Dynamic Women Conference attracts Chickasaw women from across the country

This article appeared in the June 2019 edition of the Chickasaw Times

THACKERVILLE, Okla. - Chickasaw women from across the country gathered May 2-3 for the 2019 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Women Conference at WinStar Convention Center in Thackerville.

This year’s conference theme “Conquer Life’s Opportunities,” featured presenters, panel discussions and breakout sessions.

The “Conquer Life’s Opportunities” panel gathered on the second day of the conference. Featured panelists included Heather Ahtone, Steffani Cochran, Rebecca Owens and Chelsey Branham.

Ms. Ahtone is the senior curator at the American Indian Cultural Center Foundation in Oklahoma City. She has worked in the Native arts community since 1993 and has an established career as a curator, arts writer and researcher.

Ms. Cochran, 2011 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year, has a long history of public service to Indian County. She has previously served as vice-chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. She currently works as general counsel for the Pueblo of Sandia.

Ms. Owens is a Veterans of Foreign Wars appeals consultant and assists veterans obtain benefits. She is a 30-year U.S. Navy veteran. Ms. Owens worked in various law enforcement positions including patrolman, investigator, marksmanship instructor and leading chief petty officer.

Chickasaw citizen Chelsey Branham is state representative for Oklahoma House District 83. Ms. Branham is a community leader, nonprofit professional and lifelong Oklahoman. She is the first woman and minority to represent her district and strives to create a positive environment and community to help the state of Oklahoma move forward.

Dr. Judy Goforth Parker served as “Conquer Life’s Opportunities” panel moderator. Dr. Parker has served as Chickasaw Nation Health Policy Commissioner since July 2018. Previously, she served as Secretary of the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health and administrator of the Division of Health. Dr. Parker has worked for many years to increase the quality of health care for Native Americans. She has a long history of tribal service that highlights her close relationship with the people of the Chickasaw Nation and all Native Americans.

Questions for the panel varied from dealing with challenges to balancing work life and family.

“If you are going through something difficult, or you are facing challenges, try to connect with your culture,” Ms. Branham said. “Take a piece of what you are missing and help to fill yourself back up.”

The event was led by master of ceremonies and 2014 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year Karen Goodnight.

Mrs. Goodnight is CEO and president of Goodnight and Associates and specializes in executive performance coaching, strategic planning, team development and leadership and organizational development. She is a Chickasaw Nation legislator serving Pontotoc District.

The keynote speech was delivered by 2018 Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Woman of the Year, Amanda Cobb-Greetham, Ph.D.

Dr. Cobb-Greetham serves as chair of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma. She continues to research, write and curate museum exhibitions in addition to her duties as director of Native American studies at OU.

Dr. Cobb-Greetham’s research examines the state of Oklahoma’s American Indian identity as portrayed in popular culture.

The Chickasaw Nation Dynamic Women of the Year Award was established in 2006 to honor Chickasaw women who have made significant contributions to the Chickasaw Nation.

In conjunction with the conference, artwork showcasing the art of the Chickasaw Woman was exhibited at the convention center.

For more information about the Dynamic Women Conference, visit Chickasaw.net/DynamicWomen or call (580) 272-5520.