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Home Staff and Faculty Resource Scholars Michele Lansdowne, PhD, Economic Development
Michele Lansdowne, PhD, Economic Development
Michele Lansdowne, PhD
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Dr. Michele Lansdowne received her BA in English from Lewis and Clark College, an MA in German Literature from the University of Washington and a Masters in Business Administration from Western Washington University. Her Ph.D. is from the Union Institute and University in Liberal Arts, with emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Community Economic Development. She taught business courses and directed Tribal Business Information Centers at tribal colleges for twenty-nine years. From 1988 to 1994, she headed the business department at Northwest Indian College and developed the first Tribal Business Assistance Center. From 1994 to 2007, she headed the Business Development Department at Salish Kootenai College, creating the Tribal Business Information Center that became a model for seventeen other TBIC’s on reservations. Over 1,000 tribal entrepreneurs have accessed services from the SKC TBIC. Michele developed and expanded the business program at SKC into a fully accredited Bachelor’s program in Entrepreneurship. In 1999, Michele received the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” Northwest region and then the national award in the category of “Supporter.” In 2000, Michele authored the American Indian Entrepreneurs: Flathead Reservation Case Studies curriculum and video series aimed at Tribal College business education, which has been adopted by most tribal colleges and several universities with Native American students. She was the advisor for the Salish Kootenai College American Indian Business Leaders, an organization of tribal business students who were national award winners for thirteen years. Dr. Lansdowne is now semi-retired and acts as a business and community economic development consultant.



2004        PhD, Liberal Arts: Entrepreneurship and  Economic Development, Union Institute, Cincinnati, OH

1988        Masters in Business Administration, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

1975-77    Graduate course work in English and Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

1973-74     Masters in German Literature, English Minor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

1971-72     Foreign Studies, Universitat Tubingen, West Germany

1969-72     Bachelor of Arts in English and German, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR


2007-Present    Semi-retired Consultant, Resource Scholar for Intercultural Open University Foundation

1994-2007    Head of Business Dept., Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT
Created BA degree in Entrepreneurship. Established Tribal Business Assistance Center, with 850 clients in six years. Taught Business Administration courses in marketing, economics, management and entrepreneurship. Served as supervisor for Northwest Area Foundation Horizons project to reduce poverty in communities.  Served as Coordinator for Ford Rural Community College Initiative for Montana and managed $1,000,000 grant. Helped develop Montana Tribal Business Information Network.  Acted as coordinator for Ford Leadership Initiative for 30 tribal colleges and organized conferences for five years.  Helped plan Intertribal Discussion Group for Ford Regional Strategic Initiative for Montana.  Director and author for Native American Entrepreneurship Curriculum project serving 20 tribal colleges.  Developed revolving loan fund project for tribal entrepreneurs. Named SBA Minority Business Advocate of the year for Montana.  Received National Center Youth Entrepreneurship national award.  Received national award for Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the category of Supporter of Entrepreneurship. Helped establish $2 million endowment for Business Dept. through Johnson Foundation. Managed grants for the Business Dept. over twelve years.

1990-94        Assistant Professor of Business and Director, Business Assistance Center, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA 
Obtained annual funding through Lummi Nation for Center development and staffing, expanding client capacity 300%.  Developed networks with   local bankers, S.B.A. and B.I.A. Designed Business Plan and Marketing Plan software specific to Native American financing. Processed $1.4 million in loans.

Built business materials, software and book library. Established laison with three Washington and five Oregon tribes to provide business assistance and college credit through Northwest Indian College.  Developed ATA degree programs in: Hospitality Management, Entrepreneurship, Tribal Administration.

Taught Marketing, Finance, Management, Small Business Management, Introduction to Business, Business Law, Business Communications, Economics, Human Resource Management, Introduction to Computers, Spreadsheet  and Individual Business Consultation.  Developed workshops: "Supervision in a Tribal Setting," "Starting a Business," "Money Management"

1989-92    Adjunct Faculty: Marketing, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 

1992        Consultant to Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, MT. Helped community establish Business Assistance Center through coordination with local bank.

1992        Consultant to Whatcom County Council, Bellingham, WA. Reviewed plans for organizational restructuring.

1990         Associate Dean, Northwest Indian College,  and Principal, Lummi Middle College High School, Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA

1990         Secured $300,000 grant for Adolescent Health Center.

1989         Coordinator, Indian Management Association, Northwest Chapter. Helped develop $200,000 grant to promote Youth Entrepreneurship.

1988-89      Assistant Professor of Business and Computer Science and Director of the Business Center, Lummi Community College, Bellingham, WA
Taught Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management, Personal Finance, Introduction to Business, Accounting III, Lotus, Symphony, WordPerfect, RBase for Dos, Business Consultation.

1988           Partner, Business Strategies Consulting Firm, Bellingham, WA
Developed business plans and marketing plans for small business clients. Analyzed bookkeeping systems, did pro forma analysis and restructured production according to batch process.

1988           Partner, Marketplace Imports, Bellingham, WA

1986-88       Business Research Consultant, Small Business Development Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.
Worked with small business owners to obtain SBA and bank financing.  Set up business plans.  Analyzed financial statements and created pro forma income statements.  Did marketing research through surveys, literature searches, data analysis, and client interviews.  Designed and implemented marketing plans.  Selected and installed computer accounting systems.  Did multi-product production analysis on database.  Presented management training workshops.

1986-88         Treasurer and Vice President of Allied Arts, Whatcom Co.
Established bookkeeping and budget systems.  Chaired Art In Business Committee and coordinated Downtown Art Show involving 20 businesses.  Analyzed organizational structure.  Researched corporate art patronage and local corporate grant requirements.

1983-88         Administrator, Health Choice Chiropractic, Bellingham.
Managed payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable computer systems.  Designed and monitored front office systems and procedures.  Managed staff.  Developed and implemented marketing and promotion plans.  Designed and coordinated advertising and publications using Desktop Publishing.  Helped establish and track short and long range goals using statistical analysis and econometric forecasting.

1980-82         English Teacher; Asst.  Speech Coach; Asst.  Drama Coach, North Scott High School, Eldridge, IA
Coordinated district-wide writing symposium.  Coached speech student who took first in state.  Directed four plays.  Taught basic and advanced writing, literature and media courses.

1980         Premis Advertising Executive, Northwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Davenport, IA.
Attended Northwestern Bell sales training course.  Rated in top five percent of sales people in Iowa. 

1979         Coordinator, Mississippi Valley Blood Center, Davenport, IA
Recruited and organized blood drives in churches, schools and businesses.  Directed educational program and presented at schools.

1977         Visiting Instructor, Colegio Americano, Guatemala City, Guatemala.


English and German Teacher; Dept.  Chairperson, Roosevelt Jr. High School, Eugene, OR
Increased enrollment in German program 150%.  Designed 32 new writing and literature courses.  Restructured writing curriculum and testing procedures for all grades.  Led district foreign language curriculum development. Writing across the curriculum program exists still in 2007, created in 1974.


Hindle, Lansdowne (2005) “Brave Spirits on New Paths: Toward a Globally Relevant Paradigm of Indigenous Entrepreneurship Research,” Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Lansdowne (2004) American Indian Entrepreneurship: A Complex Web Unpublished dissertation.

Lansdowne (1999) American Indian Entrepreneurs: Flathead Reservation Case Studies, SKC Press.

1994        Coordinator for American Tribal College Business Impact Conference.

1993        "Supervision in a Tribal Setting," Lummi Casino;  "Starting a Business," "Understanding Financial Statements," South Puget Intertribal Planning; "Money Management," Tulalip Tribe.

1992        Lansdowne (1992) "Tribal Entrepreneurs With the Strength of the Tribe Behind Them," Tribal College Journal, Fall Issue.

1991        "Business Assistance in Tribal Colleges," Presentation at National Conference for Tribal Enterprise, Seattle, WA.

1990        "Local Banker Networking," Workshop, Bellingham, WA.

1989        "Personal Financial Planning," Workshop, Bellingham, WA.

1988        "Marketing Plan Template for Small Business," Publication for Small Business Development Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.

1988        "Leadership Skills," Workshop for Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Bellingham, WA.

1976        "Student-Operated Publishing Companies :Part of the English Curriculum," Presentation for Annual Conference for Oregon Teachers of English, Eugene, OR.


2002        Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year: National Judge
2001        Edwin M. and Gloria W. Appel Prize: Price Babson College Fellows Program
1998        Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: National Award, Supporter Category
1998        Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Pacific Northwest, Supporter Category
1996        SBA  Minority Business Advocate of the year for Montana
1995        National Center Youth Entrepreneurship national award: Educator Award


Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA:
Dr. T.J. Olney, Marketing Professor
Dr. David Fewings, Finance Professor
Dr. Dennis Murphy, Dean of College of Business

Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA:
Dr. Robert Lorence, President, retired

Lummi Nation, Bellingham, WA:
Henry Cagey, Tribal Chairman

Seattle University, Seattle, WA:
Dr. Bert Scott, Accounting Professor
Dr. Larry Lookabill, Accounting Professor

Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT:
Dr. Joseph McDonald, President

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Fred Matt, former Tribal Chairman
Bill Swaney, colleague
Larry Gauthier, entrepreneur

Doctoral Committee
Dr. Stephen Cornell, Udall Center, University of Arizona, Harvard Indian Study
Dr. Patricia Greene, Dean, Babson College

Babson College
Dr. Jeffrey Timmons
Dr. William Bygrave
Dr. Andrew Zacharakis
Dr. Steven Spinelli

Kauffman Foundation
Judith Cone
Ray Smylor

Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Foundation
Ted Johnson
Malcolm McCloud

Northwest Area Foundation
Jean Burkhardt