Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

July 29, 2010

Casey Lozar leads into the modern worlds

By Lailani Upham

Casey Lozar, director of corporate and tribal development for the American Indian College Fund, was selected for one of twelve 2010 American Express N Gen Fellows to work with other selected leaders on a nine-month project. The project is an effort to advance their leadership skills and engage emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders on sector-wide issues. (courtesy photo)
Casey Lozar, director of corporate and tribal development for the American Indian College Fund, was selected for one of twelve 2010 American Express N Gen Fellows to work with other selected leaders on a nine-month project. The project is an effort to advance their leadership skills and engage emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders on sector-wide issues. (courtesy photo)

DENVER — Casey Lozar is one of the twelve Independent Sector’s 2010 American Express NGen Fellows selected this year.

Independent Sector selects non-profit leaders under the age of 40 who are moving and impacting leaders for a nine-month project to help change communities through networking organizations together across the U.S.

Lozar is the director of corporate and tribal development for the American Indian College Fund. He was born and raised on the Flathead Reservation and graduated from Polson High School in 1999. He received a U.S. History bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth University and a master’s in education from Harvard University,

The American Indian College Fund provides approximately 6,000 scholarships for American Indian students. Lozar leads a six-person team raising funding for the scholarships from corporate sponsors. This past year Lozar’s team raised $3 million of the $11 million total for the organization.

The NGen program is designed for accomplished leaders to collaborate and interact with other leaders. The selected fellows are leaders who already have made significant impacts in addressing critical societal needs.

The selected leaders will be teamed with established mentors over a nine-month course. The aim is to build young professionals who will shape the future of the nonprofit community across the U.S.

Lozar says staying connected with family as much as possible and bouncing ideas off with his siblings helps keep him growing professionally. Lozar is the middle child of five. His parents are Steve and Keryl Lozar of Polson.

One of his goals for the project is to add a native voice and perspective. Lozar feels the native angle is often ignored in the national conversations and hopes to bring tribal needs and ideas to the forefront.

This Independent Sectors program’s annual conference in August in Washington D.C. will introduce the leaders to in-person and online activities that will help hone fellows’ leadership skills, strengthen their professional networks, and check out their fellow cohort’s accomplishments on a national level.

According to the program, developing the next generation of nonprofit leaders is critical to the ability of charities and foundations to improve lives around the world.

“I know that I am representing my family, my organization and CSKT in everything that I do and I take this responsibility seriously. I try to lead in a way that will make them proud and my ancestors proud,” Lozar said regarding his selection for the project. Lozar said his leadership is guided by the tenets of respect, humor, pride, responsibility and reasoning. Humor is key with Lozar, “I try to lead with laughter. Having a sense of humor is critical for gaining respect and leveling the playing field.”

Lozar’s dad, Steve, always taught him to strive to maintain balance something he uses to anchor his roles as an education advocate, supervisor, colleague, son, brother and husband, he said. Structuring balance in life is a consientious effort of every day life according to Lozar. Family, social and staying healthy are three areas he says he tries to focus on a daily basis. “I try to maintain physical fitness to be at the top of my game.”

“Our elders have incredible amounts of knowledge that they have acquired over the years and that has been passed down for hundreds of years. I try to learn from the elders and those with rich experiences so that I do not have to reinvent the wheel, says Lozar.

Lozar’s experience in Native American education carries a variety of capacities: from schoolteacher and coach to tribal culture camp leader and fundraiser. He currently directs a team that develops partnerships with tribal governments and Fortune 500 corporations. He recently graduated from the Leadership Entrepreneur Apprentice Development fellowship program for American Indian non-profit leaders.

The saying in Indian country that you have to live in two worlds is not true with Lozar. He says the world is too complex and too connected to live in only two worlds. “Indian leaders have to live in many worlds; have to acknowledge many perspectives; have to respect different types of people; and most importantly they have to learn how to navigate these worlds in a good way.”

Lozar has had many positives influences in his life, but the guys that he says impacted him the most are three Indian men: Joe McDonald, former Salish Kootenai College President; grandfather and former CSKT tribal judge, Bud Lozar and current boss and American Indian College Fund President Rick Williams.

He hopes that the next generation of CSKT leaders are multi-faceted, have a good sense of humor and are well-traveled.

Being a young national leader coming from the rez, Lozar encourages young people to be eager to continue to make positive experiences on the reservation and off, so that when their community needs them they will be prepared.

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