Member Spotlight

Meet Christie Walker (Our branch Co-VP and Program Director)

How long have you lived in Big Bear? 20 years

Tell us a little about why you decided to join the AAUW, how long you’ve been a member and what you like best about it.  When I was working, I was involved in the Optical Women’s Association that advocated for women in the optical industry. It seemed like a natural progression to join another group that advocates for women, the American Association of University women. Plus, I promised Sara as soon as I retired, I’d join.

What kind of work do you do, or what work did you retire from?  For twenty years, I was an editor/writer/photographer for the optical industry. I retired in 2016. Since then, I started a family business, Urban Adventure Quest, a smartphone-guided scavenger hunt tour company with over 70 locations across the U.S. including right here in Big Bear. My other job is a novelist. I have five novels to my name and one currently in the works. This winter I plan on revamping my author Website, republishing my romantic comedies for Kindle, and finishing my current project, “The Community Garden…more than tomatoes are dying.” Stay tuned!

Tell us a little about your hobbies and/or how you like to spend your time.  Grandchildren are my joy. They come here. I go there. Wherever we are we have a blast. My puppy Rae is my love. She goes where I go. Travel, camping, family and friends round out my life quite nicely.

Meet Perri Melnick

How long have you lived in Big Bear?  2 years full time.  6 years as weekenders.

Tell us a little about why you decided to join the AAUW, how long you’ve been a member and what you like best about it.   I joined AAUW shortly after we moved to Big Bear full time.  Community involvement is important to me and I believe in the mission of AAUW.  I also really wanted to meet and connect with other women in the community.

What kind of work do you do, or what work did you retire from?  I am a corporate and health care regulatory attorney.  My practice is focused on advising small businesses, start-ups, physicians, medical groups, and other health care providers on a broad range of business, transactional, general corporate, licensing and regulatory matters.

Tell us a little about your hobbies and/or how you like to spend your time.  I love to read, ski, hike and spend time with my family (my husband, 12-year-old daughter, 2 senior dogs and new puppy).

Do you have a favorite quote?  I don’t have a favorite but, one I like:    “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

Meet Debra Tocalio

How long have you lived in Big Bear?  Weekends, Holidays and vacations since February 2014Full Time since August 2020 when I retire

Tell us a little about why you decided to join the AAUW, how long you’ve been a member and what you like best about it.  I decided to join AAUW to meet like minded women in order to make friends and at the behest of my friend, Deanna Melzian.  I thought since I graduated from a college I was not eligible to join; I learned once again to not make assumptions, lol. I joined three or four years ago to support the organization and attend the holiday party when I could.  Since August it has been a challenge to participate due to the pandemic but I am looking forward to the book club, margarita Mondays, hiking and the speech competition.

What kind of work do you do, or what work did you retire from?  I retired after 30 years as a Los Angeles County Public Defender

Tell us a little about your hobbies and/or how you like to spend your time.  I enjoy reading, knitting, attending live theatre, hiking, kayaking, cooking, fine dining, museums, jigsaw puzzles, international travel and ballroom dancing.

Do you have a favorite quote?  “I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely.  I have only myself.”  Simone de Beauvoir

 

Meet Elsa Murdoch

How long have you lived in Big Bear?   21 years

Tell us a little about why you decided to join the AAUW, how long you’ve been a member and what you like best about it.     I joined to network with other professional university educated women in the Big Bear area. Unfortunately, the pandemic made some of my networking plans change. I’ve been a member for almost a year and look forward to returning to in-person activities.

What kind of work do you do, or what work did you retire from?     I am a RN with my Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). I currently teach full time @ Azusa Pacific University in the School of Nursing RN-BSN program. Additionally, I work independently as a subject matter expert in curriculum and course design for Elsevier Publishing. I am a legal nurse consultant and certified healthcare risk manager. I have been a nurse for over 40 years and I love my profession. No plans to retire anytime soon.

Tell us a little about your hobbies and/or how you like to spend your time.    Hobbies include anything outdoors, fishing, camping (Glamping @ my age), hiking, biking, snow shoeing, and skiing. I love to read and cook. I am a foodie that enjoys making meals for family & friends (difficult this past year). I have 2 yellow Labs: Napoli & Winston that I share my home with. I have 4 sons, 4 grandsons, and enjoy my time with the 2 little grandsons (18months, 1 month).

Is there anything else you would like to add that other members may not know about you?  I am originally from Boston and remain a diehard Red Sox fan.

Do you have a favorite quote?  You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. (Mae West)