Empowering Insights: Insights from an Emerging Indigenous Woman Leader 

Apr 10, 2024 | Blog, Indigenous Visionaries, Our Programs

Jessica Brunelle, UTTC, B.S., Business Instructor-Advisor 

2023-2024 Indigenous Visionaries Fellow 

My journey thus far has led me in multiple directions. I have overcome adversity and multiple obstacles to get where I am today.  As a young woman, I did not know what career path to choose. After my high school graduation, I was unsure of what to do. I decided to attend United Tribes Technical College for nursing and soon found that it was not for me. I changed my degree to business administration and graduated with an associate degree in 2012.  

I decided to continue with my educational journey for a bachelor’s degree, however, life happens. I experienced obstacle after obstacle and lost all hope at some point. I succumbed to my circumstances.  

But in 2018, I decided I could overcome anything, no matter my obstacles. I went back to UTTC and completed my bachelor’s degree in 2019. Walking across the graduation stage for my undergraduate degree ignited a fire I had never felt before. I went into retail management, and that field was not for me.  

I started a career with UTTC in 2021, and in 2022 an opportunity presented itself. My previous advisor reached out and asked if I would be willing to teach business courses. After careful consideration, I gladly accepted. My first day as an instructor was frightening, to say the least. I was full of self-doubt and every other negative emotion. But life works in wondrous ways, and I can say with absolute certainty that I have found my passion. Teaching is something that I feel was meant for me and who I am as a person.  

In 2023, I returned to school to earn a Master’s of Business Administration. I will complete the program in August of 2024 and will to walk for graduation in April 2024. This is a huge achievement for 15 short months, as it took seven years to complete my undergraduate degree. I was once ashamed of that, but now I embrace every triumph. Every challenge and difficulty I’ve faced has steered my life to its current trajectory. 

I give thanks to the TCUs for their contributions to my success. Education is the key to success. In 2023, I was selected to participate in the American Indian College Fund Indigenous Visionaries Cohort. This program has been transformative and awe-inspiring, and has opened my eyes to new perspectives and filled me with a sense of wonder and joy. To see other women Indigenous leaders aspiring to be their best selves is indescribable.  

It brings me great fulfillment to impart my journey, resilience, and optimism with each of you. I aim to serve as a role model not only for Indigenous women but also for my children, students, and anyone facing daunting challenges. Remember, you possess the strength to overcome any adversity. Believe in yourself, stay open to learning, adapt to change, and consistently choose the path of integrity. Embrace your authentic self, understanding the power of your genuineness in both personal and professional pursuits. Embrace your uniqueness, honor your strengths, and inspire confidence in yourself and others. 

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