Chris James (Cherokee) began leading the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development in January of 2017. From 2011 to 2016, James served as associate administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he was a Senior Executive Service appointee of President Barack Obama, overseeing the Office of Field Operations, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Office of Native American Affairs. While at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009 to 2011, James acted as liaison among the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Native American tribal governments, and other federal government agencies, and he approved over $120 million in funding to deserving applicants. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., James was the associate director for the Cherokee, N.C.,-based Sequoyah Fund. He is an active member of the board of First Peoples Worldwide, University of Colorado; New Mexico Community Capital; and Federal Communications Commission Diversity in Tech Working Group of the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment. James received a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, both from the University of North Carolina System.