Gaming Industry Friends Remember Rochanne Hackett

The gaming industry lost a longtime professional, dear friend and advocate on Dec. 17, 2014. Over her career as a senior banker, Rochanne Hackett helped provide more than $10 billion of capital for at least 30 tribal and commercial gaming companies. She began with Wells Fargo in 1994 and joined the bank’s gaming division in 1996. She worked as a senior relationship manager in that division and was responsible for developing relationships and providing innovative solutions for existing and start-up gaming operations for both Native American and commercial gaming industries across the country. Hackett appeared as a frequent speaker and panelist at many gaming conferences and events and also served as an elected NIGA Associate Member representative. An avid philanthropist, Hackett was active with the White Earth Mission Trip to Cass Lake, Minnesota as a both a volunteer and sponsor. She is survived by her husband, James, and three daughters, LaShawna, Cassandra and Chelsea. All of Indian country respected Hackett professionally, but most knew her first and foremost as a friend. It is with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our colleague.

What follows are remembrances from just some of the many in Indian country and the gaming industry who called Hackett “friend.”

“It is difficult to put in words how to describe just how incredible Rochanne conducted herself when working with Native people and particularly the respect and kindness she showed to me and the Quapaw Tribe. Rochanne was introduced to Quapaw by our dear friend and mentor G. Michael ‘Mickey’ Brown and our friendship flourished. We loved Rochanne Hackett and I was blessed by traveling to Reno to shower Rochanne and her beautiful husband, daughters and friends with prayers in our traditional way. I’m a better man because of my friendship with Rochanne and it is a terrible loss to Indian country with the passing of such a wonderful lady. I pray her family can know the great things she did for so many. Thank you Rochanne for blessing me with your kindness. Gun-ney-gay.” —John Berrey (Chairman, Quapaw BC, DDA)

“It is with heavy hearts that we hear the passing of Rochanne. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends, which are many. Rochanne came to the Tulalip Tribes in 1999 while putting together a financing package for a casino expansion project. Her sincere and honest personality stood out immediately, striking a bond that only grew stronger through the years. Tulalip is like any other part of Indian country, where before any real business can be done a relationship must be developed. For Rochanne, it was always about that relationship before anything else. On a personal note, Rochanne and I developed a close friendship. Our paths crossed many times through the years as we attended the numerous industry functions throughout Indian country. We shared much time together. There were certainly the business discussions, but we would always talk about family and what’s been happening in each other’s lives. Plans for retirement also started to creep into the conversations. Rochanne often spoke of the time we took her and other bankers out fishing and had a salmon bake and crab feed on the beach. We were planning to do it again. I’d like to be able to say that my friendship with Rochanne was unlike any others, but I know that would not be true. I have met many of her friends across this nation. She made everyone feel special wherever she went, sharing a unique friendship with each person. We are all better people for having known her, because she became a part of us.”  —Glen Gobin (treasurer, Tulalip Tribes)

“The world has lost a very bright fire… Rochanne was a fighter for Indian country and the gaming industry. In her career she brought a level of compassion, hope and sense of possibility where others said, ‘It can’t be done.’ Her drive and passion made things happen when all thought it was impossible. She was out there fighting the financial foundations, breaking down walls to make sure Tribes had a fair shake and a seat at the table. When Rochanne came into a room, it lit up and the level of energy immediately was raised because we all knew she was the person who could get things done. She never settled for second best and I don’t think she ever went to sleep at night if there was still a deal to be done. She was an amazing businesswoman who found a way to balance time with family and friends along with her career. She lived each day to the fullest and imparted her sense of incredible wit, humor and love for life to her three beautiful daughters and to everyone who knew her. I lost one of my closest friends, a mentor, my road-warrior sister and sidekick in mischief. We all lost one of the greatest females, hard-working, ethical and a role model in the industry. She was a very bright light who left us way too soon, but has left a spark in each of our hearts forever.” —Kari McCormick (Kitchell)

“Rochanne was not just a colleague and friend, but part of my ‘road family.’ Whether it be someone to laugh with, cry with or complain with, she was a central part of my family away from home—to the point that I got to spend more quality time with Rochanne than my closest confidantes. Dinners with clients, tears and smiles with friends, Rochanne was selfless and cared so much about Indian country. Her integrity was second to none. She was honest to a fault—telling Tribes, even if she couldn’t help them, she would do her best to steer them to others out there that could assist in their endeavor. She served on the NIGA Executive Board, representing Associate Members—a selfless job, taking care of, and representing, NIGA Associate members everywhere. She loved to dance—throwing caution to the wind. She loved to entertain—making sure everyone in the room was included. She was a ‘Lady’ with the class and style that no one could match. She is no longer mortal, but makes up of what legends are defined. Rochanne, thank you for letting me be a small part of your life.” —Matt Robinson, (KlasRobinson Q.E.D.)

Rochanne volunteered on the construction team for the White Earth Mission Trip: (left to right): Curt Mohl, Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, Matt Robinson, Josephine Randberg, Rochanne Hackett, Derek Mohl (behind), David Sprangers, James Klas and Jake.“I met Rochanne professionally but came to consider her more of a personal friend. One of my most vivid memories of Rochanne was on one of our Mission Trips in Minnesota when my husband needed someone to help cut lumber for a home repair and she volunteered. I drove up to see her petite figure clothed in protective goggles and thick gloves cutting large pieces of wood. ‘I didn’t know you knew how to work an electric saw!’ I exclaimed. ’I don’t,’ Rochanne replied, ‘but they needed someone.’ That epitomizes Rochanne—fearless and helpful; strong and powerful. The day Rochanne passed on, I was drawn to pray for her and I was thinking especially about heaven. Although I didn’t know she would leave us that day, I wrote the following to her, ‘Once our bodies are raised, we will be with the Lord forever. Wherever he is, there we will be, rejoicing, praising, singing and celebrating throughout the ages of eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, ‘We will be with the Lord forever.’ Speaking of his own return, Jesus said, ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ (John 14:2-3). Heaven will be even more joyous with Rochanne’s presence in Glory. I will miss you my friend.” —Valerie Red-Horse (Red-Horse Financial/CEM)

“Rochanne and I met many years ago and immediately became friends. Right away we found that we shared many values both personally and professionally. We both loved our families, and we both loved the endless crazy challenges that the industry constantly throws at us. Of the many memories this wonderful lady left me with, her dedication to always doing and saying the right things that always needed to be said will remain an inspiration. Rochanne had the unique knack to tell it like it is whether you liked it or not and then always follow up with that quick nod of her head and that warm disarming smile. Kind of a business first, then female second approach to things. Quite a dangerous combination. She always had such a remarkable confidence in herself, her friends, her company and her clients. I will miss her dearly.”  —Dike Bacon (Hnedak Bobo Group)

“What a great loss for all of us who were lucky enough to know Rochanne. At the same time, we celebrate having had her in our world. Rochanne is one of those special people who infects you with her will, passion, care, empathy, love and drive. She was a smart, tough, direct, caring and beautiful person. I treasured her far beyond a professional relationship and our interactions in the business of gaming. She was a dear friend. From discussions about new casino developments and trends in gaming, making wrong turn after wrong turn driving through rural Oklahoma, seeking out a hidden winery in Laporte, Minnesota for a treat of rhubarb wine after a long workday at White Earth Mission Trip or a day of decadent shopping and wine tasting at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada—my best memories of Rochanne will forever be each and every one of the them. I will be toasting her with the one remaining bottle she and I got together of her favorite Icewine, the 2008 Cabernet Franc from Peller Estates … cheers to Rochanne, an amazing woman!”  —Lisa Jelliffe (professional colleague, lucky friend)

“This world lost a true treasure with the passing of Rochanne Hackett, and her absence will be felt forever in the hearts and minds of the people who loved and respected her. We count ourselves to be among the lucky who were able to not only see Rochanne’s talents and skills at work, but also to call her our friend. She leaves a legacy of unparalleled spirit, passion and humor (the last came in handy during her many years of working with Joe Brady at Wells Fargo!). We miss you Rochanne.”  —Rick Carter and Terry Green, (co-owners of Island View Casino Resort)

“Rochanne was a friend to so many and respected by all. Her determined and forthright qualities kept her focused as a leader in Indian country; her quick wit and smiling spirit cheered many. Her friendship was loyal and true blue… she influenced and impacted us all. Rochanne’s legacy will remain an inspiration and will be forever remembered. I, as many, will miss my friend dearly.” —Linda Roe (Thalden Boyd)

“Rochanne was always smiling and lifting the spirits of those around her. Our paths crossed many times over the years. Lots of dinners and lots of conferences were all the more enjoyable and fun because of her. On the day she went to be with the Lord I was drawn to 2 Peter 1: 5-8, part of which says, ‘passionate patience, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.’ That is a great description of Rochanne’s life. Thanks Lord for intersecting my path with Rochanne’s, she was a true blessing to many of us in Indian country!!!”  —Chief Boyd (Thalden Boyd)

“Rochanne’s vigor for life was reflected in everything she pursued—work, friends, philanthropy, travel and, most importantly, her family—and she maintained her tenacious spirit until she passed on, fighting for every last day. Rochanne’s work ethic, honesty, compassion and zest for life are traits that made her a role model and desired partner to those with whom she worked. To my dear friend and mentor, may God welcome you to heaven until we meet again. We are all blessed to have known you.” —Candy Borrego (Wells Fargo)

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