I am excited to get back to blogging in 2022! One of my favorite blog series to do was feature some pretty incredible women I have met. These are women kicking in their business or in the community. I have a pretty wicked line up coming at you for this year too! Some of my very favorite people are getting highlighted and it is going to be fun sharing about who they are and what they do! This series is called “Wonder Woman Wednesday” and they will be launched on the first Wednesday of every month.
First up is the incredible Dana Muscott. She is the City Manager for Bay City and I initially met her in 2018-ish when I moved into my very first studio here in Downtown Bay City. In my time of knowing her one of the things that I have always noticed about her is that she is incredibly passionate and loves our community. She is a fierce advocate for the people that live and work here too. When I was brainstorming who I wanted to feature in this series this year she was one of the very first people I wanted to be a part of this! Being in local government I imagine that her job is as tough as it is rewarding…because politics lol However, she always handles it with grace and that is one thing I admire in her.
So let’s kick things off with her interview:
Who the hell are you?! 😉
A daughter, sister, wife, mom of boys and a City Manager. I grew up in Zilwaukee and eventually moved to Freeland, where I have lived for the past 23 years. My parents divorced when I was six, and remarried some pretty amazing people. We do things as a BIG family, which is rare these days but I’ve always felt they did that for me – which makes me feel special. I have a sister and two brothers and we are all close. Since I lived in Zilwaukee, all the kids there had to go to Arthur Hill for high school – I graduated in 1987. Went to SVSU for three years and during that time, I was working at Second National Bank and met the love of my life (Chris). Seriously met the man of my dreams. We worked together. His dad actually hired me (he was the HR Director) not knowing that a few years later I would be his daughter in law . We got married and started our family right away. Chris and I have been married for 28 years and our sons Cody and Connor are 26 and 23 respectively. Our Boys live about 3 minutes from us which makes this momma happy. We love to golf….every single one of us! We also have two fur babies..Stella and Mocha.
What made you start what it is that you are doing?
Like I said, I was working at the Bank while going to SVSU, and one day my “fiancé” and I went to a Detroit Tigers game with the DPW Director from Saginaw Township. He told me about a job at the Township. I applied and its “Public Servant History” from there. I worked at the Township as Clerk Assistant for a few years and then promoted to Deputy Township Clerk. I left after 11 years and became the City Clerk for Bay City in 2000. I didn’t stop there….The Manager at that time created two Deputy City Manager positions and he came to me to fill one of those positions in addition to being the City Clerk. I loved being the Clerk, having a hand in the elections and being part of what was happening in Bay City through the City Commission eyes. It was at that point I knew Bay City was the place. The place that I loved. Being from Saginaw, we didn’t come to Bay City much as a kid, except to go to St. Laurent’s, Sears, or maybe Herman Hiss….boy, did I miss out!
I held both positions (Clerk and Deputy City Manager) for years and worked for a few different City Managers, all while taking classes about government, elections, public service, you name it. I went to MSU for 3 years to become certified to be a clerk and had to stay weeks at a time while my husband took care of the boys (they were babies at the time) while he worked full time. I ventured a bit further and took a Certified Public Manager course at SVSU which is needed (in my opinion) to be a Manager. Even though I swore I would never run for public office, I took the Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy which is geared towards educating people how to be effective advocates and change agents in the Great Lakes Bay Region – which I highly recommend! Eventually I dropped the title of City Clerk and focused on being Deputy City Manager. From there I was named Interim City Manager twice when the City was without a Manager, but never applied. My boys were in high school at this point and I was focused on being a mom first then work. When the position came open in 2017 it was time. I was ready mentally and physically and the boys were young adults. I had watched over the years on what to do and what not to do, primarily what not to do. Public Service was where my heart was. I took the reins in 2017 and never looked back or second guessed my decision.
What are your long term goals and what are things you are doing now to get there?
I think I hit one of my long term goals…..being a female Manager. The first in Bay City’s history. Did you know that the State of Michigan is made up of 50% women and only 16% are municipal managers? We need to change that. I am working with the Michigan Municipal League to help prepare woman for that next step. It’s called the 16/50 project.
Another one is leaving Bay City in a good position when I retire. Never leave a mess behind….
In your opinion, what is the best thing about life?
That’s easy. My family. I seriously would do anything for my husband and my boys (within reason – lol). I love seeing our boys happy and enjoying life and doing what they love.
I also love the sense of community. When I see the amount of volunteer groups in Bay City that take on a task and rock it, I get a great warm and fuzzy feeling
Another one….I also love that we have choices in life. We can control our future, it just takes a lot of strength sometimes.
If you could give one piece of advice to other women – what would it be?
Something that one of my female Commissioners told me a year ago….”Find your Voice”. That resonated with me for so many reasons. I’ve never really had a problem expressing myself (I don’t really have a poker face) but making sure one is heard is important.
Also, I was told early on in my career that I would not be anything more than a secretary….by another WOMAN! While there is nothing wrong with being a secretary, I was insulted that she seemed to think she knew me. And she was in a position giving advice to numerous people. So never allow someone to hold you down and make you feel worthless. You do you and follow your heart.
Where can people follow you?
I’m old! I have FB but only use it for my family pictures. Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you so much Dana for being a part of this! Keep doing incredible things! The community is lucky to have you.