As a political science major at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Jolie Andon leaned towards careers in law or the U.S. Foreign Service. But a temporary position at Alaska Housing Finance Corporation during the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity in a field she hadn’t previously considered.
“I was looking for a change of pace and started a temporary job working in the call center during Alaska Housing Rent Relief and Alaska Housing Homeowner Assistance,” she explained. “That was a new experience for me, I had never worked in a call center before and it took some adjusting.”
Valuable Career Lessons
Jolie credits the call center experience with teaching her valuable lessons that she is carrying forward in her career.
“One thing that stuck with me is that a lot of the time people need to be heard, maybe even as much as they need a problem solved,” she said.
A naturally analytical person who enjoys problem solving, Jolie said she had to learn to let callers verbally process first before jumping in to help. Her calm manner, sharp listening skills and ability to find solutions were noticed, and in August 2022 Jolie was promoted to the position of program relief support working in AHFC’s Planning department.
Housing Resources for Alaskans
Jolie spends much of her time in her new role assisting the grantees who partner with AHFC to run Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery. She enjoys helping grantees find the information and resources needed to successfully run the program.
“The work is interesting and rewarding,” Jolie said. “Some participants have experienced homelessness for many years, and our grantees are able to help them become housed. It might not have been possible for them to make that change if they didn’t have help.”
Jolie didn’t anticipate this opportunity when she joined AHFC as a temporary employee, but working in housing services on behalf of her home state is in some ways a full-circle moment for her.
“As a teenager and in my early 20s, I worked for the Tanana Chiefs Conference and was asked to serve as a delegate on a panel about housing in the interior, representing my home community of Beaver, Alaska,” she explained. “In some ways, the environment at Alaska Housing feels similar to my time at TCC. I’m glad I ended up here.”
Discovering New Interests
Since joining the Planning department and seeing housing programs from a different perspective, Jolie said she is quickly learning how much work goes into creating and operating these resources.
“I had no idea how many programs Alaska Housing offers and what goes into running them,” she said. “Working in the Planning department, I’m still learning what everyone does and hearing about programs I didn’t know existed.”
The exposure to a wide range of work is helping Jolie to find new interests and possible career paths to consider. Auditing, for example, appeals to her analytical side and is something she hopes to explore more in the future.
“I’m still figuring out what I want in my career, but for now I’m just focused on being here,” she said. “I’ve already learned so much.”
Interested in exploring a career at Alaska Housing? Visit our website and view open positions.