As a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Stephanie is committed to working with and for Native populations to help create positive and long-term, sustainable change using the community wealth-building framework. Prior to her role as consultant, she had the opportunity to live and work on her mother’s homelands, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. Here, she broadened their Social Enterprise Program through program development, project management, creation of feasibility studies and business plans, research and development, and evaluation of the overall program.
Stephanie is married to Trace Gutierrez and lives on a small farm in New Haven, Missouri. She feels blessed to have three children, two step-children and one grandson. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Lindenwood University. In 2014, she returned to school as a Buder Scholar, completing a Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She concentrated her studies on American Indian/Alaska Native communities, with an emphasis on community development, social entrepreneurship, and program development. Prior to her role as a graduate student, she spent 25 years in positions of executive level management, grants management and student support.
Over the past 25 years, Kristen built her profession with a commitment to social inclusion, community health, and empowering people so they might realize their full potential. She has served in a variety of non-profit organizational roles, including middle and executive management positions. In graduate school, Kristen had the honor of being an Associate with the Buder Center for American Indian Studies. In this role, she provided administrative support for center programming and research activities, alongside mentoring support for American Indian graduate students. During her time as a University Professor, Kristen was engaged in research, teaching, and community engagement that focused on program and policy interventions in three key areas: asset-based community development, culturally relevant capacity building, and participatory research and development strategies that promote community wealth building. Over the years, she has worked with numerous American Indian and Native Alaskan tribes across the United States, as well as within remote villages in Madagascar. Kristen has transitioned out of her academic career in order to concentrate her efforts on working directly with Indigenous and rural communities.
Kristen is married to Jason Wagner and lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Now that she has nurtured her three children into adulthood, she not only enjoys spending time with them, but also dedicates time to fostering animals to prepare them for their forever homes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Dakota (1997); a Master of Social Work (2005) and a PhD in Social Work (2011) from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.