Chrystel Cornelius is the CEO of Oweesta Corporation. As the only national Native CDFI intermediary, Oweesta’s mission is to provide opportunities for Native people to develop assets and create wealth by assisting in the establishment of strong, permanent institutions and programs, contributing to economic independence and strengthening sovereignty for all Native communities. Oweesta provides Native CDFIs with debt capital investments, technical assistance, and training to deliver financial and wealth building education programs to Tribal members across the United States.
Chrystel has worked with Native communities for most of her professional career, with than 23 years of experience working in the Native economic development field. She is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians located in North Dakota. As a former tribal planner for seven years of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, she has extensive experience in tribal and rural economic development activities.
Chrystel was also the founding Executive Director of the Turtle Mountain CDFI, located in Belcourt, North Dakota. Incorporated in 2006, the organization provides an array of business development services to promote lending and technical assistance efforts to enhance entrepreneurial opportunities and individual asset attainment for its tribal membership.
Chrystel is also a board member of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and holds the position of Treasurer for the Red Feather Development Group.
Chrystel attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.