The American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma recently announced Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member and employee Linda Arredondo as a member of its 2018 Leadership Native Oklahoma class.
Arredondo is a descendant of the Young and Vieux families. Her great-great-grandfather George L. Young Sr. became the sixth representative on the original Business Committee recognized by the federal government in 1862. Arredondo is influenced by him and also finds inspiration in her great-great-grandmother Lizzie (McDole) Young.
“Lizzie was known to be a strong woman and a solid role model. She was not afraid to take risks in order to help her family and community members succeed. I find comfort in knowing that she is a guiding force who can help us continue to live in a good way, along with all of our Potawatomi loved ones who have gone before us.”
Arredondo continues her family’s legacy by serving as Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Director of Information Technology.
“I oversee the design and management of technology infrastructure for CPN’s executive, government and judicial branches,” Arredondo said. “Additionally, I provide IT leadership for CPN’s enterprise, industrial and health care initiatives.”
Arredondo spent much of her childhood in Kansas and Oklahoma prior to relocating with her family to Florida. Before coming to work for the Tribe, she held positions within the finance, IT and emergency management sectors in Florida.
“After many years of living and working in Florida as a chief technology officer, I felt drawn home to serve our Tribe and help to bring it forward with regard to technology services, data sovereignty and organizational leadership,” she said.
One of her most significant accomplishments before joining the Nation includes reducing the IT department’s annual budget at her last employer between $8 and $10 million while providing equivalent or better-quality IT services.
Arredondo’s leadership ethos
She embraced opportunities to learn from others early in her career and finds value in continuing this practice.
“I have blind spots, and there are areas where I need to gain knowledge,” she said. “I like to seek out mentorship, and I like to mentor. Those are two things that I’m pretty passionate about keeping up throughout the course of my career.”
When looking to add new members to her team, Arredondo seeks to hire people more knowledgeable than herself. She said “building the bench” is an essential aspect of her job.
“My leadership style is to create future leaders and to let people do their jobs and to always be seeking out knowledge and information from those who surround me,” she said. “I believe that someone in a leadership position should be working to build future leaders.”
She finished her bachelor’s degree from St. Gregory’s University in December and is exploring multiple degree programs that allow remote study combined with on-campus visits.
“It’s important to continue my education so I can better myself — better the people I work with and the organization I work for,” she said.
Leadership Native Oklahoma members participate in seven sessions held once a month across the state. The program’s goal is to bring together leaders within Indian Country to discuss innovative ideas and opportunities to enhance the lives of Native and non-Native alike.
Arredondo is eager to explore emerging trends within Native American tribes, businesses
“The opportunity to engage with leaders who serve our community-at-large while forging long-lasting professional relationships is an invaluable experience,” she said. “I am confident that this program will improve my ability to serve our Tribe in a leadership capacity.”