2022 Speakers

Shawna Becenti

Mrs. Shawna Allison Becenti is of the Red Running into Water Clan and born for the Salt Clan. Her maternal grandfather is the Coyote Pass Clan and paternal grandfather is the Hairy Ones Clan. She was raised in Farmington, New Mexico, but has family ties to Tohatchi, New Mexico, Crownpoint, New Mexico, Ganado, Arizona, and Parker, Arizona.

As the first alumna to head Navajo Preparatory School, Mrs. Becenti carries the vision and legacy of Navajo Preparatory School with a strong commitment to innovation. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History from the University of New Mexico and a Master of School Administration from New Mexico State University. 

Mrs. Becenti has over 20 years of experience in education. Prior to accepting the role of head of school at Navajo Prep, Mrs. Becenti spent eight years as a teacher, dean of students, and athletic director at Navajo Prep; seven years as the principal of Kirtland Central High School, and three years as the assistant principal and athletic director. Under her leadership, Kirtland Central High School was named a Bronze Medal School in the US News Best High Schools ranking.

Mrs. Becenti has extensive experience in New Mexico school turnaround initiatives as she completed the Principals Pursuing Excellence Cohort 4 program with the Priority Schools Bureau. Since her participation, NM PED has asked Mrs. Becenti to serve as a mentor to principals in New Mexico through the Principals Pursuing Excellence, RISE, and LEAD programs.

Mrs. Becenti is committed to serving the local community and increasing educational opportunities for students of Navajo Preparatory School and the Navajo Nation. She is an example of the Navajo Prep’s motto: Leaders Now and Into the Future, “Yideesk33g00 Naat’1anii.”

Shawna Becenti, women's summit presenter
Darrah Blackwater
Darrah Blackwater

Darrah Blackwater is from Farmington, NM and is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where she earned her law degree studying Indigenous law and telecommunications law. In July of 2020 she hiked the 486-mile Colorado Trail to raise awareness about the digital divide in Indigenous communities. In April 2022, Darrah accepted a position with the Inspector General of the Department of Interior, the ethics watchdogs of the agency. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, tennis, and printmaking. 

Mayor Nate Duckett

Mayor Nate Duckett moved to Farmington, New Mexico from Denver with his family when he was 15-years-old and has called Farmington his home ever since. He’s a graduate of Farmington High School and the University of New Mexico. Mayor Duckett began his professional career in corporate management, eventually transitioning to the insurance industry.

But public service is his true passion, so in 2014, he entered local politics when he successfully ran for Farmington City Council. In 2018, he was elected mayor. 

A bold leader and visionary, Mayor Duckett has worked tirelessly to shift Farmington’s economy from being dependent on one industry to being diversified. As a dedicated community ambassador, he uses his platform to amplify the rebranding of Farmington as the place where outdoor lovers and active families thrive.

Under Mayor Duckett’s leadership, the City of Farmington has expanded its outdoor recreation offerings, created an economic development department, remodeled the historic downtown arts and cultural district, partnered in initiatives to attract retirees and location-neutral workers, and worked to support the community’s long-standing and newly developing energy industries.

When he’s not out advocating for his community or volunteering his time, Mayor Duckett enjoys exploring the Four Corners with his wife and two children. 

Mayor Nate Duckett
Heather Holmes

Heather is a Morgan Stanley financial advisor and the resident branch manager for the Farmington, NM office. Heather began her career in the financial industry in 2014 as a financial advisor.

Heather grew up in Farmington NM, graduating from Farmington High School in 1998. She was an NCAA College softball pitcher for Syracuse University, where she earned her degree in 2002. She then went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Denver in 2003. After her time pitching for Syracuse, she was asked to join the Great Britain International Women’s Softball team, which provided her an opportunity for international travel. She was able to visit many countries and meet an array of people during her time with the team. 

Although Heather left the area in 1998 to pursue higher education and explore other cities, she and her husband Matt returned to Farmington in 2010. They now have two children who participate with local schools, sports, and activities. Heather and Matt are residents of the Foothills area and look forward to being involved in the community and plan to take advantage of all of the amazing things it has to offer.

Rebecca Kristene is the owner and founder of the Rebecca Kristene Agency. She helps health and wellness brands build relationships, increase sales, and save time using expert copywriting and content marketing. 

 

She was a military wife for 15 years and has two kids who she has homeschooled for over 10 years. In 2019, her husband announced he was leaving them, and she found herself with no way to provide for her family. Not only did she struggle financially but the emotional weight of what had happened to her and her kids became almost too heavy to carry.

 

Instead of losing herself, it was time for her to reinvent herself. She enrolled in classes to learn copywriting, worked side jobs to make ends meet, and continued to homeschool until she opened her business. Within three months, the Rebecca Kristene Agency became wildly successful and she now has the balance in her life that she’s always desired.

 

She’s crazy passionate about living a natural, healthy, and unfiltered life. She enjoys backpacking the Appalachian Trail, paddleboarding, and organic gardening. 

Rebecca Kristene
Nevaeh Luttrell
Nevaeh Luttrell

Nevaeh Luttrell is 16 years old and a junior in high school. She’s been homeschooled for 10 years and has traveled the world with her family. She grew up a military kid experiencing different cultures and making new friends every 1-2 years. 

 

She’s the daughter of Rebecca Luttrell and has endured a lot in her personal life over the past four years. She has not only overcome those obstacles but found her passion for writing in the midst of the turmoil. Now she works under her mother as the junior copywriter at the Rebecca Kristene Agency. 

 

When she saw the strength it took for her mother to build her own business, she became intrigued by the idea of entrepreneurship. Now she has the dream of owning her own business one day instead of following the path that society tells her she must follow (such as college, loans, etc.). 

 

In her free time, she enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on, creative writing, backpacking the Appalachian Trail with her family, playing the ukulele, pushing around a bunch of boys in soccer, and snuggling with her bunny. 

Gaining over 20 years of corporate management and communications experience, in 2017, Carey Rose left the box and created her New Mexico-based business, RoseBrand Consultation Services. She partners with content creators, non-profits, small businesses, independent brand owners, and entrepreneurs who often feel that brand marketing, training, and analytical support are not feasible in their budgets.

 

In 2021, keynote speaking, team leadership, and communication seminars became a focused form of work through RoseBrand Consultation Services. Carey Rose blends her insights, experience, and human theory "The Practical Enlightenment" across industries and formats. Ideal for those seeking a new evolution of inspiration based on authentic and actionable methods to achieve evolution in personal and systemic capacities.  

 

In 2022 she created and launched the Albuquerque Film and Media Incubator to support micro-productions and provide local, independent content creators with space, information, access, and community. 

Carey Rose O'Connell
Dr. Sugar Singleton

In addition to being a loving mother, a practicing medical doctor, and a successful businesswoman, Dr. Sugar is a best-selling author, international speaker, and cellular memory expert who is a powerful advocate and resource for women and their well-being.

 

In order to help women release unproductive cellular memories that are blocking them from achieving true fulfillment, experiencing thriving self-esteem, and creating a flow of prosperity, Dr. Sugar has conducted regular cellular release experiences. She brings women together from all over the world and helps them gain clarity about the causes of their subconscious blocks to prosperity and fulfillment in both their professional and personal lives. But she doesn’t just help them discover their blocks—she helps women release those blocks by giving them tools that will give them permanent transformation on a deep cellular level

 

Dr. Sugar graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 2003 and completed her residency in 2006, specializing in family medicine. After completing her residency, Dr. Sugar chose a career at a high-volume urgent care center in her hometown in rural New Mexico. She served as the medical director for San Juan Health Partners Family Medicine for six years. She volunteered on a medical team in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria. Kenya also holds a special place in her heart, having been there many times serving on medical missions.

 

Dr. Sugar is a lifetime member of the prestigious medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha; She served as chief resident at UNM Hospital; she is board certified in family medicine and has served as vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, NM.

 

What’s unique about Dr. Sugar is that she has a love for true healing as opposed to only following traditional medical practices that just treat disease and its symptoms. Following her heart, she has dedicated her life to being a healer. Dr. Sugar and her family live in the Land of Enchantment. They enjoy skiing, scuba diving, traveling, and drag racing.

Tonya Stinson

Tonya Stinson is the executive director of the Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau.  She began working for the FCVB in 2000 as the marketing manager, becoming the director in 2012.  Since becoming director, Tonya and her team have successfully led the effort to brand Farmington community-wide, creating a bold, strong and unified message.  As a result, the FCVB commissioned a feasibility study and gap analysis on the outdoor recreation industry for the Farmington area and launched the Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative (ORII) until the City of Farmington took it on as a formal initiative.  

 

Tourism has become a prominent driver in diversifying the Farmington economy, and the FCVB’s advertising campaigns have won numerous statewide advertising awards, including Best of Show for the website, FarmingtonNM.org. Through the efforts of the Farmington brand, the FCVB also created Jolt Your Journey Action Teams that have met almost monthly since 2015 and have the following committees:  Stay Farmington, Play Farmington, Live Farmington, and Work Farmington.  These committees work on initiatives that help Farmington deliver on its brand promise.

 

Tonya has served on a variety of local and statewide boards and councils over the years such as Salmon Ruins, the NM Tourism Department’s Regional Marketing Board and the NM Hospitality Association’s Board of Directors, serving as chair in 2016.  She is also the Farmington/San Juan County endorsed liaison to the NM Film Office and served on the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries, appointed by Governor Susana Martinez.

 

Tonya is a graduate of Aztec High School, Brigham Young University, and Leadership San Juan.  She is passionate about helping grow the local economy through tourism and creating enthusiastic ambassadors for her community.  

Tonya Stinson
Shellie Whitfiled
Shellie Whitfield

Shellie Whitfield is an artist and executive director of the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce.  She has over two decades of experience in marketing, organizational management, and art education. Having built her career in large-practice management and art education across the country, she has been engaged in training and development, multi-level marketing, event coordinating, business networking, and elevating communities through the arts. With a heart for non-profit work, Whitfield believes building selfless relationships is the key to creating a prosperous community.  

Since relocating to Alabama from Colorado, Whitfield has implemented an elementary art education program in the Elmore County School District serving over 1,400 students and opened the award-winning Big Fish Art Studio in historic downtown Wetumpka.  Since taking over the once stagnant chamber, her “help me-help you” approach has turned the floundering organization into a positive force in the community’s revitalization.  Most recently, Whitfield was afforded the opportunity to work with RTR Media for the production of HGTV’s Home Town Takeover.  She enjoys public speaking and helping other communities in their revitalization efforts. 

Whitfield is an active member of both Main Street Wetumpka and The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery. She serves as a member of the Downtown Redevelopment Board, as well as the Elmore County Economic Development Board.  Her hobbies include artistic expression, gourmet cooking, travel, and mentoring families through adoption. Whitfield is proud to call Wetumpka, Alabama her home and is beyond passionate about her community. She and her children reside in the landmark “Big Fish House” in downtown Wetumpka that was the set for Tim Burton’s movie “Big Fish” and was recently shown on HGTV.