Founder and Executive Director
Michelle grew up in the Mat Su Valley, earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Idaho and completed her coursework and practicum for a Masters in Health Psychology at Northern Arizona University. She has published research in the field of Addiction, and has presented research at six different National Conferences. She has worked for Hospitals and non-profits and owned her own consulting company for the past 17 years. Michelle is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a Rotary Gift to the World Award, Alaska’s First Lady Volunteer of the Year Award, as well as an Outstanding Women in Business Award for 2013. One of her favorite jobs was acting as the addiction expert for Joe Garajiola’s Spit Tobacco Prevention Program with Diamondbacks Baseball in Phoenix, Arizona. Michelle provided life coaching at a local alternative high school and was inspired to start MY House when she sent a youth out with a sleeping bag and a backpack to spend the night in his car. The model was developed by researching organizations like Delancey Street in San Francisco and job training programs for youth across the Nation.
Deb is a lifelong Alaskan who loves the outdoors, being part of a Community, and finding innovative solutions for youth. She is currently the Chief Administrative Officer for the Rasmusen Foundation. As a former Alaskan youth herself, she recognizes the challenges inherent to Alaska as a State from both the youth and adult perspective. Having a 17 year old son also lends to her passion for youth resources and support. She is the former director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Program and was most recently employed by AGIA, the Alaska gas pipeline project. Her career with the State of Alaska is long and distinguished, and offers a background that is dynamic and interactive when discussing issues of community concern. She is currently an active member of the MY House Board of Directors, and sits on the Statewide Coalition for Housing and Homelessness, and is a great advocate for programs and services that empower youth.
Chas St. George
Chas joins our Board with vast community governance experience, including Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce, LifeQuest, Mat-Su Health Services, Mat-Su Borough Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Mat-Su Agency Partnership. He is the winner of five Emmy awards for his films on the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race, and is a long time Valley resident with a passion for giving back. His greatest achievement is the day his wife Janet said “yes”! They have seven wonderful children, and eight (very energetic) grandchildren. Chas has worked for the University of Alaska Statewide in the Office of Academic Affairs and Research, as the University’s Strategic Direction Initiative coordinator, and currently serves and the Operations Manager for the Iditarod Sled Dog Trail Race.
Michael is a retired Mat Su Valley School Teacher who has worked Outreach for Covenant House, and remained connected to that organization for a number of years. He has conducted recovery meetings in a variety of venues in the Valley, including 12 years as a volunteer at the local Juvenile Detention Center in cooperation with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Michael has 25 years of sobriety himself and experience working with youth of all ages in homeless and substance abuse recovery situations. He has been on the Operating Board for the local Housing and Homeless Coalition, and continues to take a leadership role with youth and in the recovery field in the community. Michael joined Michelle in founding MY House right after retiring and has been hard at work since that time. Michael was also recently nominated for the Dorothy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award through the United Way.
Jess is relatively new to the MY House Board, but is a valuable and welcome addition. Jess created two of the first private-sector counterparts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, built several national mortgage businesses, and was a senior executive with the world’s largest mortgage company. Jess Lederman has published over 40 anthologies on the global financial markets, and was the principal architect of several new forms of housing finance, including innovative methods of providing affordable housing when he served as Executive Director of a non-profit housing trust in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. When the mortgage market went into crisis in 2007, Jess was asked to become the Chief Risk Officer and Senior Managing Director of Countrywide Financial, at that time a Fortune 100 company, and helped to guide the firm to its merger with Bank of America in 2008. Jess will be very valuable for the development of budgets, income producing businesses, financial stability and sustainability for MY House.
Holly Gittlein is an award winning multi-media sculptor whose pieces are found internationally in diverse public areas from military bases, hospitals, and schools to businesses and recreational areas. Holly has an international presence herself with a background in biology and marine science she has worked in conservation and sustainable development at the grassroots levels in South and Central America, Africa and the South Pacific. Recently she has expanded into the healing arts where she is combining ancient philosophies of healing with new science to address trauma in mankind and the Earth. Her role with MY House is an extension of her humble dedication to assisting in the transformation and enlightenment required to create peace on Earth.
Advertising and Marketing
Mitchell joined the MY House Board in 2016 and has extensive experience with youth groups and faith based leadership programs. Mitchell is the owner and principal for Slater Strategies, a digital marketing company based in Alaska that specializes in social media marketing, reputation management and SEO.
Abby came to MY House as a homeless youth and survivor of a hemispherectomy at age five. She is a recent High School Graduate and was trained and employed by the Steamdriven Boutique, where she learned skills for retail sales, merchandising and marketing, along with job experience. She has worked for over a year at the local People’s Paper, living on her own in sustainable housing and building a base of support and encouragement. Abby comes from a unique perspective and is a great representative for all homeless youth, particularly those with barriers in need of job training and experience. She is a Rotarian and involved in many aspects of our community, while continually volunteering and supporting MY House clients and programs.