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Speaker Recap - April Tinhorn: Native American Heritage Month Panel

Our speaker for the month of November was the wonderful April Tinhorn. Every month but especially this month, we honor/celebrate the culture and heritage of American Indian and Alaskan Native's.

PRSSA welcomed, April Tinhorn, our featured guest speaker from TinHorn consulting. She was born and raised on the Hualapai reservation in northern Arizona. She is also part Navajo and Chinese. April graduated with a B.S from Arizona State University and an M.S. from John Hopkins University in Computer Science. She started her career as a software engineer and web programmer at the National Security Agency, IBM, and Indian Health Services. Her passion and drive led her to create her own consulting agency, Tinhorn Consulting. In 2010, she was able to see her business grow within her target audience-tribal communities. Her goal is to spread the word for Native Americans and strengthen the movement in tribal communities through cultural strategic planning, web design, training, and storytelling.

April's firm gains most of their recognition from the positive representation they carry and uphold towards American Indians and Native-owned businesses. The TinHorn firm accomplishes this goal by empowering business clients and offering a wide variety of individual trainings and team building workshops. April's values and positive energy also resonates with her 9 year old daughter. She highlights the importance of how people need good mentors in their lives to drive their dreams.

Throughout her session, PRSSA members were able to ask a lot of questions regarding her nationality and how that paid a crucial part in her future accomplishments. Some of those question & answer responses are included below:

Q: “What is the best language to use when it comes to Native American culture?”

A: When in doubt ask! Her mom prefers Indian but April would find that offensive. Overall, she prefers native, but there are many different terms like Native, Indigenous and Indian- so it is important to ask.

Q: “What is a good way for people to educate themselves about modern Native American life and culture?”

A: TV is a good modern way to learn - example: the tv show Reservation dogs. It is important to question the sources from where you get your information.

Q: "How do you infuse your culture into your career?"

A: My culture is all over, it is involved in her logo, Native Americans are storytellers and she uses that in her job and career since storytelling is a part of her job as well. It is in the values and actions of her team, who a majority are Native American. It is also the strong ideals behind the fact that TinHorn is an all woman/Native American owned company.

Q: "Have you faced any barriers entering the communications field?"

A: She said the barrier is that she wasn’t formally trained. When she started out, she was so young that she had a lot to learn. Obstacles in her company included, the idea that people like to put people in boxes. April made sure that her company raises questions being a fusion alongside tech. There isn’t necessarily a box to put her company in. In the long run, when she embraced what made her different, her company prospered and that’s what she thinks made her company last with longevity.

Q: "Have you seen any changes in diversity in your career as a whole and what would you like to see changed?"

A: She says, people of color are now being invited to the table and there is more empowerment and ownership when it comes to creating POC spaces.

Overall, it was a privilege having April TinHorn come and speak to Temple PRSSA chapter. Not only did she brighten the room with her amazing spirit, but she gave valuable insight into her past and how her Native American heritage led her to where she is today. April is a perfect example of how mixing passion and culture within your PR Career can develop into something amazing.

This blog post was written by Lillian Sclafani, Digital Publications Editor

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