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Meet Our Class of 2018 Fellows: Chris Dann

Brandeis University, International Business School

Ya'at'eeh! Greetings! My name is Chris Dann and I am Red House born for Tobacco. I am from Flagstaff, AZ while my family is from Greasewood, AZ. I am Navajo/Hopi. I love playing music and writing short stories. When I am not doing these activities, I volunteer (LBGTQIA events), lift weights, watch football, or play with my dog. Growing up, I remember being on the reservation (Navajo Nation) and seeing open skies, natural land, and the having the solitude to hear the animals in the night. But the hardship of not having easy access to water was always hard to overcome enjoying the beautiful observations. As I continue to explore, I try to keep my Navajo traditions alive while progressing in this world. With regards to the environment and the current state of clean water, I try to be vibrant and ready to fight for the rights of these resources. To express humility is to express the want to keep learning.

What made you consider business school?

After graduating with a finance degree from NAU, I knew I wanted to work as a consultant helping communities with natural resource needs (clean water). But to be a consultant, I knew I needed experience before going to grad school. So, working for almost 10 years and living in different areas, I finally have the knowledge and perception to start my next step in life which is obtaining an MBA to get closer to becoming a consultant.

What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

Exploring new opportunities with a new community. Learning about foreign surroundings and local communities allows for a better perception. To own and help better local issues provides a more humanistic feel to what I want to accomplish in my career after graduating.

Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?

First, it would by my mom, Elizabeth Beyal. She is a strong women who overcame a lot in her life. She is tough and she is a natural leader. If you were to tell her this, it wouldn't faze her because she would never take this as a compliment, just an opinion. She is modest and leads life when an open mind and a forgiving heart. Also, I would say Samuel Steward. Sadly, I did not get to know him, but reading his biography, Secret Historian, he was an amazing individual. He never felt guilty for who he was because he never though of himself and his lifestyle to be wrong or different. To instill such notion in an individual and to lead an incredible life without deconstructing to other people's notions about normalization and just doing what feels right...well there's power in that.

What's one thing everyone should know about you?

I am always ready for a jam session. I've done a lot in my life and I learned that music allows me to connect with anybody!