In early summer of 2009, Irene Felicetti attended the Greenfield Village Civil War Remembrance with a good friend and her friend’s grandson, who dressed as a Union soldier.
“We saw a little kid dressed as a Confederate soldier walking up the hill toward us,” she recalls. “And he had on the hat and was carrying a rifle and so was my friend’s grandson. When the kid got to the top of the hill, he tipped his Confederate hat at my friend’s grandson, who tipped his Union hat back, and I just got chills. I said, ‘I have to work here.’”
And the rest was history.
Since 2009, Felicetti has regularly volunteered on weekends at Greenfield Village. However, her zeal for community involvement doesn’t stop there.
Since moving to Ann Arbor in 2002 to work for U-M as administrative coordinator/project coordinator in the School of Nursing, Felicetti has picked up multiple volunteering spots at the Ark, the Michigan Theater, Hill Auditorium and Summerfest — and those are only the highlights.
Beyond a love for music and history, Felicetti says her passion for people motivates her to give back to the community and to “leave my mark on this little piece of the world.”
“One day, someone might say, ‘Wow, she was a great docent,’” she says.
Felicetti also loves her work at the Ark, she says, “because I get to meet so many wonderful musicians.” Those artists include Carbon Leaf, Emerson Hart, The Steel Wheels, The Kin, Glen Phillips, Corn Daddy, Judy Collins, and the Avett Brothers.
Felicetti’s enthusiasm for people also helps her on the job.
“I’m a real people person. That can be just anybody: the person I’m talking with on the phone, the person I’m ordering supplies from. I love the idea that we work as a team — our office is a team. That’s important to me,” Felicetti says.
For the last three years, Felicetti has worked as the program coordinator at the Perioperative Outcomes Initiative, part of Surgery Transplantation in the Medical School. POI is a hospital network aimed to improve perioperative processes (the period of time surrounding surgical procedures ) and patient outcomes.
POI collects data from electronic medical records for analysis and improvement purposes and is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan/Blue Care Network. Felicetti coordinates the events and communications between POI and its network of hospitals.
“No two days are alike,” she says. Felicetti facilitates all of the arrangements for quarterly meetings, annual conferences and hospital site visits. She prepares materials shared with hospitals and serves as the point of contact for administrative questions.
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Felicetti says that the results of her work can be life changing: “(The Perioperative Outcomes Initiative) looks at a lot of things like time-outs in the surgical suite; number of staff in the OR; instrument counts; skin prep — tiny details could make huge differences,” she says.
Felicetti received her Bachelor of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2002, where she also worked in coordination and management for 19 years. In 2006 she received her Master of Liberal Sciences degree in women’s studies with minors in minority health and domestic violence from Eastern Michigan University.
When she’s not at work or volunteering, she occasionally puts her own talent to the test: “I do karaoke. I do have fun doing it. I like singing with people. It’s kind of scary but it’s fun at the same time.”
And she’s not too shy to “jam out” to the radio on the way to work. “I have my Ark sticker on my car, so they know if they see me singing that I love music.”