Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Employees’ value to tribe is immeasurable

From the Desk of Chief Gregory E. Pyle

December 2011

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has grown to approximately 210,000 members and 7,000 employees. Every time I think of this, I am thankful for the great group of people who comprise the workforce of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The individual strengths and talents of these caring individuals are one of the main reasons the tribe has developed into such a respected entity in southeastern Oklahoma, the country and the world.

One example of the exceptional type of people we have working for us was Brenda Hampton, executive director of the Choctaw Nation Membership Department. Brenda passed away on Nov. 30. I was the assistant chief when Brenda began working for the tribe over 26 years ago and I feel the loss not only as a colleague but also as a friend. She devoted many long hours to people who needed assistance with obtaining their CDIB and membership cards and was often the last person to leave the office to go home. She exemplified the spirit of the Choctaw – strong, compassionate and dedicated. The staff of the membership department has shown true leadership by its continued dedication to providing quality service to tribal members, a reflection of Brenda’s compelling example.

I have visited many different types of businesses – small and large, tribal, government agencies and corporations – and I am proud to say the employees of the Choctaw Nation stand out from the crowd. The common thread I see among them all is servant leadership. We receive hundreds of phone calls and visitors to our offices and businesses daily. It is important to me to know that each person on staff has the best interests of the tribal member or customer at heart. The value of having such employees is immeasurable.

We honor our employees with tokens of appreciation upon their 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-plus-year anniversaries with the tribe. This year we have five employees who will receive awards for 30 years of service – Shelia Kirven, Cora Rockwood, Randel Bohanon, Fred Logan Jr. and Joe Williams. It is not unusual to have several people in the 15- to 25-year range and literally hundreds in the 5- to 10-year range. Thank you all for the wonderful job you do.

The positive attitudes that I see put forth result in a job done well and creates an environment of good will for all concerned. There is a desire to learn more, cooperate and provide the best possible experience for everyone involved.

The desire to grow in knowledge and skill has led to a new initiative through the Choctaw Nation Training Department to develop a series of leadership trainings, beginning in January. A freshman level is being offered to associates who wish to grow their careers to a higher degree. The training will escalate to a sophomore and junior training and on to a master level. The master or senior level will first be offered to executive directors.

The goal is for the curriculum to be accredited through Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The final and exciting piece of this is an established training called Choctaw U! The investment in our associates is an investment in the Choctaw Nation.