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Kyle Doney recognized with ‘40 under 40’ award

Kyle Doney, center, at an FSU game last November with Brighton Councilman Larry Howard, left, and Hollywood council representative special adviser Tomie Motlow, right. (Courtesy photo)

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) has recognized the Seminole Tribe’s Kyle Doney as one of its Native American “40 under 40” award recipients for 2023.

The award was created 14 years ago to acknowledge those between 18-and-39 years old who dedicate considerable time and effort to their tribal communities and beyond.

Doney, 39, has held various roles at the tribe throughout the years. He’s been the deputy executive director of the Native Learning Center since 2011, but started working for the tribe in 2007 as an information technology technician.

“One of the most important things that anyone would need to know about Kyle is his level of professionalism,” Georgette Palmer Smith (Kiowa/Choctaw), the executive director of the Native Learning Center, said in her letter of recommendation to NCAIED. “Kyle is honest, friendly, and a natural leader. His ability to look beyond the minutia of daily tasks to see the bigger picture and what it means to be of service to Indian Country is obvious after working with him for the past 12 years.”

Doney has served in other tribal positions as well. In 2013, he was selected for the STOF election board committee, and from 2014 to 2018, he served on the board of directors of the Florida Governors Council on Indian Affairs. Since 2017, he’s served on the council of trustees for the United National Indian Tribal Youth organization. He’s also served as secretary of the tribe’s Gaming Commission since 2017.

Doney graduated in 2007 from Florida State University with a degree in political science. Since then, he’s been a very active FSU alumni and supporter. He’s also a fervent sports fan who is closely tied to the FSU football program.

Doney was selected in 2008 by then-FSU president T.K. Wetherell to the FSU Alumni Association’s national board of directors, and in 2013 he was recognized as an FSU Alumni Association “circle of gold” recipient. In 2017, then-FSU president John Thrasher selected Doney to serve on the president’s advisory panel on university namings and recognitions. Most recently, in 2020, Doney was selected to serve on the president’s task force on antiracism, equity and inclusion.

“Kyle is a proud Florida State University graduate who has served countless hours for the university in a myriad of ways,” Julie Decker, president and CEO of the FSU Alumni Association, said in her letter of recommendation to NCAIED. “Kyle represents his community with grace, loyalty, and pride as he brings visibility to our institution and heritage. Everyone is proud to know him and work with him. I have never seen him turn away from an opportunity to be a part of our community.”

Doney continued his formal education after graduating from FSU. In 2012, he graduated from the FBI Miami Citizens Academy, and in 2020 he earned a master of legal studies in Indigenous peoples law from the University of Oklahoma. The “40 under 40” awards ceremony is scheduled to take place April 4 at the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. NCAIED is a nonprofit that assists tribes in business and economic development. More is at

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at