UNM Rainforest Innovations

UNM Rainforest Innovations first interacted with Dr. Denise Gabaldon-Thronas in September 2022. Denise was attending the annual American Indian Business Enterprise Conference hosted by Arrowhead Center. Denise, a Doctor of Naprapathy from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, was participating in the conference’s pitch competition where she shared about her Naprapathic Medicine Practice and desire to bring holistic health and healing to her community. After hearing Denise’s pitch, UNMRI connected Denise with, Tribal Liaison, Scott Tafoya. During their first several meetings, Scott interviewed Denise on her various needs, challenges, and goals regarding her business.

Over the next year, Denise continued to meet with Scott and engage with his mentoring and coaching resources provided through the NM Tribal Entrepreneurship Enhancement Program and Scott’s personal Truth Dancer Coaching business and services. Here are some items Denise expressed that Scott assisted her with this year March 2023 – July 2023:

  • Assistance with pitching and PowerPoints related to small business and those specific to partnering with government agencies
  • Resources for guidance for working with government healthcare agencies
  • Connection and referrals to potential business and funding opportunities
  • Help preparing for the HHS and DOI buy Indian Industry Day Matchmaker event
  • Coaching regarding next steps for business growth and strategy
  • Coaching on how to engage with potential partners and the right questions to ask
  • Referrals to resources regarding programs/structures for loans and collateral assistance. Some of these resources included the Lender Match Tool, Business Finance Finder, Chickasaw Community Bank
  • Referrals to relevant NM University Center Seminars, Videos, and Workshops
  • Referrals to grant opportunities
  • Networking, introductions, and referrals to potential leads, partners and opportunities


As Dr. Denise Gabaldon-Thronas’s Naprapathic Practice continues to evolve and grow towards providing holistic healing for the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh and beyond, Scott and UNM Rainforest Innovations Tribal Entrepreneurship Enhancement Program is proud to play a part in helping her reach her goals.

I would like to say that there is no measure of how impactful, inspirational, and motivational that Mr. Tafoya has been in my journey of being an entrepreneur.  Mr. Tafoya has helped me stay accountable and motivated to create a plan and set goals that are attainable and reflect on them when maybe not completely met,” Denise said when asked for feedback regarding Scott’s role and impact working with her as a Tribal Liaison and Coach.

Learn more about Denise’s Entrepreneurial Journey and Successes in this interview with her and Scott on the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Podcast: https://youtu.be/yRvKVFJpJr4?si=en_0BssqJjdAzTFp

Interested in connecting with Scott’s Tribal Liaison and Coaching Services? Contact him at scott@truthdancercoaching.com

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