Board Of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is made up of high-level individuals from the public and private sectors who have been elected by a majority of the members of the board. The board is responsible for providing counsel to the CEO, as well as governance over the business, affairs, and property of the Indigenous Peoples' Initiative.
Dylan Baca is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and White Mountain Apache Tribe and serves as Chairman of the Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative Board of Trustees. Dylan currently resides in New York City where he attends Columbia University as a Kluge Scholar studying Political Science and History.
In 2018, Dylan was appointed the chairman of the Arizona Human Trafficking Prevention Committee. As Chair, Dylan and his team worked to expand social media outreach for the Governor’s office on human trafficking issues and worked to promote Project STARFISH to ensure students and educators were more knowledgeable about the warning signs, prevention, and effects of human trafficking. The committee also developed a memorandum of understanding between law enforcement agencies to share information regarding human trafficking and offer interagency support.
As Chairman of the Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative Board of Trustees, Dylan works regularly to create policy and advise tribal leaders, state lawmakers, and federal policymakers and officials on Indigenous issues within Arizona and across the United States. Chairman Baca’s work has contributed to Arizona’s recognition of Indigenous Peoples, Day, the Federal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day from President Biden, work on uranium mining clean-up efforts, and implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act. As chairman, Dylan hopes to be able to build pathways for future opportunities and generations of Indigenous people.
A respected advisor and leader within Indian Country, Dylan advises the Arizona Democratic Party and DNC to develop and support the execution of projects to bolster Democratic electoral victories. In addition to his various leadership roles, Dylan has served as an advisor to the Arizona Superintendant of Public Instruction and has held numerous board positions with political and non-profit organizations.
Dylan enjoys playing golf and spending time with his dog Sunny in his spare time.
Ms. Pratte has advocated for tribal communities nationwide on economic development and sustainable growth. She grew up on the Navajo reservation and has committed her work to poverty alleviation, economic empowerment, and advancing tribal sovereignty. Today she assists and advises tribes nationwide on economic development matters. She founded Strongbow Strategies, a government services firm, in 2013 and joined the Navajo Power
leadership team in 2018 to implement new energy development models on the Navajo Nation. Her past experience includes serving as the Tribal Engagements Director for the Biden / Harris Campaign and transition, Navajo Nation Chief of Staff, the Navajo Nation Executive Director of the Washington DC office, the National Director of the Office of Native American Affairs of the
U.S. Small Business Administration and as a trade specialist/business analyst with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Foreign and Commercial Service. She has had the privilege of working for 2 U.S. Presidential Administrations, 4 Navajo Presidential Administrations, and for a member of the United States Congress. She was named the Tim Wapato Public Advocate of the Year in 2009 (NCAIED), a 40 under 40 in Indian Country
In 2010 (NCAIED), a top 50 business leader in Indian Country in 2019 (Native Business Magazine), 2020 Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award (UCLA) and 2020 Native Disruptor Award (Native Business Magazine).
Indigenous Advisory Committee Chairman
Ex-officio Board Member
Jonathan Nez is the former President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation. Mr. Nez is of the Áshįįhí Clan (Salt People) and born for the Ta’neeszahnii Clan (Tangle clan). His maternal grandfather’s clan is Tódích’íi’nii Clan (Bitter Water Clan) and his paternal grandfather’s clan is the Táchii’nii Clan (Red-Running-Into-The-Water Clan).
President Nez started his term as president of the Navajo Nation on January 15, 2019. He also previously served as Vice President of the Navajo Nation from 2015 through the end of 2018. He also previously served as the Shonto Chapter Vice President, an elected member of the Navajo Nation Council representing the chapters of Shonto, Oljato, Tsah Bi Kin, and Navajo Mountain, Navajo County Board of Supervisor for District 1, and Vice President of the Navajo Nation.
President Nez holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration, both from Northern Arizona University. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Nez received honorary doctorates of humane letters from Northern Arizona University for their leadership during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Chief Executive Officer
Ex-officio Board Member
Sophie Schwartz, born and raised in South Dakota, is Mnicoujou Lakota and a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Sophie currently resides in Washington D.C., where she works as an Analyst for the Emerson Collective's Political and Campaigns team and is an Emerson Collective Community Solutions Scholar. A graduate from Fort Lewis College (FLC) with BAs in Philosophy and Political Science, Sophie previously worked as the Program Developer for FLC’s Engagement Collaborative where her areas of focus included building out inclusive civic engagement programming, creating student-centered infrastructure within the Collaborative, and conducting research on deliberative democracy to inform best practices. She has also worked with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, collaborating with Cultural Interpreters to lead virtual school field trips for students and curating programming that provides accurate messaging and storytelling around Indigenous history and experiences. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys playing golf and spending time at her local pool hall.
Chief Operating Officer
Ex-Officio Board Member
Juan Quintana Lopera
After living and studying abroad for most of their life. As a student, at Science Po Paris, Juan focused on studying political sciences and sociology, developing extensive knowledge specializing in the understanding of sociopolitical causes and issues, particularly as they pertain to the general Colombian and broader Latin American context. Juan is also extensively experienced in fields such as consecutive English-Spanish interpretation, customer service, social activism, and artistic fields such as visual and performing arts. Juan currently oversees the administrative, operational, and artistic direction of the Bonda Foundation; a project that aims to empower the production of artisanal goods designed and created in collaboration with Emberá-Chamí artisans while designing a platform for commercializing their work so as to potentialize their skills into being a stable source of income.
Felecia Rotellini is a veteran prosecutor and trial attorney who served in Governor Janet Napolitano’s cabinet as Superintendent of Banks. She is known for her balanced approach to regulating companies and protecting consumers. She was the 2010 and 2014 Democratic nominee for Arizona Attorney General. Today, she is the Director of Compliance for a multi-state financial services company. Her other day job is Chairwoman of the Arizona Democratic Party. Felecia took the party to new levels of civic engagement through historic wins in 2018 and now she is leading the party to victory in 2020.
As the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Rania has blazed a life path as a voice for the silenced. Whether it’s raising up the issues of gun violence, climate change, immigration, women’s issues, a just economy, or foreign policy, she fully invests her heart in every endeavor.
Like so many strong leaders, Rania knows all too well the subtle barriers for women who push hard for change and reform. She first became politically active at Austin College. As an activist and athlete, she quickly saw the need to bring people together in uniquely collaborative ways. Over time, she honed this leadership style of intersectional collaboration, recognizing that silo’d efforts never reach full fruition, while intercommunication can blossom into revolutionary results.
A true advocate for progressive change, Rania has cultivated her own unique role as an advocate, public relations specialist, consultant and leader. Rania has worked as a Democratic operative for over twenty years, lending her expertise across political, non-profit, legislative strategy and crisis management. For Bernie Sanders’ 2016 run for president, she served as Iowa Communications Director, the National Director of Surrogates and then as Deputy Campaign Manager.
In addition to Rania’s expertise in strategy and communications, her portfolio includes over fifteen years of experience in conflict resolution, mediation, and organizational development. Her firm, Batrice and Associates, has worked for social justice through a variety of avenues, collaborating with organizations including Our Revolution, the Arab American Institute, March for Our Lives, StudentsMarch.org, March For Science, Sunrise Movement, and the Freedom Project.
Rania has been a featured speaker for a wide range of events, including addressing climate change at the Social Good Summit, the UN Youth Climate Summit and the UN General Assembly. She also spoke on the insidious nature of domestic violence in her appearance on CBS This Morning. Rania has helped inspire young people from all walks of life to harness the power of movement building in her appearances at colleges and universities across the United States.
She’s lent her expertise to many visionary organizations and projects, including the Freedom Project, March for Our Lives, Change the Ref, New American Leaders, the Arab American Institute, StudentsMarch.org, Zero Hour, American Hemp Campaign, March for Science, the Innocence Project and Planned Parenthood.
Rania has received numerous accolades and awards for her work in the progressive movement, including the “Exceptional Women of Excellence” award presented by the World Economic Forum and the “Woman of Purpose” award presented by the Purpose Project.