Dawson Her Many Horses

Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo

I’m using a lot of influence, building relationships, and leveraging teamwork to solve problems. That’s the big thing I took from Tuck: building relationships to achieve objectives.

Growing up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in the Great Plains of South Dakota, Dawson Her Many Horses T’10 was fortunate to be part of a Native American tribe that has held on to its ancient beliefs, traditions, and language. Dawson’s parents were the first members of their families to attend college, and they impressed upon him the need to protect, preserve and improve the lives of their fellow tribal members.

Since federally recognized tribes are independent governments with a legal status akin to state and local governments, Dawson reasoned that an effective way to advocate for Native Americans was to become a lawyer. While pursuing a degree in political science at Columbia University, with plans to attend law school, he began working for the office of the general counsel at Merrill Lynch. Around that time, in 2003, there was a boom in Native American gaming—many tribes were building casinos and hotels as vehicles for economic development. So when he graduated in 2004, Merrill Lynch offered Dawson a position as the director of Native American business development for the investment banking, wealth management, and asset management groups. In that role, he worked with tribal governments and tribally-owned enterprises (casinos and hotels) on their financing needs. He later moved into Merrill Lynch investment banking, where he was an analyst focused on the gaming industry.

It wasn’t law school, but he had stayed true to his cultural values. “I realized there was a need for people in finance who understood tribal communities and the histories and cultures of tribal nations across the U.S.,” Dawson said. “There was only one other person with my background in Native American banking, so I thought, Wow, there’s a need here. I can make a difference.”

Since 2018, Dawson has been a senior vice president and Native American business leader at Wells Fargo & Company, where he leads the bank’s services to tribes and tribally owned enterprises. 

What role do tribally-owned casinos and hotels play in the wellbeing of Native American communities?

Tribal casinos are wholly-owned by tribal governments. After paying expenses, some tribes elect to take a distribution from these businesses, which fund the operations of the government, such as health care, elder services, housing, language preservation efforts, courts, everything that a typical government needs to do.

In addition to financing these tribal enterprises, how else does Wells Fargo work with the tribes?

As a bank, we’ve worked with tribes in the lower 48 and Alaska for more than 50 years. We have over 200 relationships across 27 states, and provide our clients financing, risk management, investments, retirement, depository and traditional banking products. We also spend a lot of time focused on helping tribes manage the resources and the wealth these casinos are generating. Bringing in our wealth management people to help them come up with strategies to invest money and create portfolios that help these tribal governments in perpetuity. Our tribal clients are also interested in economic diversification, and we’re helping them think about future business opportunities. 

In your 15 years in Native American banking, have casinos made a positive economic impact on reservations?

From a macro level, yes. Native American gaming has been the biggest driver of economic development for tribes across the U.S. A lot of tribes have been able to create programming and implement services for their members who didn’t have things like health care and housing or elder care. And yet, challenges remain. Gaming markets are maturing. Some new casinos and hotels are being built, but it’s not like it was when I started working in 2004. Markets are starting to flatten. The number of tribal members continues to grow, so the demand for services continues to grow. Gaming has been great, but we’re going to need new enterprises and businesses to continue to help our community and members in the future.

Why did you choose Tuck as the business school that would make you the best possible advocate for Native American communities?

I wanted more than an education; I wanted an experience. As I was looking at my options, Tuck ended up being on the short list. It wound up being the only place I applied. And it was compelling for me because Tuck is at Dartmouth, and in the 1970s Dartmouth president John G. Kemeny recommitted Dartmouth College to recruiting and retaining Native American students. In the 40 years since, there have been more than 1,100 Native American and Alaska Native Dartmouth alumni. They are leaders in every field you can imagine, from elected tribal leadership to state and federal governments, business and art. I wanted to be a part of that broader alumni network.

How did your Tuck experience help you grow as a business leader?

I came to Tuck as an individual producer, as an analyst putting together presentations and building models. One of the things I’ve taken away from my experience at Tuck is the importance of relationships and working in teams. My role is as a Native American business leader, but I don’t just do it from a commercial banking group; I have an enterprise-wide focus. I’m using a lot of influence, building relationships, and leveraging teamwork to solve problems. That’s the big thing I took from Tuck: building relationships to achieve the objectives that you want to achieve.

Dawson Her Many Horses, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, leads Wells Fargo's services to tribes and tribally owned enterprises.

Her Many Horses began his finance career in 2002 at Merrill Lynch. In 2004, he was appointed Director of Native American Business Development for the investment banking, wealth management and asset management groups at Merrill. Her Many Horses later moved into Merrill Lynch Investment Banking, where he focused on the gaming industry. Her Many Horses has also worked in the Capital Markets Group at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ("SIFMA"), a trade association representing over 650 securities firms, banks and asset managers.

Her Many Horses serves as Chairman of the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA)'s Corporate Advisory Board. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the American Indian College Fund, where he is the Vice-Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. Her Many Horses is the founder of the Native American employee group at Bank of America.

Continue Reading

Related Stories

DOING WELL BY DOING GOOD: Meet Nespresso CFO Hilary Halper T’07

Hilary Halper T’07, CFO of Nespresso, reflects on the company’s sustainability focus and the increasingly strategic role that CFOs play in business today. 

Read More

The People-First Manager

Leading with integrity and a keen focus on the human side of banking, Interbank CEO Luis Felipe Castellanos T’98 is helping build a better future for Perú’s middle class.  

Read More

The Resilient Founder: Sarah Ketterer T’87, CEO of Causeway Capital

As Sarah Ketterer T’87, CEO of Causeway Capital Management, will attest, weathering the inevitable storms that arise in global financial markets requires ample grit, teamwork, and humility. 

Read More

A Winning Story: Meet Crunchyroll CFO Travis Page T’10

As the CFO of Crunchyroll, a specialty streaming service that boasts 120 million users, Travis Page T’10 is leveraging his varied experience in the media and entertainment space to bring the Japanese art form to a wider audience.

Read More

Closing the Financing Gap for Local Businesses: Meet Honeycomb Cofounder George Cook T’17

Honeycomb Credit works specifically with small businesses and allows consumers, nonprofits, and other organizations to loan small amounts of cash to a particular venture.

Read More

At BCG, A Small-Team Approach: Meet Cristina Henrik T’08

A conversation with Cristina Henrik T’08, managing director and partner at the Boston Consulting Group, on how private equity has evolved and what has stuck with her since her Tuck days.

Read More

Tuck Relationships Run Deep at .406 Ventures

Classmates and spouses So-June Min T’95 and Liam Donohue T’95 reflect on their winding path as co-founders of the Boston-based venture capital firm .406 Ventures.

Read More

Leading with Purpose: Bank of America CFO Alastair Borthwick T’93

Alastair Borthwick T’93, CFO at Bank of America, reflects on his Tuck experience and the people-first approach that drives his success as a financial leader.

Read More

Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors

A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.

Read More

Meet Tuck Alumnus Jose Minaya T’00, CEO of Nuveen

A commitment to building diverse, inclusive, and equitable structures across organizations is personal for Jose Minaya T’00, who was named CEO of Nuveen in 2020.  

Read More

Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett Associates

Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett Associates

Read More

Noreen Doyle

Noreen Doyle T’74, chair of the Newmont Mining Corporation, was the first woman to chair the British Banker’s Association in its 96-year history.

Read More

Tuck Alumnus Named Head of Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities

At Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities Division, Tuck Alumnus Jim Esposito orchestrates a global operation managing risk for asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, corporations, and governments.

Read More

Bringing Order to the Chaos

Solving complex problems is what's kept Diego Ferro T'93 in finance for 25 years. Here's what he's learned. 

Read More

Rick Cardenas

T’98 Rick Cardenas’ first job was bussing tables at a Red Lobster. Fast forward 30 years and he’s now CEO of Darden Restaurants which, until 2014, owned Red Lobster.

Read More

Lindsey Drake

Fun Finance: Lindsey Drake T’11 talks about her role as a senior finance manager at Amazon Books.

Read More

James “Jim” Lindstrom

Jim Lindstrom T’01 has a career of both investment and senior operational roles—a unique perspective to lead a multinational corporation in today’s dynamic environment.

Read More

Deb Kemper

As managing director of the Boston Forum of Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors funding early-stage companies led by women, Deb Kemper T'95 lives by the motto: be the change you want to see in the world.

Read More

Kathryn Baker

Kathryn Baker T'93 is a true expert on boards of directors. She has served on more than 20 of them over the last 16 years, ranging from oil and gas companies to Norway’s Central Bank to Tuck’s own European Advisory Board.

Read More

Daniel Revers

The new Revers Center for Energy, made possible by Daniel Revers T'89, expands Tuck’s energy programming in the classroom and beyond.

Read More

Jie Lian

The Chinese economy has grown tremendously since 1989, and so have the opportunities for enterprising Tuck graduates, like Jie Lian T'01.

Read More

On Networking

Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck. 

Read More

Collette Chilton

Williams College chief investment officer Collette Chilton T’86 is helping deliver big returns for the Little Ivy.

Read More

Roger McNamee

Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.

Read More

Alain Karaoglan

Alain Karaoglan T’87 never could have predicted he would one day be chief operating officer of Voya Financial, a top-tier retirement plan provider with more than $500 billion in assets under management and administration.

Read More

Debbie Atuk

Navigating the present while honoring the past is a challenge for many Native people. Debbie Atuk T’04 has found a way to do both.

Read More

Christopher Fox

After working in security sales for Goldman Sachs, Christopher Fox T'81 was drawn back to the public sector because he wanted to serve his community and for the intellectual challenge.

Read More

Vicki Craver

At Tuck, Vicki Craver T'97 discovered a latent interest in financial strategy. Now, after a successful career at Goldman Sachs and raising a family, she applies her financial accumen to vetting nonprofit projects.

Read More

Scott Frantz

Following five years in the mergers and acquisitions industry, Scott Frantz T'86 joined a few close friends in putting together a private equity and venture capital business.

Read More

Daniel Rowe

Sword, Rowe & Company CEO Daniel Rowe T’09 is blending his love of music into a successful career with the boutique merchant bank.

Read More

Francis Barel

In much of the Middle East and North Africa, cash is still king. PayPal’s Francis Barel T’05 wants to change that, and open people’s lives to the world along the way.

Read More

Blair LaCorte

One of Blair LaCorte T’90’s great skills as a leader is not only to guide a company from infancy to success, but to know when to set it—and himself—free.

Read More

Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams T'84 harnessed his architectural and business skills to grow the Williams Capital Group into one of the most successful mid-sized investment banks in the world. 

Read More