Member Spotlight: Rebecca Harbage

Everyone, meet the 2016 HYP Board President, Rebecca! To kick off our new member spotlight portion , we sat down and asked our board president a few questions about her professional life and time in Helena. Here's what she had to say..

What do you do for work and what is your slash?
I am an environmental planner with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. I work on air quality issues. Outside of the work I am paid to do, I have been a member of the Helena Zoning Commission for the last year.

How did you land in Helena?
I moved to Helena from Maine in 2008 to work as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a nonprofit that trains community volunteers to advocate for kids in abuse and neglect cases. I had graduated from college with a degree in History, no job, without enough cash to keep living in New York City, and no desire to move back in with my parents. AmeriCorps was a great opportunity to move somewhere new and get a year of work experience.

What is the best piece of advice that you ever received – career-related or otherwise?
“You have the skills/knowledge/ability. Go for it.” The best advice I have ever received comes from the many people who have supported me and encouraged me to stretch myself over the years. Whether it was moving from small town Maine to NYC for college, moving across the country to get paid poverty wages, quitting my job to go back to school, taking on projects I had little experience with, or running to be President of the HYP board (!), all of these decisions got me to where I am today and the little confidence boost from my support network helped me make the decisions.

When do you feel the most yourself?
I am most myself when I’m doing something active outside on a crisp fall day, crunching dry leaves under foot and anticipating the first snow flurries. Ideally, this would be hiking or picking apples. Sweaters, mittens, and hot cider may or may not play a part. Yes, I have known people to roll their eyes at this.

Where is the last place you explored and where do you want to explore next?
Last weekend I stayed at the Old Condon Ranger Station and explored some of the trails around Holland Lake. I’d like to explore the National Parks in the Southwestern U.S.

Tell us something about yourself that we didn’t ask:
I raced the 18.5-mile canoe leg of the Ski to Sea race in Bellingham, WA, in a gold lamé dress (see photo).