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Directors & Key Staff

The Board of Directors of National Relief Charities works diligently to govern our funding and administration so that we can continue our important work on American Indian reservations.

Our Directors bring to the boardroom decades of experience to advise NRC, ensure our stability, and help us create positive opportunity and impact for the people we serve. In doing so, they also ensure continuous improvement and good stewardship for our supporters.

Through our earnestness and diligence, we have attracted Directors with the right mix of skills and specialties to govern NRC into the future. Their professional diversity and willingness to volunteer only make NRC stronger.

With backgrounds that span business management, financial management, strategic planning, program development and evaluation, education, grant administration, and humanitarian services — as well as multicultural diversity — our Directors could help anyone. Yet, they volunteer to be on NRC's Board of Directors because they believe in social responsibility and want to help us achieve our mission of bringing more opportunity and resources to Indian country.

Our individual Directors as of 2015 are identified below. With the exception of NRC's President, all of them are independent voting members of the Board.

Dr. James Pete, Chairman of the Board

Dr. James Pete

James is a tribal management consultant providing culturally relevant services to tribal organizations and leaders. Specializing in organizational assessment and development, he brings a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and diversity to organizational changes and strategic planning. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, a Master’s in Organizational Management and a Doctorate in Business Administration, and his doctoral dissertation explores undertaking the past, living in the present and designing the future for Native American tribal organizations and leaders. The founder of Guyaushk and Associates, James is Anishinaabe from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Guyaushk is his Anishinaabe name, but leadership circles know him as “Dr. Pete.” He has served as Tribal Treasurer, Tribal Vice-Chairperson and for two terms Red Cliff Tribal Council member. Currently an adjunct faculty member with the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, and formerly with University of Minnesota-Duluth, Northland College and DQ-Davis Tribal College, Dr. Pete contributes expertise to NRC in organizational development, grant and program development and strategic planning.

Kevin Diepholz, Vice Chairman

Kevin Diepholz

Kevin is a business development professional with a specialty in commercial plastics and electrical solutions. Currently with Werner Electric, he studied business and economics in college but values having worked his way up from pouring concrete to selling plastics to corporate management and international business development in Taiwan, Korea, the UK, and Canada. He has a broad perspective and ability to interact with people of diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Kevin brings to NRC experience in rapid growth with stability, a focus on quality, and a familiarity with reservation conditions. A lifelong helper, Kevin volunteers with the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Faith’s Lodge of Minnesota.

Ann Marie Woessner-Collins, Treasurer

Ann Marie Woessner-Collins

Ann Marie is a commercial realty and tax consultant better known as a "Top Woman in Finance" by her Twin Cities colleagues. Currently, Ann Marie is Managing Director of the Business & Economic Incentives practice at Jones Lang LaSalle. A problem solver by nature, she helps companies expand or optimize manufacturing, warehouses, offices, data centers, call centers, and other facilities. She has also served at Staubach, KPMG as a Partner, Frito-Lay and PepsiCo, Trammell Crow, 3M, and Dayton Hudson. Ann Marie holds an MBA in Finance. She serves on the Board of the Texas Ballet and previously served on the Board of Texas CASA for abused children. Also skilled in fundraising and oversight of $1 billion budgets, Ann Marie managed Frito-Lay's minority business program and has worked with American Indian tribes on projects that begin to build a sustainable economic base.

Alyce Sadongei, Secretary

Alyce Sadongei

Alyce is a nationally recognized expert in the field of tribal libraries, archives and museums, including Native American repatriation and preservation, museum development and training. Currently with the American Indian Language Development Institute at the University of Arizona, Alyce is of Kiowa and Tohono O’odham heritage and holds a Bachelor’s in Communications. A poet, writer and editor, her previous roles involved outreach and training for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, executive leadership for a national service supporting the vitality of Native arts, implementing tribal relations for the Arizona State Museum, and grant review for the National Endowment of the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Alyce’s extensive board experience spans the Arizona Humanities Council, Arts for America, Heritage Preservation, the National Emergency Services Review Board, the governor-appointed state board for Historic and Geographic Names and more. Co-founder of the American Indian Museum Collaboration Network, she currently serves on the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum board. She earned the first leadership award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums and the Director’s Chair Award for national impact from the Western Museums Association. Alyce adds expertise for NRC in curriculum and program development, grants review and management, tribal engagement and strategic planning.

Rodney Trahan

Rodney Trahan

Rodney is a certified business coach of Northern Cheyenne descent. He founded Streamline Enterprises in 2007, a coaching practice backed by a Master's in Business Administration and 20 years of experience helping businesses streamline operations and improve the bottom line. Rodney also spent 15 years fundraising for St. Labre Indian School as their Assistant Director of Development and Chief Planned Giving Officer. Being familiar with the history and current challenges of tribes and communities, Rodney also volunteers with Native American Development Corporation and the Montana Indian Business Alliance, which help Native American business owners.

Christina Kazhe

Christina Kazhe

Nationally recognized and respected for her legal expertise in tribal sovereignty, land restorations and federal recognition, Christina is a member of the Navajo Nation and affiliate to the Mescalero Apache Tribe. An attorney of 18 years and founder of Kazhe Law Group PC, Christina specializes in protecting the interests of Native American communities. Her experience spans Indian Child Welfare advocacy, tribal self-determination, taxation, reservation economic development, gaming law, and environmental and cultural preservation. She formerly practiced federal Indian law with Monteau and Peebles LLP and commercial litigation with Morrison & Foerster LLP. Currently, Christina serves on the Board of Directors for The California Endowment and the Elk Grove Unified School District’s American Indian Education Program. Christina holds a Juris Doctorate from Boalt School of Law at UC Berkeley and a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Passionate about our mission, Christina brings multiple skills to NRC, including legal and public policy expertise, strategic thinking and non-profit leadership.

Dr. Joshua Tompkins

Dr. Joshua Tompkins

Joshua is an Adjunct Professor at North Central University in Minnesota. He is of Lakota heritage. Also the Founder and General Manager of JLT Productions, a record label that he started in 1994. Joshua balances his teaching and production time with "live" concert performances as a virtuoso pianist. Joshua holds a Ph.D. in Music. Both entrepreneurial and creative, Joshua helps NRC through his "out of the box" perspective, experience with P&L management, and awareness of Native American concerns.

Tracey Zephier

Tracey Zephier

Tracey is an expert in Native American law and a partner at Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan law firm, where she focuses on tribal/state relations, financial and real estate transactions, and legal/physical infrastructure matters for tribes. Tracey has also served as Executive Director of the South Dakota Equal Justice Commission, President & CEO of First Nations Oweesta Corporation focusing on community development financial institutions (CDFIs), auditor for the South Dakota Department of Labor, and banker for Wells Fargo (formerly Norwest). An adjunct professor of tribal governance and economic development at the University of South Dakota as well as Oglala Lakota College, Tracey holds a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration and accounting. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, she was in the first cohort of the Bush Foundation Native Nation Rebuilder’s Program and currently serves on the Bush Foundation Native Nation Rebuilder’s Program. Tracey will add legal and financial acumen, expertise in government funding and program development and a passion for social justice to the NRC Board.

Ronetta (Roni) Keeter Briggs

Roni Briggs

A co-founder of Osiyo Consulting as well as Council House Institute, Roni Briggs is known for both corporate and tribal leadership development and strategic consulting. She has a history of improving revenue by integrating human capital, talent management and market growth strategies and holding leadership roles with major businesses such as GE Consulting, NEC America, EXCEL Communications and Anderson Consulting. Also well known to Native American leaders, Roni assists tribal governments with strategic planning, economic development and human resources development. She has also served as an adjunct professor for tribal management studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and as speaker, trainer or subject matter expert for organizations such as the Native American Human Resources Association, Alaska Native Village CEO Association, National 8(a) Association, Alaska Native Corporations and American Indian Enterprise Development. She has a strong interest in strengthening mentoring for women. Roni adds expertise for NRC in diversity, corporate philanthropy, tribal governance, consulting, marketing, social responsibility and negotiation. A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Roni resides in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in political science, completed entrepreneurial certification for Native-owned businesses through the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and served on the Board of the North Texas Minority Business Development Council.

Robbi Rice Dietrich, NRC President

Robbi Rice Dietrich, NRC President

Robbi joined National Relief Charities as President in 2013. She has 30 years of experience in building positive awareness of organizations and presenting their causes and capabilities to a wide spectrum of public officials, community and business leaders, contributors and the media. Her private sector experience includes working for Frito-Lay, Inc., Ernst & Young, LLP and First Preston Management in the areas of community and media relations, government affairs, organizational development and strategic planning. Committed to supporting diversity and helping people in need, Robbi has held leadership positions on boards of directors with several national, regional and local not-for-profit organizations. She currently sits on the Honorary Board of the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, the Senior Advisory Board for the Women’s Business Council - Southwest, and the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Foundation of Dallas and the Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation. Inspirational, forward looking and strategic in her thinking, she leads NRC in creating and achieving its goals and focusing resources in areas where they can have the most impact on quality of life for Native Americans.

Other Key Staff
OPEN, Program Director
Mario Porro, Chief Financial Officer
Charles Smith, Fundraising Director
Mark Ford, Development Director
Alan F. Silva, Human Resources Director
Helen Oliff, Public Relations Manager

For more information, please contact us.

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