Nancy Andrew can’t sit still for very long – she’s always looking ahead, finding ways to improve herself and her community. She’s the type of person that doesn’t waste time, when she dreams something she works to achieve it. From a young age, Nancy knew she wanted to hold a leadership role in her community of Saint Mary’s. “It was always one of my goals to become chief executive officer (CEO) of the corporation, so a lot of the jobs I’ve held were with that long-term goal in mind,” said Nancy.
Her dream came true, she’s currently serving as the CEO of the Saint Mary’s Native Corporation but Nancy says getting there took determination, education and hard work. She has a diverse career background, working in the areas of accounting, nonprofit, hospitality and tourism. She was also with the Alaska Army National Guard for five years. She worked at Calista Corporation for several years while she raised a family and went to school. According to Nancy, Calista’s internship program was instrumental in helping her get a foot in the door in accounting.
Nancy was taking her first set of classes in accounting when she approached Calista about interning in the accounting department. The Association of Village Council Presidents had funding for 500 hours of an internship at Calista, and after passing a series of tests Nancy was offered the internship.
“I really enjoyed my time there, it gave me a really good foundation for my job at Saint Mary’s Corporation,” said Nancy.
Nancy encourages Shareholders and Descendants to pursue opportunities in both education and on-the-job experience. She said she learned at an early age experience is essential to moving up in the working world. When she applied for a job at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) she was told she had too much experience but that didn’t stop her from telling the company she wanted the job, “I don’t mind starting at the bottom because this is my foot in the door.”
Nancy continues to strive to help her community, and she was selected as an alternate for the steering committee at the Regional Committee gathering last month. She said the gathering was very productive and she enjoyed being part of it. “There was a lot of knowledge and wisdom in the room,” said Nancy. She said much of her inspiration came from the words of Elder John Paul, when he shared some of his wisdom with the room, “He said, ‘be humble, be helpful, lend a helping hand, and when you keep a cool head others will see that and they will go to you for guidance and assistance.’”
Nancy says it’s never too early to begin charting a career path. She encourages Youth to identify their passions and pursue them. And even if it means taking a job that isn’t your dream job, she says every experience will open a door to something better.
(View other featured leaders here)