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Giving back to her community

Veronica Hix works for the Cherokee Nation because it gives her a chance to give back to her community and people.

Hix is the entrepreneur development manager at the Small Business Assistance Center. She joined Commerce Group SBAC in December 2008. She was named one of the winners of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s 40 Under 40 awards.

Hix, 35, was born and raised in Tahlequah, Okla. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who was relocated to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears.

She attended Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla., where she received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She is currently working on her master’s degree in humanities online.

“Education has always been very important to me. I enjoy learning and felt that a degree would help me excel in life.”

Hix chose to get a degree in liberal arts because it provided her with knowledge in communication, English and the arts.

Growing up, her biggest role models were her grandparents. She said they have had the biggest impact on her life. Her grandmother taught her how to be a strong, independent and ambitious woman, and instilled in her an appreciation of her Cherokee heritage.

“She is a full-blood and taught me that while I am blonde and green-eyed, Cherokee traditions and culture and history are just as much a part of me as they are her. We laugh now, because as a child she would take me to powwows in full regalia and I never noticed that I looked any different than the more identifiable Cherokee dancers. I was just proud to be there.”

Her grandfather taught her to love and guided her in becoming what she is today. Her grandfather taught her about family and the importance a family plays in the people we become.

“My family is very supportive. In good times, in bad times, and when I have made mistakes, they have always stood by me.”

Hix’s father, David Manus is a retired construction worker and her mother, Angela Manus works in the health field. She is a manager for an agency that represents and serves people with development disabilities. Her parents live in Braggs, Okla. She has one brother, Jeff, and one sister, Jennifer.

As the entrepreneur development manager, Hix advocates for certified Indian-owned businesses, works with existing companies, and assists start-up businesses with the planning process. She also helps businesses with financing through loan funds.

“We partner with other agencies, universities and technology centers to create the best possible scenario to ensure the success of Indian-owned businesses by conducting workshops in marketing, bookkeeping, operations, etc.”

Her latest project is working with area schools on Entrepreneurship Day being hosted by SBAC in November. The event is set up like a science fair, except the students create and present business plans. The idea is to generate an entrepreneurial spirit among youth, Hix said.

SBAC is also hosting a Certified Indian-Owned Business Fair at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa. Hix said this is a networking opportunity for vendors, and was established to promote Native to Native business. SBAC also invited large businesses with minority procurement departments to provide vendors with outlets to grow their businesses.

“I chose to work for the SBAC because I think it is important to build the economy of our nation and to provide opportunity to our people and communities,” Hix said.

Hix has two children, Chase, who is 18 and a senior in high school, and, Braley, 2. Her husband, Bradley, works for the Cherokee Nation in the Community Services Division in the Office of Environmental Health.

Hix is good at managing her time between work and her children. She said she is fortunate because family is important to her tribe and her employer; if her children are sick or if they have activities she needs to be involved in her boss is understanding.

“I’m high energy and ambitious, so I can honestly say that I give 100 percent to both jobs.”

She enjoys spending time with her children and friends, loves going to the zoo, traveling and taking her daughter to compete in pageants. Braley is the reigning Baby Miss Oklahoma in one of the pageant circuits until the end of October when a new queen will be crowned.

“Time is precious and we need to create as many memories as we can while we have a chance.”