OCEANSIDE — Oceanside resident April Tinhorn was awarded the prestigious 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award at the Reservation Economic Summit in Milwaukee, Wis. on Oct. 8.
The annual award recognizes 40 successful Native Americans under the age of 40 who have already made a significant impact in their career and community.
Tinhorn, of the Navajo Nation/Hualapai Tribe, said it is an honor and she feels responsible for being a role model to fellow Native Americans.
Tinhorn was recognized for her career at IBM and the National Security Agency, and her work with the Indian Health Service and Seminole Tribe of Florida.
She has also developed and implemented two winning Native American social media political campaigns, and created a web strategy for the Hualapai tribal government’s online community.
“The future of Indian country will be shaped by exceptional leaders such as April who have proven their unrelenting dedication to enhancing the lives of those around them,” Gary Davis, president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, said.
Among the 40 recipients was Shoni Schimmel, who grew up on the Umatilla reservation in Oregon, and now plays for the WNBA Atlanta Dream team.
Also receiving recognition was Frank Waln, of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who is an award-winning hip-hop artist, producer and performer.
Waln regularly works with disadvantaged youth to teach them song writing and encourage literacy.
Tinhorn said the annual summit helps debunk negative generalizations.
“Native Americans are less than 1 percent of the population, and have the highest diabetes, health and social illnesses,” Tinhorn said. “When people are generalizing about Native Americans they paint a grim picture. Events like this one showcase the Indian culture.”
She said it is refreshing and empowering to share the other side of the picture.
“The showcase of ‘40 under 40,’ are not just emerging businesspeople, they’re doing positive things,” Tinhorn said.
Tinhorn added positive role models inspire youth, and prompt them to be more accountable.
Tinhorn recently moved to Oceanside where she heads her own consulting firm, Tinhorn Consulting, that provides web development, social media, facilitation and training services.