FLOW is pleased to announce that Carolan Sonderegger has joined the team as our new Policy Director. Carolan leads our policy team in designing strategic policy interventions, and works with coalition partners, stakeholders, and agency and elected officials to advance FLOW’s mission to keep the Great Lakes healthy, public, and protected for all.
Carolan arrives at FLOW with a deep background in science and policy. With a degree in Biology from Grand Valley State University, Carolan previously served as an Aquatic Biologist and Environmental Coordinator for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; and was then promoted to Natural Resource Department Manager. She spent three years in this role, advocating for tribal hunting and fishing rights as well as overseeing programs related to Great Lakes Management, Inland Management, Environmental Services, Restoration, and Agriculture.
What attracted you to FLOW?
The most significant factor that attracted me to FLOW was its mission and vision. Access to clean and safe drinking water is an undeniable human right, and FLOW takes charge to ensure our lawmakers are held accountable for delivering on their promise to protect and preserve our waters. As the Policy Director, I will be able to give a voice to water and live up to my name, Giziibii Ogitchida’ikwe (River Chief Woman).
What connects you to the Great Lakes?
As an Indigenous woman, water is part of my identity. The Great Lakes hold a special place in my heart as they serve as a connection to my ancestors and their legacy. This is the same water that flowed through their bodies and it is the same water that rained upon their heads, as it does mine. The water that I touch today will be the same water that future generations will touch. As long as we cherish and protect it, water will serve as a powerful link between our past and future, uniting us all in its precious embrace.
Do you have a favorite place in Michigan?
My favorite place in this world is a little creek that runs on my parent’s property deep in the woods. When I need to quiet the world around me, I go to this place where I can talk to my grandmother, listen to the water running across the rocks, and find peace within myself.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that I love all types of music and play a little guitar! There’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching music come alive on stage! The raw energy and excitement of a live performance is simply unbeatable.
What are you excited to work on at FLOW?
I am most excited about meeting new people! Networking is a fundamental aspect of advocating for water. I’m eagerly looking forward to the upcoming events where I can exchange my ideas and gain new insights from diverse perspectives.