Realizing Her Goals
In a career that has spanned nearly 30 years with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Holly Rutka has focused on three priorities:
- Providing for her family
- Continuing to learn
- Helping others
Now serving as HR Payroll Manager for Alaska Housing, Holly has realized those goals during her time with the organization.
Originally from Michigan, Holly said that she came to Alaska in the early 1990s in search of an adventure.
“When I was in college, my friend and I saw the segment on Oprah about Alaska bachelors and decided to move here to meet them,” she joked. “Though when I got here I ended up marrying another Michigander.”
Holly joined Alaska Housing’s accounts payable team as a temporary employee in 1994. With her foot in the door, Holly seized every opportunity that came her way.
“I knew that it was important to me to have a job with benefits, so I could have the future I wanted for myself and the family I planned to have,” she said.
From her temporary role, Holly was hired full-time as a dispatcher working for the public housing department, taking phone calls from residents and dispatching work orders. She went on to work in procurement, the budget department, supply and logistics, asset management and contract compliance before landing in human resources.
“Any time a job opened up, if I thought that I could learn something, I applied,” Holly said. “It’s always been important to me that I continue to grow throughout my whole career. I learned something new in every role that made me a better employee and gave me a broader understanding of AHFC’s work.”
Finding a Mission
When Holly joined Alaska Housing her work community felt like a second family to her, which kept her connected to the organization. Over time, her experiences in different departments showed her how employee efforts contribute to providing Alaskans with access to safe, quality, affordable housing.
“Now it’s the mission and the people that keep me here,” she said.
“My parents raised us on the idea that we were to be stewards to our community and that being part of a community meant helping others,” she said. “That’s what appealed to me about AHFC when I saw how the corporation served Alaskans.”
Supporting Her Colleagues
Holly values the opportunities she’s had to assist her fellow Alaska Housing employees through her work in the Human Resources department. She enjoys getting to walk new employees through the process of signing up for benefits and making full use of resources that can help them in the future, like her family was helped.
“When my daughter was born prematurely, working at Alaska Housing and having health benefits meant that my family was provided for,” she said.
“I used to jokingly refer to my daughter as my ‘quarter of a million dollar baby' because of the hospital expenses when she was born. I can’t imagine going through that process without support. My job provided my family with stability.”
- Holly Rutka, HR Payroll Manager, Alaska Housing
Drawing on her own experiences, Holly tries to help employees be well informed.
“I can’t tell anyone what to do, but I can answer questions and raise points that I would want my own adult children to know about and consider.”
Investing in AHFC’s Future
Holly is passionate about cultivating a new generation of talent. She shared her career journey with a group of temporary employees last summer, has helped out at career fairs and said that she recommends AHFC’s open job positions to people she meets in public.
“I always tell people that we are hiring, especially when I meet someone who communicates well, is empathetic and good at their job, but who wants to do more,” she said. “I encourage them to just go for it and apply. The worst someone can say is no, and a ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean forever – keep trying. It took a while for a company to give me a chance, and that was AHFC.”
To young people just beginning their professional careers, Holly said her advice is, “know that your future is in your hands.”
“Get your foot in the door someplace where you see opportunities to learn,” she said. “Then it’s up to you what you do with it.”
Looking for a career with opportunities to grow? View AHFC's open job positions.