A Busy New Year for Team ONABEN

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Hello, friends! The first month of 2016 is nearing an end — how time flies when you’re having fun and doing what you love! It’s been a busy New Year for Team ONABEN, and I don’t foresee our team slowing down anytime soon – we’re refreshed and ready to go!

Already in 2016, ONABEN is on the move. In early January, our team traveled to Hawaii to deliver the first of four training events on Molokai! Let me say that it was likely our best event to date! And that is a statement considering some of our best work has been conducted on this little island over the past two years. What made this event unique? Well, our team was accompanied by Louie Gong who assisted us in providing an artist training to approximately 50 students, and by addressing one of the island’s high schools in an assembly. I am always amazed by the creativity that flows through the Native communities that we find ourselves in, but when young people are behind the creative process, I am inspired even more! Our trip also included an evening workshop for adult entrepreneurs. Our team provided much needed information on best practices in social media management. I don’t know if I have ever been a part of a more interactive workshop! We are ever grateful for the support of the Administration for Native Americans (ANA)!

Always planning ahead for future projects, Team ONABEN made the most out of our time in Hawaii. Meetings were scheduled on Oahu, Kauai and Maui! I am excited to include that the meetings paid off. New partnerships were made…which means that new projects are on the way! It was a whirlwind trip of various plane rides, a little travel drama (cancelled flights, airlines we have never flown on…tiny airplanes!) and a lot of accomplishments!


As our team looks to the months ahead, our goal is to better serve the peoples and places that mean so much to us by taking the time to care for our team! A healthy team is a successful team! We are fortunate in that our projects almost always reach the level of success that we plan for. But, we are a small team and we are doing some pretty big things! As Team Leader my job is to make sure that all of our efforts are coordinated in a way that is most effective. How do we plan to do that? It won’t be easy, but my plan is to implement tools that will help all of us to accomplish what is necessary to reach our goals. We are focusing on time management and building a stronger team internally. To our colleagues, I encourage you to look within your own organizations. Dynamite comes in small packages! But, dynamite needs to be handled with care!

Look for some outstanding results from ONABEN’s work in 2016! We are literally all over the country…and, may even find ourselves outside of US borders. A couple of years ago, as ONABEN was rebranded, our mission changed a bit to include the word Indigenous. It’s time to explore the possibilities!

Want to catch up with ONABEN? In February, our team will be in El Paso, Texas, from the 24-27, managing a cohort group of 15 small business owners from Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas! What’s the plan? Well, our goal is to grow the capacity of our cohort members to deliver services to the federal government, to tribal programs, and just as importantly, to the private sector. Thanks SBA for awarding ONABEN with a 7(j) Grant! We will make the most of it, I promise!

Talk Soon, V.

Michael Bridges

Michael Bridges

Michael is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and a member of the Cherokee Nation. With 10 years of service as an Infantryman, Michael implements the core values of integrity, honor, and selfless service into his leadership of the company. With over 20 years of experience, Michael began working with building websites and graphic design in 1998. A family-oriented man, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Kristina and their three children. He is a proud and active member of Jenks Lodge #497 A.F. & A.M. and an advisor for the Order of DeMolay.