Archived Webcast Information

Photo of Sonya Fields

Sonya Fields

Photo of Ciara Ladroma

Ciara Ladroma

Photo of Amanda Race

Amanda Race

Photo of Jonathan Paul Katz

Jonathan Paul Katz

Tribal Self-Employment: Business Success Strategies and Resources

Presented By:
Sonya Fields, Owner of Sonya’s Bed & Breakfast

Ciara Ladroma, Senior Associate, Griffin-Hammis Associates

Amanda Race, Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator/Counselor, Tanana Chiefs Conference

Jonathan Paul Katz, CPACC, Accessibility Expert and Policy Advisor, US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
June 12, 2024

Learn about resources and discuss self-employment topics from experts and successful entrepreneurs.


Sonya Lynn Fields. I am originally from Fort Yukon, Alaska.  I currently reside 163 miles NE of the city of Fairbanks, Alaska by road or by plane. My Native Alaskan tribe is Circle Native Community. I am Athabaskan Native. My business name is Sonya’s Bed and Breakfast. I started my B&B due to no housing or lodging available to outside tourists or people who come to see the mighty Yukon River and the end of the road on the Steese Highway in interior Alaska.  I felt there was a definite need for guests and outsiders who come to see our Village of Circle. My most visited guests are in the months of July through September who are a variety of people. Some are contractors who come to work for the tribe or other affiliations here, tourists, and most of all hunters from all over the United States & beyond. I feel all are unique in their own ways, as to the diverse amount of them who come through here. I am very much enjoying my choice of a B&B.  I get to meet new people from all over and learn the different Indigenous peoples. I am most proud to be a Native Indigenous individual with a unique way of serving people as a “super host.” I reference this term used by Airbnb because guests can find and book their stays on the Airbnb platform. Out of the three meals I cook for my guests, my favorite is the fresh-picked blueberry pancakes, fried moose, & caribou for breakfast. Among others, as I don’t go by a menu and I just surprise my guests with a meal of their choice, so they do have a choice of what to eat. I was born and raised in Alaska and I believe my favorite part is having opportunity to be raised to have survival skills, as my ancestors before me. I take pride in my heritage, cultural values, and traditional ways of living in the most beautiful place. In my free time, I like to spend time with family and friends as well as visiting other parts of Alaska but of course, it’s always good to be home. 

Ciara Ladroma has served the employment and entrepreneurial industries for the last 12 years with a focus on serving people with disabilities, women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ individuals. She has supported small business owners nationwide to create, launch, and grow their businesses. Ciara began her career in Supported Employment as an Employment Specialist and has since carried these unique skills and traits to all areas of her career. Previously serving as a Career Coach at Des Moines Area Community College and as the Director of the Iowa Women’s Business Center, Ciara has found ways to elevate communities by guiding people’s success through business ownership and career navigation. As an entrepreneur herself, she is able to take her own experiences and challenges to help others navigate their entrepreneurial hurdles. Ciara provides technical assistance and trainings of best-practices regarding employment service delivery with a focus on Customized Employment and Self-Employment. 

Amanda Race has been the TVR Coordinator/Counselor for the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation program since January 2008.  She has over 30 years’ experience working with people with intellectual, mental & physical disabilities, first a residential counselor in the home, employment specialist and disability care coordinator overseeing a small business mail center and potato wrapping called Spud Buggy to preparing plans of care and overseeing Home Community Based Medicaid Waiver services.   She has lived in Fairbanks since 1986 and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Amanda has provided disability and VR services for the last 25 years at TCC, a Tribal Consortia of 37 Federally recognized Tribes in the Interior of Alaska.   She received a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Washington University in December 2007 through an RSA scholarship and has been a current Certified Rehabilitation Counselor since April 2008. 

Jonathan Paul Katz, CPACC, is an accessibility expert and policy advisor at the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. He specializes in support for small businesses and accessibility in the workplace. He previously worked for state and county government in Maryland and New York City's Department of Small Business Services, as well as a freelance accessibility consultant. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and the University of Maryland - College Park.