From China to Leland – finding purpose and connection
By Jennie Berkson
A plethora of family connections has kept Ann Fisher rooted in Leelanau County despite living and working in China twice and travels elsewhere in many parts of the world.
“Coming back to Leelanau each year was always important, a grounding experience for us,” said Ann. “As our Hong Kong born daughter once said on arriving back here — ‘Real houses, real trees, real grass!’” Ann and her husband Steve have been living in Leland full time for 11 years.
Ann came to Leland as a child to visit relatives on her Dad’s side who had been coming up for 3 generations. Her cousins, Sarah Freeman Roloson, Debbie Nixon and Charlie Freeman spent most summers and some year-round time in Leland. In addition, Steve’s family rented the old Birchcroft house on Warden’s Point Road for 33 summers. And to bring the family even closer, all but one of Steve’s six siblings have settled in Traverse City.
Ann finds time in her busy schedule to play golf, walk and “root around” in the garden. She’s particularly fond of delphiniums, a family fascination handed down from her father. “There are so many different varieties!”
Her curiosity and desire to learn new things certainly found challenge and satisfaction in her work in China.
Although she didn’t really need to learn Chinese for her job with Newsweek, Ann found a teacher with whom she studied both Cantonese and Mandarin dialects.
“She told me Chinese fables and instructed me to tell them back to her. I learned a lot that way – but don’t ask me to speak it now!”
Although she is still working with clients through her 25-year-old executive coaching practice, Ann decided to volunteer with ShareCare in the spring of 2020
“It was COVID time, and we all were housebound. I wondered what I could do locally to help those that lived alone or couldn’t even get curbside pick-up,” she said. “Also, my mother had a great experience with ShareCare when she lived at Effie’s assisted living 6 years ago, and I wanted to return the support.”
Initially Ann helped on the grocery delivery team and then making calls to ShareCare members who requested phone reassurance calls. Ann said she looks forward to the weekly calls she makes and has been learning so much from the women she talks to.
“ShareCare calls – and hopefully visits soon — are a way I can partner with and “accompany” some wonderful elders trying to live their best life,” she said.