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COVID-19 impact on Indian Country economies to be discussed at virtual conference

NAFOA will hold its annual conference online in April. NAFOA and various experts will discuss how Indian Country should manage the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in regard to economic, credit and financial challenges.

The cost of the virtual conference is $300 for NAFOA member tribes and $400 for all other participants. NAFOA is able to offer assistance for a limited number of registrations to the conference for participants who may need assistance with the cost. This is available to both member and non-member tribes of NAFOA.

Registration will also include access to The Harvard Business School’s “Crisis Management for Leaders” series. 

NAFOA serves member tribes, including the Seminole Tribe of Florida, through advocacy, events, leadership development and education initiatives.

More information is here

Here is the NAFOA conference agenda:

Friday, April 17

1p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)

Compliance and the COVID-19 Funding

CPE Field of Study: Finance, Technical

How can tribal government crisis management teams organize their financial management and grants management teams to coordinate federal assistance during the Coronavirus crisis? Many of the operational impacts and costs associated with the crisis are unknowable at this point. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been issuing guidance to federal agencies on the importance of maintaining integrity of programs amid the crisis and has extended flexibilities to those impacted by loss of operations and increased cost as a result of the crisis. In addition, discretionary federal assistance will be used to supplement existing programs and personnel. This panel is dedicated to understanding the steps tribes need to take to ensure their federal assistance awards are safeguarded and proper procedures and documentation are in place to facilitate minimal disruptions to program goals.

Speaker: Corrine Wilson, CPA – Principal – REDW LLC

Speaker: Hattie Mitchell, NAFOA Treasurer, Tribal Controller, Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians

Speaker: Tasha Repp, Partner, Moss Adams LLP

Monday, April 20

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)

The Community Reinvestment Act – An Historic Focus on Indian Country

CPE Field of Study: Economics, Technical

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting will speak to the potential changes in the CRA proposed rules and his approach for under-capitalized communities.

Speaker: Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Indian Affairs & the Crisis – A Conversation with the Assistant Secretary

CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge, Technical

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney will discuss her vision for dealing with the crisis and speak to efforts underway at the Department of the Interior. The CARES Act law and distribution of funds and assistance to tribal communities will be among the topics.

Speaker: Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

Tuesday, April 21

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)

Surviving the Economic Impacts

CPE Field of Study: Economics, Technical

Economic specialists will discuss measuring and dealing with the impacts of the crisis on the sectors that Indian Country relies upon for funding their governments, including hospitality, gaming, tourism and natural resources.

Moderator: Alan Gordon, Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America, BofA Securities, Inc.

Speaker: Charles Dougherty, Economist, Wells Fargo

Speaker: Jonathan Taylor, The Taylor Policy Group

Speaker: Randall Akee, Associate Professor of Public Policy, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Surviving the Financial & Credit Impacts

CPE Field of Study: Finance, Technical

Experts will discuss the current market conditions and ways to manage assets through this crisis. Topics will include how the CARES Act is impacting the markets and economy and what are the consequences of negative interest rates and a volatile market.

Speaker: Aaron Klein, Economic Advisor, NAFOA

Speaker: David Howard, CEO, TFA Capital Partners

Speaker: Christine Swanick, Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (ET)

Surviving the Economic & Investment Impacts – Epilogue

CPE Field of Study: Management Services, Technical

After gaining a better understanding of the economic and financial impacts, the NAFOA policy team will review the CARES Act provisions that assist tribal governments and tribal-owned entities to manage the economic and financial impacts of this crisis. The session will include a discussion about strategies for getting the most out of the Act for both government funding and entity credit.

Wednesday, April 22

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)

Green Light to Grow: Navigating Hemp’s Inaugural Growing Season

CPE Field of Study: Business Management & Organizational, Non-Technical

With a handful of tribes granted the green light to grow hemp, learn what goes into a successful production plan and how tribes are preparing to take advantage of this budding industry.

Speaker: Colby Duren, Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

Speaker: La Vonne Peck, Co-Founder, Native Network Consulting

Speaker: Sarah Blitz, Associate, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (ET)

A Rare Opportunity – Own The Communications Spectrum Over Your Own Lands

CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge, Technical

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is offering tribes a chance to own the communications spectrum over their lands at no cost. A wireless spectrum license from the FCC is a unique asset that could allow tribes an opportunity to create new jobs, attract private investment and generate new economic growth. This opportunity will end on Aug. 3, 2020. The speakers at this session will explain how and why tribes should take advantage of the Rural Tribal Priority Window before it closes.

Speaker: Geoff Blackwell, Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel, AMERIND Risk

Speaker: Matt Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association

Speaker: Sascha Meinrath, Founder and Director, The XL Lab

Thursday, April 23

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Cross-Functional Response for Managing in Critical Times

CPE Field of Study: Management Services, Technical

This session will address best practices on crisis response, communicating with stakeholders, including banks, and developing a strategy for federal relief. Communication with all types of stakeholders is essential in this changing landscape of COVID-19. Learn how organizations can build a cross-functional team to make selective decisions and analyze resources. Experts will provide insight in the lending community to be prepared for what information banks may need and gain from a discussion on the elements of the CARES Act.

Speaker: Clay Vanderpool, Managing Director, DWH, LLC

Speaker: Mike Lettig, National Executive, KeyBank Native American Financial Services

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (ET)

Digital Communications & Brand Management in Crisis Times

CPE Field of Study: Communications & Marketing, Non-Technical

This session will cover how to use digital platforms to properly inform constituents and audiences in high-pressure or moments of crisis. Attendees will learn about the value of digital communications in brand management during times of crisis.

Speaker: David Bledsoe, NMC, Student Engagement & Communications Manager, American Indian College Fund

Speaker: Ricki McCarroll, Founder & Principal Consultant, NUNA Consulting Group

Speaker: Dr. Traci L Morris, Director, American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University

Speaker: Amory Zschach, Strategic Communications Manager, National Indian Child Welfare Association

Friday, April 24

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET)

Financial Management Friday

GASB Changes (Part One) – New Standards Impacting Tribal Governments

CPE Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental), Technical

This panel discussion will address what is needed to implement recent GASB standards, leases, fiduciary funds and construction-related expenditures. The session will serve as a general update from the GASB and the Tribal Government Accounting Working Group (TGAWG) on their joint efforts to address financial reporting issues related to tribal enterprises. A more in-depth discussion on lease changes will follow in the panel session on GASB 87-Leases.

Moderator: Remi Omisore, Tribal Services Principal, CLA

Speaker: Roberta Reese, Senior Project Manager, GASB

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Financial Management Friday

GASB Changes (Part Two) – Understanding New Tribal Leasing Requirements

CPE Field of Study: Accounting (Governmental), Technical

Since issuing GASB Statement 87: Leases, the GASB recently released an implementation guide and clarified the standard across the board for certain activities. Tribal governments in many cases are both a lessee, acting as a tenant, and a lessor, since they are considered the owner of a property conveying use through a contract. As a result, tribal governments will need to review all of their current leases and contracts to determine if they meet the definition of a lease set forth in GASB 87. This session is an opportunity to hear from tribal governments who have implemented GASB 87 as well as an authoritative literature review relating to GASB 87 with accounting professionals.

Speaker: Brian Anderson, Senior Manager, Audit – Wipfli LLP

Speaker: Wes Benally, Senior Manager, Audit & Assurance, REDW LLC