Stephanie Gutierrez

Stephanie Gutierrez

Owner & Director of Programs and Community Engagement, Hope Nation LLC, Thrive Rural

As a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Stephanie has committed her life to working with and for Native communities. Based on a colorful childhood, growing up in foster care, separated from her Lakota family, she committed herself to finding her way home, and making amends for the historical injustices her family endured for generations.  Since she was a young girl, she always believed in the power of hope.

As an adult, working across Native communities, she soon realized hope is the common denominator across all Indigenous communities. Without hope, Native people would not have endured the genocide. Hence, the creation of Hope Nation. Prior to her role as consultant, Stephanie spent 25 years in positions of executive level management, grants management and student support at a leading academic and research institution. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Lindenwood University and in 2014, she returned to school as a Buder Scholar, completing a Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She concentrated her studies on American Indian/Alaska Native communities, with an emphasis on community development, social entrepreneurship, and program development.

Following her graduation, Stephanie had the opportunity to live and work on her mother’s homeland, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. Here, she broadened their Social Enterprise Program through program development, project management, creation of feasibility studies and business plans, research and development, and evaluation of the overall program. Her work continues across the country, in the areas of community development, economic development and child welfare, and always in service to Native communities. Her primary focus is supporting Native women as the community wealth builders that they are.

Stephanie is married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Trace Gutierrez, and lives on a small hobby farm in New Haven, Missouri. Her greatest accomplishment is being the mother to three children- Ashley, Tommy, and Molly, two step-children-Kelci and DJ and two grandchildren-Leland and Josephine, named after her grandmother, Josephine Her Many Horses