Native Forward Scholars Fund Appoints Three New Board Members

Native Forward Board Members 2023
L-R: Kimberly Teehee; Cecilia Gutierrez; and Lilian Sparks Robinson.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Native Forward Scholars Fund has appointed three new members to its Board of Directors. The board plays an important role in Native Forward’s mission to increase visibility of Native people and ensure educational access within Indigenous communities. The new members include:

  • Kimberly Teehee, Delegate-Designee to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Cherokee Nation
  • Cecilia Gutierrez, Managing Director, Portfolio Strategy & Management, Blue Meridian Partners
  • Lilian Sparks Robinson, Owner and CEO Wopila Consulting

“It is my honor to welcome such a strong panel of powerful women to our board roster,” said Angelique Albert, Native Forward’s CEO. “Kimberly, Cecilia and Lilian bring a level of expertise and commitment that aligns directly with the vision of our founders. Throughout their highly successful careers, they have continuously sought out opportunities to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples, used their platforms to elevate the needs of our communities, and developed innovative strategies to build sustaining power in Indian Country.”

As a Delegate-Designee to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Cherokee Nation, Teehee’s work in the federal government and passion for Native representation will enhance Native Forward’s advocacy for substantive changes in higher education.

“Native Forward plays an essential role in Indian Country by creating paths to higher education opportunities for tribal citizens nationwide,” said Teehee. “It is my honor to join this organization, and such a diverse group of Native leaders on the Board of Directors. As an advocate for a new generation of Indigenous leadership, I hope we can open even more doors for our young people to thrive. When Native students succeed, it benefits all our tribal nations, and as Indian Country continues to grow stronger, we need more and more college graduates.”

Gutierrez’s devotion and passion for improving the lives of underrepresented youth and her dedication to improving access to quality education will add value to the Native scholars the organization serves. 

“I am honored to join the Board of Native Forward to support the leadership of our CEO, Angelique Albert, and her talented team in their tireless effort to change the social and economic trajectory of our Native students placing them on a path to achieve their fullest and greatest potential and to continue to make lasting contributions in their communities and in our country,” said Gutierrez.

Robinson brings to Native Forward a record of experience in non-profit, grant, and education management, as well as her work in tribal policy and government that aligns with Native Forward’s strategic plan to improve processes.

“Access, opportunities, and resources continue to be a barrier for Native American students’ ability to fulfill their educational goals,” said Robinson. “I’m honored to serve on the Board of Native Forward as we raise awareness, cultivate partnerships, and develop strategies that create pathways and support for Native students to complete their education and start their careers ready for success.”

For over 53 years, Native Forward Scholars Fund has empowered over 20,000 scholars from more than 500 tribes in all 50 states and contributed to over 1,600 law degrees and more than 2,200 Ph.D. degrees.