Deidra Mitchell, President & CEO of Waséyabek Development Company, LLC was invited by Tom Durkee, business development manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to be one of three panelists addressing the Tribal Economic and Government Contracting Forum in Petoskey, Michigan on May 1st, 2019. Also invited to speak on the panel were Kurtis Trevan, President & CEO of Gun Lake Investments and Troy Clay, President & CEO of Mno-Bmadsen.
Deidra spoke about WDC’s successes and challenges encountered while building a successful Tribal economic development company, with the overarching goal to create a genuine learning environment through the sharing of authentic experiences.
Deidra highlighted the fact that strategic plans are imperative and as unique as the Tribes that create them. Pointing to the fact that collaboration often takes place between the three Potawatomi Tribes of Lower Michigan (Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians, and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians) and that the three Tribes have similar foundational goals, Deidra explained that their approaches to economic development differ. “Even if two Tribes were to have the same exact strategic goals, they are going to go about accomplishing them differently,” Mitchell said. “They will have different starting places, resources, risk appetites, governance, and missions, as well as leadership styles. So we shouldn’t be afraid to lean on, learn from, and help one another.”