My day job is being the Chief Financial Officer at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison. I supervise all the departments at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison that have to do with finance: the bank—which we call the “cage”—the soft count, finance, purchasing and revenue audit.
The Ho-Chunk Nation does not have a tax base, but the government has to provide services to her people, including elder care, children and family services, access to medical care, education, housing, roads, and perhaps most important of all, cultural preservation. The Nation’s gaming sites provide the revenue to fund those services.
My job is to make sure all the internal controls and regulations are followed, and that our financial statements are accurate. I have a team of very talented accountants who do all the hard work; I’m the den mother, the coach, the recruiter, the problem solver. I always say that on my team, I’m the mechanic: I find things that don’t work correctly and fix them.
I’m good at recognizing talent and providing a place for it to grow.
My most memorable caffeine story is from a trip to Italy. I took my mom on a tour for her 75th birthday and part of it was on Anacapri, an island. There was a hike, but my mom isn’t a hiker so she stayed and enjoyed the views while I took a hike.
I was completely unprepared for that hike. I didn’t take a water bottle and I had zero idea of how mountainous it would be—I was tired. As I was walking, I went by a man who was probably in his 70s sitting outside his house. He called to me. I didn’t speak Italian; he didn’t speak English. I didn’t know what the customs were, but I walked over to him.
He said, “Café?” and I said “Yes!” I thought maybe they were selling coffee. He went into his house and made each of us a cup of espresso. Then he said “Chocolate?” and I said “Yes!” again.
He pulled a candy bar out of his pocket, unwrapped it—it was half gone—and broke off two pieces and handed me one. We sat and drank our coffee and ate our chocolate.
He said, “More better?” And I said “Yes.”
He took the cups into the house and I wondered if I should offer to pay. I had no idea! He said, “No. Muy bonito.”
It was just the coolest experience ever. He recognized that this tourist needed some help and brought me that refreshment. That really made the trip to Italy for me.
I think of that all the time, especially when I think about immigrants coming to our country.
My current caffeine of choice is black coffee.
My favorite place for caffeine is either my own kitchen, or my bestie Tuley’s house.
The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my daughter. She lives in South Dakota and the pandemic has made things very difficult. I’d love to just get up, have a cup of coffee with her and watch the grandkids.
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Peace. I’m a red state girl, living in the bluest state. I know so many loving, kind people who are deeply red, and so many loving kind people who are deeply blue. I wish we’d realize that we likely agree 98% of the time.