaller and more intimate regional events to foster collaboration among native businesses and to grow economic opportunity across Indian Country.
Gary has built a successful film and television career as an actor, including roles in Indian in the Cupboard,
Mortal Kombat, House of Cards. As the first Native American rap artist, “Litefoot,” he toured across the United States, performing and speaking to packed crowds. His motivational messages about living a life of purpose have inspired native people across North America.
Mr. Davis is a recipient of the prestigious Sevenstar Award from the Cherokee Nation Historical Society, presented to a Cherokee who is accomplished in a chosen field, brought honor to the Cherokee people and serves as an inspiration to others. He has received the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency National Director Special Recognition Award, was appointed as an Ambassador of the Department of Energy’s, Minorities in Energy initiative and was also appointed to the United States Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities. Mr. Davis was recognized as one of the “Fifty Faces of Indian Country” by Indian Country Today Media Network.
In addition to her role as Publisher and Executive Editor of Native Business™ Magazine, Carmen, a member of the Makah Tribe, is also the President of Davis Strategy Group. Carmen has garnered more than 20 years of nationwide business operations, marketing and media experience. As a speaker, author and mentor, she has helped to create and lead several community-based initiatives with tribal nations across North America.
Carmen served as President of the non-profit organization, the Association for American Indian Development and its initiative, the Reach the Rez (RTR) program, the largest continuous effort of outreach to American Indian communities ever conducted in the U.S.
Carmen managed RTR’s national fundraising efforts while simultaneously organizing and planning the project. When the project launched, she facilitated and managed the effort’s logistics by traveling with it to 450 Native American Tribes and communities across the country.
In 2009, Carmen was named one of the first recipients of the NCAIEDs prestigious, “40 Under 40” award which recognizes up and coming community leaders from across Indian Country.
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