WHO WE ARE
Roanhorse Consulting (RCLLC) is an indigenous women-led think tank. RCLLC works with unheralded communities, businesses, organizations, and individuals to achieve and aspire their self-determination through forging communities of practice, strengthening indigenous evaluation methods, creating equity through entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic empowerment from within. RCLLC co-designs wealth and power building efforts that directly invest in our leaders, support meaningful data collection informed by indigenous research approaches, and helps build thoughtful community-led projects that enforce values that put people at the center.
Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO and Portfolio Lead, provides leadership and oversight over the entire portfolio of work as well as leads key strategies focused on ecosystem building, access to capital and community-led economic development activities. Vanessa got her management chops working for 7 years at a Chicago-based nonprofit, the Delta Institute, focused throughout the Great Lakes region to build a resilient environment and economy through creative, sustainable, market-driven solutions. Vanessa oversaw many of Delta’s on-the-ground energy efficiency, green infrastructure, community engagement programs, and workforce development training. Vanessa is a 2021 PayPal Maggie Lena Walker’s Emerging Leader Awardee and a 2020 Conscious Company Media’s World Changing Woman in Sustainable Business Awardee. She is a 2021 Purpose Fund Building fellow and a 2020 Boston Impact Initiative Fund-Building fellow. She is a founding member of the Zebras Unite Co-op and an advisor to Angels of Impact Fund. She sits on the boards of Groundworks NM, Delta Institute, Zebras Unite and is an advisor to Decolonizing Wealth, Angels of Impact Fund, GenderSmart’s JEDI Working Group, and Social Venture Circle’s Restorative Investing Taskforce. She is one of 8 co-founders of Native Women Lead, an organization dedicated to growing Native women into positions of leadership and business. Vanessa is Diné (Navajo) citizen and resides on Tiwa Territory (Albuquerque, NM) with her partner and their son.
Olivia Roanhorse, MPH, COO and Portfolio Lead, provides leadership and oversight of key policy, research and evaluation projects. Prior to joining RCLLC, Olivia was the Vice President of Programs for Notah Begay III Foundation where she oversaw the strategic and operational responsibilities for all program areas. Before returning to New Mexico in 2012, Olivia held several health program and policy positions in Chicago. She was a Policy Associate at the Ounce of Prevention Fund; a Project Coordinator for RWJF National Project: Finding Answers Program: Disparities Research for Change; and a Clinic Manager for Community Health, the largest free health clinic in Illinois. Olivia has a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois in Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Colorado College. Olivia attended Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health from 2018 to 2021 working on her Doctorate of Public Health. Recognizing that the institution did not value health equity and social justice, she withdrew and decided to instead focus on her lived experiences and the opportunity to co-design meaningful solutions with communities. Olivia is a board member with the Health Equity Council in NM, and a Peer Review Committee Advisor with Black Brain Trust. Olivia is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and lives in Albuquerque, NM with her daughter.
Melissa Colbert-Taylor, Operations Specialist, provides executive leadership support, operations design and team management. Prior to joining Roanhorse Consulting, Melissa worked with small businesses and nonprofits with a focus on revenue growth and development. She is also a musician and spent many years performing in various rock and experimental bands in Chicago IL and Athens GA. She is looking forward to bringing her professional as well as lived experience as a Black woman into how we can restructure the way businesses and organizations operate with a focus on anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and complete liberation for the new majority.
Casey Kee Long, MPH, Research and Evaluation Manager, leads and supports projects with data-informed strategic planning and decision making. Prior to joining RCLLC, Casey was working with the National Indian Health Board on their oral health and tobacco cessation initiatives. Casey also worked to expand youth programming in various communities on the Navajo Nation with Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment and Wings of America. Casey has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Grand Canyon University and an undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College. Casey is Diné from the Navajo Nation and resides in Gallup, NM.
abdiel j. lópez, Capital Strategies Manager, provides project management on key portfolio efforts that are focused on ecosystem building, access to capital, and community-led economic development activities. Prior to their arrival at Roanhorse Consulting, abdiel was the Program Manager at the Purpose Foundation, where they helped launch the inaugural Purpose Futures Fellowship. Their introduction to systems-change work is rooted in their tenure as the Program Officer at the Center for Cultural Innovation, where they managed the national AmbitioUS portfolio, which invests in alternative economic paradigms authored by and for BIPOC communities, from 2019 to 2021. Outside of the alternative economic space, abdiel is a writer whose work focuses on queerness, loss, and failure. abdiel earned a B.A. in sociology and studied art history at Grinnell College where they were a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and Posse Scholar. abdiel currently lives on the unceded lands of the Tongva/Chumash peoples with their Pomeranian dog-child, Horchata. abdiel is of Chatino descent. (photo: Bethanie Hines Photography.)
Matthew Frank, LMSW, MPH, Health and Wealth Intern, is assisting on health and economic research-focused projects that center on community voice and knowledge. Matthew has more than 10 years of experience in research translation for population health improvement and program development, implementation, and evaluation. Most of his work has been with American Indian/Alaska Native and Indigenous communities, and with LGBTQ+/two-spirit people. His areas of focus include community-based participatory research, community engagement and outreach, evaluation of programs and services, project management, mixed methodologies, grant development and administration, and organizational social work practice. He received an M.S.W. and M.P.H. at Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Welfare at the University of Washington. Matthew is Diné from the Navajo Nation and resides in Seattle, WA.