The National Center is continuing its series of profiling members of our staff and Board members. This month, we introduce you to Erin Abrahamson, who is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. Erin loves hiking and camping, the Oakland Raiders, and working with tribal youth. Erin is a valuable member of our team – we hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about her!
What did you do before joining the National Center?
Prior to joining the National Center, I was at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Recreation Department for 5 years, where I worked with community youth through after school programs, Girl Scouts, special interest classes, teen programs, and special needs programs. I also worked with the Spokane Tribe’s youth program and a Non-Profit called The Native Project of Spokane, in their Children and Youth Services Department. In total I worked with youth for a little over 12 years.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation which is about 45 minutes northwest of Spokane Washington.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at the National Center.
I am a very easy-going person. I love new adventures and working at the National Center has been a great adventure so far. My job here at the National Center is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, so basically I work closely with Chris James. I also get the opportunity to work with our Board of Directors.
What is your favorite aspect of working at the National Center?
My favorite aspect of working here is getting to meet so many great people. I am not the most outgoing person and with this job, I have pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and to meet as many people and gain as much knowledge as I can.
What advice would you give a young person who wants to get more involved in her tribe, community, or the Native American community more broadly?
I would tell any youth that would like to be more involved to just get out there and take every opportunity that comes their way. Sometimes you may have to put in some work to find that opportunity but in the end, it is worth it. Over the first weekend of July National Center had its Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) at the National UNITY Conference. This conference had 2,400 registered attendees from about 123 different tribes and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. These youth at the conference are doing great things for their communities. If your community does not offer something like a UNITY Youth Council, then all it takes is one person to put in the work and make it a reality.
When you’re not working, where can we find you? What are your hobbies?
When I am not working you can find me many places. I love to spend time with my family and friends. When the weather is not scorching hot I like to go hiking. I am all about football season, especially my Oakland Raiders and just love to get out and explore the many things that Phoenix has to offer. One of my all-time favorite things to do is to go home to Washington state and go camping with my family on the Spokane River. It is something I grew up doing and still to this day love more than anything.