Industry Professional and Board Member
Phefelia Nez is the former First Lady of the Navajo Nation and was raised on Hopi Partition Land in Big Mountain, Arizona. She was raised in a traditional Navajo hogan without modern amenities and grew up spending time outdoors tending to livestock and her garden. Phefelia spent two summers at Southern Utah University and has been in love with southern Utah since. Phefelia and her husband, former Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, reside in Flagstaff, Arizona with their two sons, Christopher and Alexander.
Phefelia earned her undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice, a Master of Public Administration, and an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Northern Arizona University. She has over 15 years of experience serving on various boards, task forces, and commissions. In addition to her education and volunteerism, she is a member of Arizona State University's Lodestar Center's Nonprofit Executive Leadership Academy Class V.
In her former role as First Lady, she focused on education (early childhood development, K-12, post-secondary, cooperative extension education, adult basic education), outdoor recreation, nonprofits, volunteerism, philanthropy, faith-based initiatives, financial literacy, animal welfare, and the retention of the Navajo language and culture. The First Lady's platform focused on restoring and strengthening homes and their families.
Currently, Phefelia works with her husband at Nez Consulting, LLC. Her husband is currently running for congressional office (AZ CD2 – US House of Representatives).