Joe Nayquonabe, Jr. is an American Indian business professional that has spent his career reimagining and reinventing how American Indian tribal economies grow and prosper.
He spent over a decade as a marketing executive growing the Grand Casino brand before ascending to CEO of the Mille Lacs Band’s Corporate Commission where he created several companies including Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, which manages the entire business portfolio of the Mille Lacs Band; 2020 Brand Solutions; Maadaadizi Holdings; Wewinabi Inc., and Makwa Global. He has also kept Grand Casino at the forefront as one of the most valuable brands in Indian Gaming.
In addition to his work, Nayquonabe is a member of YPO (formerly Young Presidents' Organization). He also serves on several boards including: the National Diversity Advisory Board for the University of Minnesota, the American Indian Advisory Board for St. Cloud State University, Herberger School of Business Advisory Board for St. Cloud State University, the American Red Cross Minneapolis Region, the Initiative Foundation, Visit Saint Paul, Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, Great River Passage Conservancy, Metropolitan State College, the Minnesota Historical Society, Mille Lacs Health System, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – Advisory Council.
Nayquonabe has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from St. Cloud State University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a master of tribal administration and governance degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
He and his wife, Chris, live in Onamia with their daughters, Bella, Phoenix-Rose, and Xiana. In his spare time, Joe enjoys running marathons, studying the Ojibwe language, and reading.
Most Requested Programs
Titans, artists, coaches, leaders and icons. Time magazine refers to them each year as influential people. If you had to fill a roster with influential leaders, who would you choose? What about the people in your life that inspire you to become a better person? A better leader? Who do you know that builds upon their integrity and molds a culture of values and service? In this program, Joe Nayquonabe showcases the powerful leaders he’s admiring now for their ability to not only shape history but truly make an impact on the world. He takes his roster of influencers and illustrates how their extraordinary impact is relatable to today’s workforce and how you can heed their words of advice to make your own impact. The best part of this program is that his roster of influential leaders’ changes – you never know who you’ll learn about next.
An Indigenous Story and What It Teaches Us about Race Equity
The forces shaping our societal landscape – fairness, equity, transparency, and trust – are commanding attention in the workplace. To cultivate compassion and drive motivation, employers need to expand their awareness of the people that they employ. Every person has a story, a history, and a heritage that they are proud of. The truth is, when it comes to the workplace, so much of that remains covered. Given the uncertainty and demands of this new era, employees are especially sensitive to issues of fairness and how organizational leaders treat them – it may even be a driving force for recruitment. In “An Indigenous Story,” Joe Nayquonabe peels back the layers of race inequity and reveals a story that not only has left audiences stunned but drives them to think differently about equity in the workplace.
Building Your Personal Brand
The topic of creating a personal brand is nothing new – you want to build a personal brand identity to create the kind of image you wish to project onto the world. It’s a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes. So often, one of the easiest ways to get lost in the process is to not know where to start. In this program, Joe Nayquonabe brings personal branding to the forefront with interactive exercises and personal examples that help tell your story powerfully, authentically, consistently, and visibly.
“We were so inspired by the way Joe connected with the audience and the entertaining way he shared his amazing story at the MLCV Leadership Conference, that we invited Joe to speak at our very next Servant Leadership Conference in San Diego. We love Joe’s engaging and personable style. He gives the audience tangible things they can do to become better leaders backed up with incredible results he’s accomplished with his team.” - Robin Swift, President, Servant Leadership Institute
“Bold, insightful and real. A courageous thoughtful leader, empowering his community and increasing individual accountability needed to change how we do business. Joe Nayquonabe leverages his strength as a regional business leader and his passion for making a difference to help us all focus on how we can do more.” - Channon Lennon, Vice President of Economic Development, Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce
“Joe’s speaking engagement was thought-provoking and inspiring. Our business leaders were totally engaged as Joe took us through the lows and highs of his life and left us wanting to know more about him. We were fortunate to have him as our featured speaker at our Annual Meeting.” - Jennifer Gale, President, River Heights Chamber of Commerce
“Having both seen Joe present 3 times to audiences and 1 time to our Board, he delivers a fantastic message with enthusiasm. You will find his delivery is peppered with humor and practical takeaways. He connects with his gift of storytelling and unique insight.” - John Connelly, President, Twin Cities North Chamber
“Joe deftly weaves his leadership insights into tangible take-away’s that attendees can use in their own personal and professional lives. He has the ability to engage the audience as a CEO, a runner, a rapper…his many facets are inspiring.” - Lori Higgins, Metro North Chamber of Commerce