Employee Spotlight: Air Force Veteran still serves her country through her work at Cherokee Federal

March 18, 2022

Michele Borel joined Cherokee Federal in April 2017 after a 27-year career in the United States Air Force. She started working at Cherokee as an emergency management subject matter expert. She transitioned into a role as functional group leader for emergency management and soon became a mission analyst.

“Fair treatment and equal opportunity are at the forefront of Cherokee’s values in the workplace,” Michele says. “The environment is inclusive and employees can voice their opinions without fear of retribution. These are the things that make it a good company to work for.”

Michele was eventually promoted to Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs’ site lead for its contract with the Nuclear Enterprise Directorate in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a DoD agency.

“There are times when Michele has to do back-to-back missions supporting the agency as a mission analyst or emergency management specialist,” says Cori Parker, program manager at Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs. “She is an exceptional leader and provides superb decomposition of missions.”

Michele holds a master’s degree in emergency management and homeland defense and has completed certifications and training in mission analysis, fire inspection and continuity planning for public health.

“She is considered one of the best in the command,” Cori says. “She provides training and mentoring support to military, government and civilian personnel, and is trusted as the go-to person for our contract with DTRA.”


Decades of Military Service

Michele began her Air Force career in the medical field and discovered her passion for emergency management while working as the medical representative in Installation Emergency Operation Centers.

“During a deployment to Balad Air Base, I provided medical treatment to joint forces and life-changing care to Iraqi nationals who suffered injuries due to violence in the region,” Michele recalls.

She also served as a First Sergeant and was selected for military diplomatic duty, assigned to the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“While on embassy duty, I was asked to be an international elections observer,” Michele explains. “I facilitated free and fair elections for the country I was assigned and provided recommendations to improve the processes.”

Michele culminated her career at the Defense Intelligence Agency as the senior enlisted advisor for the Human Intelligence community and military diplomats assigned to US embassies around the world.

Michele retired from the Air Force in 2017 as a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank in the military. She participated in the military’s Transition Assistance Program to explore ways she could use her education and training in her next career. During the course, she was introduced to DTRA’s Nuclear Enterprise mission assurance department through a fellow student.

The objective in the DTRA Nuclear Enterprise is to detect vulnerabilities in a collaborative effort to assure the resilience of missions that are fundamental to national security.

“I knew I wanted to continue working in the DoD community, and the opportunity with Cherokee was everything I was looking for,” Michele says. “As a mission analyst, I assist DTRA by validating assets and identifying infrastructure critical to the continuity of strategic missions and tasks. My work at Cherokee is meaningful.”


Who We Are

Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs is a part of Cherokee Federal, a team of tribally owned federal contracting companies focused on building solutions, solving complex challenges, and serving the nation’s mission around the globe for more than 60 federal clients. Cherokee Federal’s team of companies, with more than 3,600 employees, manages nearly 2,000 projects of all sizes across the construction, engineering and manufacturing and mission solutions portfolios — ranging from advanced data analytics and telehealth to cybersecurity, cloud and logistics.

Cherokee Federal is a division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the economic engine of Cherokee Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. Its mission is to diversify and grow the economy of Cherokee Nation. Company profits support future business investments, as well as programs and services for tribal citizens. Cherokee Federal also believes in the value of a diverse workforce and in investing in the brightest talent to keep the company moving forward.


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