"Being the oldest of eight children has always made me want to lead." - Michelle de Armas
Michelle de Armas, who is of the Pueblo of Isleta American Indian Tribe, serves as Program Coordinator of Diversity Development for Fox Entertainment Group, whose goal is to incorporate diverse voices into every aspect of the business. Since 2008, she has coordinated the Fox Journey to Excellence Program (JTE), and from 2007 has coordinated the American Indian Summer Institute Program (AISI).
The JTE is a community outreach initiative that provides mentoring to high school students from underrepresented backgrounds to help them achieve new growth in academics, social, and personal development. Student participants attend educational programs such as career seminars, mentoring activities, and visits by professionals in the entertainment, law, medical, public service, and corporate business industries. The students also partake in movie screenings and visits to television and film sets.
In 2009, when Fox decided to upgrade their computer systems, de Armas was able to acquire over 60 computers for the students' personal use, and with the help of Foshay Tech Academy, coordinated an event to teach students ways to personalize their computers and protect their identity and computer data. The informative and hands on project gave the students an added résumé boost and their own personal computers right in time for the holidays. Adding icing to the cake, de Armas was able to have actor Tim Roth speak to the students while he was on a break from filming the television show Lie To Me.
As coordinator of the AISI, Michelle de Armas serves as a mentor to young adult American Indians in order to increase the talent pool of those most underrepresented at FOX and the industry throughout. The students have the valuable opportunity to visit sets and attend workshops led by industry professionals. At the end of the program, de Armas brings together industry veterans with AISI members to produce public service announcements that shed light on issues facing American Indian communities nationwide. In eight years, over 150 American Indian youths from tribes across the United States have participated in these programs.
Ever the champion for volunteering and community service, de Armas has impacted many others through her involvement with the Southern California Indian Center and through her work as a court appointed special advocate for foster children. Currently, de Armas continues to mentor many American Indian youths and is a member of the American Indian Professional Association.