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After Hours: Kari McCormick of Kitchell

Director of Client Services — Native American Division
Kitchell, Phoenix
With Kitchell for 2 1/2 years
Born in Scottsdale
Received bachelors in Business Administration from ASU; attended Fuller Theological Seminary
Husband Terry Fong;  son, AJ (26), daughters, Kassi (21), Hunter (12), newly adopted foster child; stepdaughter, Nici (31); 2 grand daughters; Great grandfather (maternal), Joseph P. Allyn served as one of the original Associated Justices on the Supreme Court of the Arizona Territory appointed by Abraham Lincoln; (paternal), Territorial Secretary Richard C. McCormick served at the same time in 1800s

Favorites:

Sports/Teams — College, ASU 1st and UA 2nd (my dad played football there so I have to support them as well). I root for our local teams: Diamondbacks, Suns and Cardinals, but I love watching a great soccer or tennis match.
Music — Eclectic from alternative, hard rock, jazz and blues. Saw Carlos Santana and got to meet the band; it was incredible!
Destinations — Loved traveling to Australia seeing the Great Barrier Reef, an ancient rainforest and spending time at Ayers Rock. My husband is from the Fiji Islands so we will be traveling there this summer to attend a wedding. A European trip is on our near to-do list, but I would love to visit Viet Nam, Galapagos Islands, and Africa.
Activities — Golf, tennis, reading, and traveling with family

What did you think you’d be when you were growing up?

Veterinarian or marine biologist.

What accomplishment you are especially proud of?

Having kids that have grown into kind, independent and balanced human beings making their own mark in the world. Parenting is the toughest job and you never know if you’re doing it right, you just hope and pray you don’t mess it up too bad. Professionally a highlight would be serving my second term on the National Indian Gaming Association Executive Board. You are nominated and elected by your peers, which makes this so special. I was awarded the 2012 Great Women of Gaming Rising Star Award which again was from a nomination of peers, so I feel really blessed to have so many wonderful colleagues who I admire and respect.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I used to do competitive kick boxing, I was an early elementary school teacher and I attended seminary with intentions of becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Advice:

Received — It all comes out in the wash. When you can’t control the behaviors and actions of others, you can spend your time fighting the chaos or you use your energy to create justice through your own actions.   At the end of the day, people will judge you not on the words of others, but on your actions and integrity by which you live.
To Share — Because 90% of my work is with tribes and tribal development, the question I get asked the most is why is working with tribes so different? I always advise anyone interested in working with tribes to first and foremost understand, tribes are sovereign nations. Just as any foreign government they are fully empowered to form their own governments, create laws and are charged to create an environment of well-being in education, health, economic development for their members to thrive. Because of this, tribal development can be (ital) very challenging because it’s not all about profit and bottom-line cost. There is a much deeper sense of responsibility toward future generations and well-being of whole communities with any development. Once you understand and respect the sovereignty, and that each tribe is very different in their structure and way of doing business, it can be one of the most gratifying markets with immeasurable intrinsic rewards knowing that what you do can change communities.