A.A. Accounting ’07
Hometown: Eagle River, Alaska
Fun Fact: She has been a volunteer gardener for the City of Anchorage for three years.
Michelle Fletcher has a chronic condition. The two-time UAA alumna loves getting involved in her community—working with elders, as a den leader for Cub Scouts, coordinating team parents for Chugiak Youth Sports Association, teaching in the nursery at her church. Family. Community. Leadership. They are all part of her past and current state of mind and span her personal and professional lives.
A condition that can be contagious, volunteering has simply always been a part of Michelle’s repertoire. So has being part of a team for this former softball, basketball and cross-country competitor.
“It just recently dawned on me that I’ve gotten a lot of support from my parents and past coaches and teachers,” says the 33-year-old benefits specialist with Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC). “I think when I was growing up they envisioned us doing something great. I just feel that I need to give back.”
So when Michelle saw an article last year about the Alaska Humanities Forum’s Leadership Anchorage program, she also saw another opportunity to get involved.
“Leadership Anchorage exposes its participants to all these great leaders in the community,” she says. “I really wanted to have that network, and the culminating community service projects were a way to give back to the community. Everything just seemed to compound: the quality of people, the amount of knowledge and the different perspectives people brought to the group.”
From recently retired Anchorage School District superintendent Carol Comeau to Yup’ik artist Perry Eaton—the level of presenters through Leadership Anchorage were impressive. “It was so awesome because it felt like it was all homegrown talent,” Michelle says.
For the culminating assignment she worked with four other Leadership Anchorage participants on what they called the Digital Storytelling Project for the Anchorage Public Library. The group captured interviews and photos of library users and assembled them into a marketing resource for the library.
In addition to Leadership Anchorage, Michelle is also involved with Training Without Walls, a program for shareholders of BBNC who are looking toward leadership or management positions. Although she didn’t grow up in the region that BBNC serves, she is a shareholder through her Yup’ik mother and is keen to learn more about the people she serves in her human resources position.
Lastly, Michelle is excited about a new role she is taking on as an advisory board member and volunteer coordinator for the local nonprofit Girls on the Run. It began by making a pact with her family (husband Adam and 13-year-old son Alex) to be more active together. Alex asked her to run a 5K with him and Michelle saw it as another occasion to give her time and expertise to help others. “It’ll be very exciting,” she says, “doing something that involves sports and children, and for the first time working with young girls.” She’ll be involved in helping coordinate the three local running events that Girls on the Run puts on to promote the health and well-being of elementary school girls.
With all the volunteering and networking Michelle already does, there couldn’t be much more room on her plate, could there? Well, room enough for a 4-year-old son (not quite volunteer ready….yet) and an M.B.A. You read that right. With an A.A. in accounting and a bachelor’s in business administration already on her resume, Michelle is confident that UAA will continue to have what she needs to take the next step in her human resources career. So she is gearing up for round three: an M.B.A. starting this fall.
“The more I investigated M.B.A. programs, the happier I realized I’d be at UAA,” says the first generation high school and college graduate. “I’ll be going to school with my colleagues who are just entering the workforce or already established in the workforce in Anchorage. I am really looking forward to that.”
Chronic learning. It’s another one of Michelle’s conditions that we hope is infectious.