Intrapreneurs for Indigenous Communities
Intrapreneurs are natural bridge builders. These ‘insider-outsiders’ move between worlds, translating the experiences, values and dreams of diverse communities into the dominant language of their corporate habitats. They approach their work with a level of care and curiosity that builds trust with a broad base of allies.
We are honored to have with us for #GIW2020 intrapreneurs speaking about their work with indigenous communities. These communities are being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and those with an oral tradition risk losing their culture and stories as elders succumb to this virus.
How can we keep this wisdom alive?
How can we learn from the stories, values and ways of indigenous communities and their ability to live in harmony with the land?
How can we truly adopt principles like “seven generations” – moving to a more systemic view of our world and our place in it?
Co founder at League of Intrapreneurs
Entrepreneur, strategist, passionate about how business can create positive impact and how people can find meaning at work. Florencia is Director of the League of Intrapreneurs, a global learning community with the mission to unlock the human potential inside large organizations to create a better future. She is an experienced facilitator, coaching groups and individuals throughout transformation journeys, and innovation processes. Florencia has more than 10 years of experience inside large corporations as ABN Amro Bank and McKinsey as well as a social entrepreneur having founded Cria Global (impact based innovation consultancy) and Pipa (accelerator for impact-driven start-ups in Brazil) and having worked closely as a mentor of various Ashoka Fellows. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, a BA in International Business and is a certified facilitator in Theory U. Florencia is today based in Punta del Este, Uruguay, mother of two girls Maia and Sofia.
Sam McCracken, General Manager and visionary of Nike’s N7 programs and founder of the N7 Fund, is a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes in northeastern Montana on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation.
McCracken began his Nike tenure in 1997 at Nike’s Wilsonville distribution center. He was quickly asked to utilize his experience and passion to manage the revitalization of the Native American Employee Network, one of several Nike diversity programs. Shortly thereafter, McCracken proposed a business development strategy targeting Native American communities with the goal of increasing health and wellness through physical activity. He became the Manager of Nike’s Native American Business in 2000 and has led the development of the Nike Air Native N7 shoe, the N7 retail collection, and the N7 Fund, which helps to create access to sport for Native American and Indigenous youth in the United States and Canada. Since its inception in 2009, the N7 fund has awarded $7.6 million in grants to 250 communities and organizations, reaching more than 500,000 youth. McCracken has also driven 25 unique product collections and brand stories for the N7 product line.
McCracken has been recognized through several prestigious award nominations for his passion and work. He was honored in July 2004 with Nike’s Bowerman Award, named after influential Nike co-founder and revered track and field coach Bill Bowerman. The annual award recognizes Nike employees who “Remember the Man” by embodying the Bowerman legacy of tireless motivation, innovation, and inspiration. He was also honored in 2004 for his work by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, who awarded him its prestigious George Washington Honor Medal for his commitment to Native communities on health promotion programs. He was singled out for exemplifying “the essence of the National Awards by promoting an understanding and appreciation for our country’s rich heritage and unique freedoms,” according to Freedoms Foundation President and CEO Aaron Siegel.
In 2007, he was coined a “corporate change maker” and recognized as one the 20 most innovative “Intrapreneurs” in the world by sustainability.com.
He was also instrumental in Nike signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Indian Health Services in 2003, and again in 2009, as well as Bureau of Indian Education in 2010 as a commitment to continue to bring inspiration and innovation to Native American communities in the spirit of health and wellness and Access to Sport.
He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education in 2010 and also received the President’s “Leadership Award” from the National Indian Gaming Association in 2010, for Nike’s commitment to Health Promotions Disease Prevention with Native tribes across the U.S.
More recently, McCracken and N7 received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s 2019 Corporate Business of the Year award. In addition to ongoing N7 product and Fund oversight, McCracken is currently driving a recruitment strategy within Nike that provides opportunity and increased representation for indigenous employees.
Head of Marketing FARM Rio
Taci is an authentic carioca with an intrapreneur role at FARM, where she leads the marketing department while co-creates the brand’s sustainability platform. Passionate about nature and Brazilian culture, she has been working with social and environmental impact for the past 9 years. Some of her actual projects include the brand’s partnership with the Yawanawa indigenous people, agroforestry in the Amazon and circular economy. She advises for the B Corp Movement in Rio de Janeiro, her hometown, and is part of the League of Intrapreneurs and the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders network.
Tashka Yawanawa is chief of the Yawanawa people in Acre, Brazil. As chief, he leads 900 people stewarding 400,000 acres of Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Son of the former leader of the Yawanawa, Tashka grew up witnessing the virtual enslavement of his people by the rubber industry and experiencing the near annihilation of the tribe’s culture by missionaries. Since the 1980s, Tashka has actively fought for the rights of indigenous peoples. Realizing that he needed further education to improve the situation of the Yawanawa, he pursued higher education in the U.S. and abroad. He was directly involved in the creation of the Indigenous Lawyers Association and co-founded the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth Alliance, through which he shares the experiences and knowledge of the Yawanawa with youth around the world, and works with projects that guarantee the preservation of different indigenous cultures. In 2001, Tashka returned to Brazil, and chose to use the knowledge gained from his experiences abroad to help his people transform their future. He became the youngest Chief in the history of the Yawanawá at age twenty-five. In a short amount of time, Tashka and Laura, his wife, have managed to double the extent of Yawanawa territory, reinvigorate Yawanawa culture, and establish economically and socially empowering relationships with the outside world including important partnerships with Aveda and FARM Rio.