Born on Guam, Merci has made Arizona her home for the past 20 years. An employee of the Judiciary, she serves as a Departmental Liaison with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and works closely with the Victim Advocacy Office. As a former member of the Maricopa County Diversity Council, Merci’s role with Island Liaison unknowingly about 15 years ago after a colleague requested a presentation featuring Guam and Micronesia for the City of Phoenix Diversity Program.
This invitation provided the opportunity to introduce and highlight Claudia Kaercher’s personal collection of artifacts from the Marshall Islands. With assistance from the Guam Visitors Bureau, the presentation provided information on Guam and Saipan in addition to neighboring islands and was aptly titled “Imagine Micronesia.”
From this one presentation numerous requests followed from employers in the government and private sector as part of their policy for employees to recognize the value of cultural competency and diversity in the workplace. What started as a cultural presentation based on a shared passion of the Islanders’ heritage, culture and history evolved into Island Liaison, a small but functional community based 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization whose purpose is to serve as a resource for Islanders how to obtain essential health care, education and social services.
After twenty years of working for the Courts in Maricopa County retirement promises a bit of wanderlust and serendipity to complete a genealogy project tracing her family’s ancestry and emigration from England, Germany, Spain, Mexico and the Philippines. She looks forward to volunteering at local Community Food Banks and at the Ronald McDonald House.