2015-11-13 09.56.09


Michelle Holder taking a UNC selfie in her Aspen office


  1. What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?

My favorite aspect of serving as an ICMA Officer was having the opportunity to organize and co-create with my classmates! We were able to bring a lot of fun and informative events to our fellow MPA students.

  1. Where are you working now and what are your responsibilities?

I work as a Management Analyst with the City of Aspen, Colorado, where I am chiefly responsible for the creation of a citizens academy, a program to teach people about how the City functions (for more, see Professor Rick Morse’s invaluable resource: https://www.sog.unc.edu/resources/microsites/citizens-academies). I am currently reaching out to the community to gather input and ideas for the program. I also work on other fun projects in different capacities, including a departmental process improvement team and a city-wide task and performance measurement plan.

  1. What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?

Since I started in Aspen, I have drawn from the event planning and coordination experience that I gained through ICMA. It was helpful to be involved in planning so many events prior to graduating; once I arrived in my new position, event planning and coordinating were fresh in my practice.

  1. What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?

Be confident, be authentic, and be humble, always. Seek advice from other, wiser folks.

In regards to your post-grad school job, research the hell out of the organizations you apply to. And once you’ve accepted your position, keep tabs on your organization and the community. Get to know this new place in which you will thrive.

Further, the revered Eric Peterson, town manager of Hillsborough, NC, did give me this advice: Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Learn and absorb as much as you can; go on tours, ride-alongs, read – always be continually learning.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I will have 10 years of analytical, community-focused municipal experience and will be in a high-level supervisory role that will allow me to serve the community from a bigger-picture perspective. I’m looking forward to it.