Michelle Erickson has been named the new Executive Director at the Abused Adult Resource Center (AARC).
Erickson, who had been serving as Interim Executive Director since December 2018, was appointed by the AARC Board of Directors at its meeting Wednesday, March 27, 2019. She was chosen from among a group of nine applicants. Her appointment is effective Monday, April 1, 2019.
Greg Gunderson, AARC Board Chair, said, “Michelle’s proven leadership skills, coupled with her passion for the AARC and its clients, were a key factor in the board of directors decision. The board and I look forward to assisting Michelle continue the legacy that former director Diane Zainhofsky and others have built at the AARC.”
In taking the position, Erickson said, “I am honored and humbled to be selected as the new Executive Director and to follow in Diane’s footsteps. I am looking forward to new and exciting opportunities for the future of AARC and am grateful for all the support from our staff and our community.”
Erickson, who has been with AARC since 2005, becomes the agency’s fifth director since its inception in 1976. The first director was Bonnie Palecek, who was instrumental in establishing the agency and later became director of the North Dakota Coalition of Abused Women’s Services.
Erickson holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She joined AARC as its transitional housing coordinator and, since 2017, has been supervising AARC’s entire direct service staff. She has been active in the community, including representing AARC for 13 years on the Missouri Valley Coalition of Homeless People, where she served as chair. She also has volunteered for the United Way’s emergency shelter and has spoken to businesses and their employees in support of the United Way campaign.
She replaces Zainhofsky, who has been with AARC since 1980 and Executive Director since 1987. In mid-December, Zainhofsky announced plans to retire June 30 and stepped down as Executive Director with the Board naming Erickson as Interim Executive Director. Zainhofsky remains as an advisor for AARC.