Madrienne White (’08, 19) has joined the University of Washington Foundation Board (UWFB) as the representative for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D). She is moving into the position previously held by long term OMA&D advocate and 2015 Charles E. Odegaard Award recipient Colleen Fukui-Sketchley.
White graduated from UW in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies and holds an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. She is currently the Public and Government Relations Manager for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe where she is also a member and has worked the past 13yrs. Her past board experiences include UW FEOP, El Centro de la Raza, and Pioneer Human Services and she now sits on the board of directors at the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the Seattle Art Museum’s Education and Community Engagement committee.
White is no stranger to OMA&D and is intimately familiar with the impact OMA&D services and programs have. She sees her service on the UWFB as an extension of those students voices and their needs. “I know from personal experience the incredible impact resources and support offered by OMA&D can have in the life of students and their families. It’s truly life changing and can affect the future academic and professional trajectory of students,” says White. “To be able to contribute time and energy on behalf of OMA&D to support their programming and opportunities for students is a labor of love and it will be my pleasure to represent their voices.”
Being the first American Indian to serve on the UWFB as far as records indicate, White feels both proud, but also the pressure of “being the first.” “I am truly proud to have been invited to represent OMA&D at the UWFB. It’s an honor and a privilege to have even been considered,” she explained. “It honestly feels overwhelming, there’s a lot of emotions and a desire to represent my community, family and heritage with the upmost respect, strength, and grace. But it’s incredibly satisfying knowing that I’m helping to pave the way for future inclusion and representation of American Indian/Native/indigenous People to serve and take on the responsibilities of these types of roles and positions of influence.”
White has set some goals set for herself while serving on UWFB. “As a UWFB member my overall objective is to be a devoted and reliable advocate and voice for OMA&D as a whole and I look forward to serving in this new capacity as an ambassador and voice for the staff, faculty, and most of all the students,” she explains. White views her role as more than just an OMA&D representative. “I would also love to be a resource for fellow board members, staff, faculty, and even students. Especially those interested in creating new and/or cultivating existing relationships with tribal nations, programs, and people. I believe there is a lot of potential for making new meaningful connections and reinvigorating current partnerships between the UW community and local tribal communities”
As part of her role as an OMA&D representative, she wants to listen and learn from students, staff, and alumni of OMA&D, and from stakeholders in the community who would like to share their thoughts. “As a new member I think it’s incredibly important that I take time to listen and learn as much as I can from the OMA&D and UWFB community. If anyone would like to share information, stories, experiences, or feedback, I’d like to make myself available for discussion and engagement,” she says. Her preferred method of communication is email, and she can be reached at Madrienne.email@example.com.