New Staffers Join First Nations

L to R are Rachel, Thomas, Sonya and Autumn

 We welcomed three new employees in the latter part of 2013, plus one in early 2014.

Rachel Vernon was hired as a program officer. Rachel, who is Yaqui and Mescalero Apache, holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and is currently completing her master’s degree in ethnic studies at Colorado State University (CSU). For the previous year, she worked at the Native American Cultural Center at CSU, helping grow the organization’s fundraising capability and assisting with management of Native student outreach projects. Before returning to Colorado to pursue her master’s degree, she was a development associate at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network in Oakland, California.

Thomas Cristiano joined us as finance assistant. He brings a diverse background in finance, accounting and entrepreneurial endeavors. Thomas began his career in investment banking in Manhattan, where he analyzed money market, foreign exchange and derivative products, plus he managed the hybrid derivative group for JP Morgan. He holds a bachelor’s Degree in finance, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Colorado Boulder.  He also has studied at Pace University, the College for Financial Planning and the American Institute of Banking.

Sonya Todacheene, who is Navajo, joined us as executive assistant. She previously was an executive assistant at the University of Colorado Boulder.  She also has six years of experience working for a national, nonprofit educational organization, which included administration of scholarship and membership programs, meeting planning and coordination, and database management. She will coordinate our Board of Directors’ meetings and materials, serve as property manager, and provide general administrative support.

Autumn Romero, who is Chippewa Cree and Lakota, joined the staff in January 2014 as part-time receptionist. She will handle our front-desk responsibilities and other activities one day a week. She is also a second-year, pre-med student at the University of Colorado – Denver, where she is studying psychology.