CIRI shareholders seeking employment will find a helpful and friendly CIRI descendant named Susan Williams when they call for information and assistance.
Williams is the new Human Resources Assistant at CIRI, and she’s not only willing to assist CIRI shareholders and descendants, but looks forward to the challenge of continuing to improve her skills through learning.
“It feels good to be able to lead people in the right direction when it comes to employment,” Williams said. “Since I have started this position with CIRI I am always learning something new. I love a challenge and I love being busy.”
Williams provides information about CIRI positions and she also directs people to the employment agency Alaska’s People. Or, if they are interested in working at Target, she can give them contact information.
She started working for CIRI as the Human Resources Clerk in April as a seasonal position and was promoted to her current job as the Human Resource Assistant in June.
Williams’ parents are Barbara and Frank Williams, who have been married for 27 years. Her father’s ethnic background is English and Eskimo, as well as the American Indian groups Karok and Wintun. Her mother is Athabascan, Irish and German. Her mother is the granddaughter of Mike Alex from Eklutna.
The 24-year-old was born at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., in 1983. She moved with her family to Alaska when she was a year old.
Williams grew up in Anchorage and went to school in Alaska’s largest city until eighth grade when she moved to Beaverton, Ore., where she completed junior high and went to Century High School. She then moved to Sacramento, Calif., and attended California State University, Sacramento, then transferred to the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. During her college years, she was a recipient of scholarships from The CIRI Foundation.
Her employment history includes a variety of jobs, including working as a life guard in high school. “In college I held various retail positions during the school year, but in the summers I came back to Alaska and worked for CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp., which included Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises for two summers (2004- 2005). I also worked at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge for one summer (2006).”
Family is important to Williams, and she has a twin sister Megan and an older sister named Tia.
“Megan and I moved back to Alaska after we finished college, and my older sister lives in Corvallis, Ore., with her husband and golden retriever. My father is a Commissioned Officer and works in healthcare management for the Indian Health Service, and my mother is a budget analyst; she also works for the Indian Health Service. They currently live in Edmond, Okla.”
Besides her focus on her studies, Williams is a life-long athlete.
“Megan and I started gymnastics when we were nine years old. We both competed at the Junior Olympic Nationals during our gymnastics career. Gymnastics was very time consuming and between it and school, we had very little time for anything else. What time we did have, we spent camping, fishing, clam digging, and hiking,” she said. In college she was on a crew team where she rowed and was a coxswain, who steers the boat.
Williams said her family always stressed education. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Humanities.
“Education in my family is a big deal. My mom is currently working on her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University,” she said.
Williams is single, but has a puppy and a boyfriend and spends her free time hiking, camping, snowboarding, skiing, running and fishing – “anything associated with being outdoors.”
Williams said she is very happy that she now has a position with CIRI. “Being able to work for an Alaska Native corporation gives me the feeling that I am giving back to the community,” she said. “I was able to go to college and complete my bachelor’s degree with the help of The CIRI Foundation and without them, it would have been very difficult.”
She is a person with a lot of motivation and hopes eventually to attain her master’s degree. But she also continues her focus on health and athletics and has a goal of someday running a marathon.