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Karlene Hunter

CEO and Co-Founder, Native American Natural Foods

Karlene Hunter is CEO and Co-Founder, Native American Natural Foods Karlene Hunter, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has more than 25 years of experience working on educational and economic development on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where Native American Natural Foods is based. The Kyle, S.D., company, founded with her longtime business partner Mark Tilsen, is the second business Ms. Hunter has started on the reservation Ms. Hunter. who is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has won many awards. They include the 2007 Small Business Association (SBA) Small Business Woman of the Year for South Dakota, as well as the 2012 Vision Leadership Award from the Specialty Food Association. Ms. Hunter and Mr. Tilsen created Lakota Express, a direct marketing and customer care management company. Focused primarily on fund-raising for non-profit organizations, Ms. Hunter has led the direct marketing campaign for Oglala Lakota College for more than 21 years. More than $25 million has been raised under Ms. Hunter’s leadership, including raising the funds for the establishment of the first library on the reservation and the creation of new college centers in each of the nine districts on Pine Ridge. Well-known throughout the Native American community for her local and national service record, Ms. Hunter serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Rights Fund; the National Indian Business Association; and the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Hunter, who holds an MBA from Oglala Lakota College, has received numerous awards.

Minority Executives Making Moves articles are current at the time of publication.

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