Recently, I hit a small milestone — my first year at Travois! It’s rewarding to look back on this year and think about everything I’ve learned, my travels and the successes that I’ve shared with my clients and co-workers. To help me recap my year, the team came up with some questions for me. Read on to learn all about it.
What housing projects have you been involved with your first year?
I had the opportunity to work on several different projects that reached major milestones this year. These projects were diverse and reached from the far Northeast corner of the country to the far Southwest (and many places in between). In the Northeast, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs in Presque Isle, Maine, received an Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston to rehabilitate 23 housing units. In the Southwest, the Yavapai-Apache Nation in Camp Verde, Arizona received an award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) and closed with the equity investor on its fifth tax credit project which will build 38 new homes and a community building. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute (even if in a small way) to wonderful projects such as these.
Do you have a fun story to share about a work trip you took this year?
Each of my work trips this year was a new adventure for me. I ate fried alligator for the first time at the Annual Travois Conference in New Orleans. I flew on the smallest plane I had ever flown on with Adam Rose when visiting the Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority in Ft. Washakie, Wyoming (See photo – we could see through the front windshield!). I even fed giraffes with Casey Cline, Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing staff, and Tohono O’odham Ki:Ki Association staff at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.
Outside of the office, what stands out from 2015 for you?
2015 was great year for me. I got married, I moved to Kansas City, and I started working at Travois! I look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring.
As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, what does working in Indian Country mean to you?
Through my work at Travois, I have had the opportunity to interact with some of the strongest leaders and advocates in Indian Country today. A few years ago, I attended a lecture by Jeff Corntassel, a Cherokee scholar, and he discussed a Cherokee word, Digadatsele’i. It means we belong to each other. He discussed how a relationship exists between us all and leads to an inherent responsibility for us all to protect land, culture and community. I see this spirit everyday in tribal leaders, housing authorities’ staff, and my Travois co-workers. Each new home that is built or rehabilitated by a tribe provides a greater opportunity for their members to stay on their land, protect and honor their culture, and sustain communities. I am honored to contribute to this pursuit.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in the last year?
I am proud of each client milestone reached. From submitting 1,200 page applications to closing a project with an equity investor, each milestone reached by the project teams was a major accomplishment.
What are you looking forward to in 2016?
I am looking forward to continuing to learn and grow at Travois. I also look forward to continuing to get to know all our great clients and to meeting many more of Indian Country’s affordable housing leaders and advocates over the next year!