Empowering Leaders

Empowering Leaders Group Photo

Tribal Leaders Program, Harvard Business School, June 2023

NCAI's Empowering Leaders Initiative

NCAI is committed to building and protecting tribal sovereignty, supporting healthy tribal governments, and fostering vibrant tribal communities. Central to that task is equipping tribal leaders with the knowledge, skills, tools, and strategies they need to advance those fundamental priorities on behalf of their Tribal Nations.

In 2023, NCAI developed and administered two interconnected initiatives to provide intensive professional development and leadership training to Indian Country. Learn more about these two programs below. Join the Empowering Leaders movement and apply for one of our programs today!

Harvard Business School Lecture setting

San Manuel

Harvard Business School

Leading Tribal Nations Executive
Education Program at Harvard Business School

In collaboration with Harvard Business School, NCAI offers the Leading Tribal Nation Program, designed to equip tribal leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to advance their capacity for strategic governance. During the 5-day program, tribal leaders will engage in collaborative learning and problem solving through the case-study model facilitated on the Harvard Business School campus.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Strategic mindset and leading senior teams
  • Leadership in context and crisis
  • Principles of environmental and resource management
  • Negotiations and systems thinking for social change
  • Corporate governance and inclusive governance systems
  • Strategic trade-offs

Details of the program:

  • June 23-28, 2024 on the Harvard Business School Campus
  • Cost is $2,500 per participant; a limited number of scholarships are available upon inquiry. Price includes lodging and meals on all participant days.
  • All participants will receive a certificate of completion from Harvard Business School.
  • The program is designed for elected tribal leaders. Non-elected leaders and tribal professionals may apply, but elected tribal leaders will receive preference.

Applications are now open! Apply here:


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ASU American Indian Policy Institute

Media Training and Communication Fellowship

Hosted at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication., this fellowship will provide targeted learning and hands-on practice to tribal leaders and professionals who wish to increase their communication skills and expand their media presence to meet their community needs. Curriculum will be tailored to, and facilitated by, Native voices with knowledge of the unique media landscape of Indian Country.

This program is open to tribal leaders, aspiring leaders and communications professionals. Elected tribal leaders will be granted first priority.

Fellows will learn:
  • Building public speaking strategies and confidence
  • Effective storytelling to advance policy and community initiatives
  • Navigating diverse interview environments
  • Identifying how to address challenges facing communities
  • Developing and delivering effective messages across multiple platforms
  • Creating and maintaining relationships with news media
  • Understanding how to tailor messages to particular audiences

After learning each new skill, fellows will have the chance to practice public speaking in a professional audio-visual studio. All fellows will be provided with recordings from the learning experience to review their progress.

Details of the Fellowship:
  • May 13-15, 2024 at the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Cost is $1,000 per participant; a limited number of scholarships are available upon inquiry.
  • Price includes four nights of lodging and breakfast, lunch and snack on all participant days.
The application for the 2024 Media Training and Communications Fellowship is now live!


The Empowering Leaders Series is made possible through the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. NCAI deeply appreciates San Manuel’s essential role in establishing and sustaining the endowment that supports the growth and empowerment of tribal leaders across Indian Country.

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