UNM Rainforest Innovations was awarded an Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance grant in April to help break down barriers and generate opportunity through entrepreneurship in historically underserved communities in New Mexico with a primary focus on coal-impacted tribal communities. Through this grant, the program aims to create new jobs, higher incomes, and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship by linking resources and assisting entrepreneurs in filling voids.
The Tribal Liaisons are an important component of the program, and their main mission is to connect with established and aspiring entrepreneurs within tribal communities across the state.
They serve as navigators, dedicated mentors, and connection points to identify barriers and seek solutions through resources within the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Scott Tafoya is a professionally trained coach and in 2010 established Truth Dancer Coaching which focuses on Native American leadership coaching and training. Growing up in Santa Clara Pueblo, Scott graduated from Espanola Valley High School and from childhood was an active member of the Baptist Mission in Santa Clara. Majoring in Psychology and Music, Scott later completed Seminary and pastored in his home church for 6 years. He went on to pastor in other Native communities including Browning, MT; Gallup, NM; and Albuquerque, NM.
While pastoring in Gallup, Scott became bi-vocational and took on jobs including Director and Business Manager of a Halfway House, owning a mobile auto-glass business in two cities, teaching and directing in branch locations of seminaries and his college alma mater, and driving a school bus. Before moving to Albuquerque, Scott began a Doctor of Ministry degree and graduated in 2010. It was that experience that inspired him to become a professionally trained coach and establish Truth Dancer Coaching to focus on Native American Leadership Coaching and Training in both secular and church arenas.
What interested you in the tribal liaison position and what do you hope to accomplish through the program?
The prospect of being able to use many of my coaching and related skills in helping Native American people (and) making new and stronger connections for my coaching company so I can more fully serve our Native people in that way.
What would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner just getting started?
Don’t be afraid to follow your heart. Do the personal growth needed to meet the challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Use key mentors to learn from. Hire a coach to empower you to take your own next right action in your life!
Connect with Scott Tafoya at firstname.lastname@example.org