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Prominent Native leader returns to SKC to deliver keynote address

| May 30, 2024 12:00 AM

Angelique Albert, CEO of Native Forward Scholars Fund, is the keynote speaker for Salish Kootenai College commencement ceremonies, 11 a.m. June 8 at the the Joe McDonald Health and Fitness Center in Pablo.

Raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Albert is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Her leadership is grounded in over 25 years of experience spanning nonprofit, philanthropy, business and government sectors.

Prior to her tenure at Native Forward, she served as the executive director of the Salish Kootenai College Foundation and associate director of the National American Indigenous Business Leaders Organization. She has also forged enduring work in the philanthropic realm, notably with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, the Case Foundation, and the Beaumont Foundation of America.

Albert is a first-generation college student and graduate of Salish Kootenai College where she received degrees in Native American Studies, Liberal Arts and Human Services. She earned her MBA with a concentration in American Indian Entrepreneurship from Gonzaga University, where she now serves on the advisory council of the university's MBA-AIE Program.

Albert was also the 2024 Gonzaga University graduate commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Native Forward is the largest provider of direct scholarships to Native students in the United States. At its helm, Albert is a mission-driven leader who puts her expertise in public service, philanthropy and social justice to work ensuring that Native students have the resources and support to fulfill their academic and professional aspirations.

Since assuming leadership in 2017, she has transformed Native Forward into a national force, surpassing $400 million in total scholarships awarded to more than 22,000 students from more than 500 tribes in all 50 states. Both Native Forward and Albert have garnered notable acclaim, exemplified by the 2024 RealLeaders Impact Award which honors global companies catalyzing transformative change for the greater good. She has also earned a spot on the 2023 NonProfit Times' Power and Influence Top 50 CEO list, and a recognition as a Woman Worth Watching in Leadership by Profiles in Diversity Journal in 2023.

Beyond her role at Native Forward, Albert is an award-winning artist celebrated for her innovative approach to cultural preservation through traditional native arts. She has earned the Best of Show award at the Southwestern Association of American Indian Art (SWAIA) Indian Market and has showcased her work at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Art Juried Art Exhibition.