About the Mesa Grande BDC
The members of the Board of Directors of the Mesa Grande Business Development Corporation (BDC) are appointed by the Mesa Grande General Council, the Band's governing authority. The Board is comprised of five members, three of whom must be enrolled members of the Mesa Grande Band but may not be elected members of the Band's Tribal Council. The other two members may be Native Americans enrolled in other federally-recognized tribes, or non-Indian experts with valuable expertise in specialized fields such as federal contracting, tribal business development, business administration and financial management, organizational development, tribal law or other specialties.
Meet the BDC Board
Keely Linton, President
Keely Linton is an Íipay and Cupeno Native enrolled in the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians. Keely obtained her Bachelors in Science degree from California State University, San Marcos. She currently serves as Executive Director for the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, a not-for-profit organization devoted to reducing family violence. Her background includes 16 years building vital collaborations between law enforcement, state and regional agencies and tribal governments in the domestic violence and sexual assault field. Keely currently serves as Chairperson for the Judicial Council of the Inter-Tribal Court of Southern California. A devoted advocate for Native families, Keely also provides specialized training, including cultural competency courses, for professionals in the domestic violence field.
Don Chapman, Vice President
Don is an enrolled citizen of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. He currently serves as Senior Vice President for Cayuse Holdings, a Native company owned 100% by the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, based in Oregon, where he oversees the company's activity in the 8(a) contracting space, including all aspects of federal business development from the submission of contract proposals to the management of awarded projects. Over his extensive career, he has captured more than $900 million in federal contracts for his clients, including Native and minority-owned corporations and small businesses in the contiguous 48 states as well as Alaska. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Don as Senior Policy Advisor on Native American Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he served until 2012.
Essence Oyos, Secretary
Essence is an Iipay/Yoeme enrolled member of the Mesa Grande Band. She has more than twenty years of experience in business and service in the holistic health and wellness field. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Anthropology from CSU San Marcos; a Masters of Public Administration from National University, and an Associate of Arts degree in Kumeyaay Studies from Kumeyaay College. Essence currently represents the Mesa Grande Business Development Corporation on the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Steering Committee, a local designation of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), designed to bring together central, south and east San Diego County public and private sectors, nonprofits, and individuals in the creation of an economic road map to diversify and strengthen regional economies.
Eva Trujillo, Board Member
Eva Trujillo is a Siny ‘Iipay (northern woman) from the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians reservation. Eva’s devotion to the sustainability of Indigenous traditional knowledge, language and culture has always been a driving force. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology and a minor in Biology and Kumeyaay Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She has been employed at UCSD Medical Center for over 20 years as a Hospital Unit Coordinator. Eva is also employed at the San Diego Museum of Man as a Cultural Resources Manager, NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act), where she partners with various Kumeyaay Nation consortia and other Indigenous communities across the U.S. Eva currently sits on the Board of Trustees for Kumeyaay Community College, and the Mesa Grande Education Committee.
Dr. Kate Spilde, Board Member
Dr. Spilde is a Professor in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University (SDSU), where she serves as Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and an MBA in entrepreneurial management. She previously served as Executive Dirctor of the Center for California Native Nations at the University of California-Riverside (UCR). One of Dr. Spilde's continuing areas of focus is providing support for tribal governments in their efforts to engage in economic development and diversification as part of nation (re)building. She has presented her public policy and economic development research to industry, government and academic audiences in the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Asia, and has been asked to testify before Congress on varied issues such as tribal land claims, tribal development and federal recognition of tribal governments.