As an agency with clients that span industries across the state – from tourism to health care to resource development – we learn a lot from our clients. Industry and local knowledge is necessary for us to develop strategic public relations plans. But T&C is also proactive in seeking out the learning opportunities that help us excel at our jobs. Sometimes those opportunities are PR industry-focused and sometimes they are simply to learn more about our community. During a recent, informal learning session, our office had the privilege of chatting with Kim Reitmeier, executive director of ANCSA Regional Association. It was a fascinating conversation about Alaska Native corporations and how they are intricately woven into the fabric of Alaska’s economy.

Here are our top takeaways:

A shared system. A unique agreement among Alaska Native corporations is the 7(i) provision of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. It essentially states that a percentage of all natural resource earnings from land owned by Alaska Native Corporations be distributed equally among the other Regional Corporations. This unique model guarantees earnings for each ANC and its shareholders, as well as the Village Corporations within each region.

Alaska Native Corporations are diverse. ANCs have diverse business interests, ranging from resource development to real estate to energy and infrastructure. These businesses span various industries across Alaska, the Lower 48 and even around the globe.

The collective economic impact to our state’s economy is significant. All 12 of Alaska’s native corporations are continually ranked as the top employers in Alaska. They account for nearly 70 percent of Alaska-based jobs, with a payroll of $1 billion funneling in to Alaska’s economy.

In our opinion, a “101” course like this is always a great idea. Here are T&C’s top takeaways on why learning opportunities like this matter:

Refreshers are important. Even though not all of the information might be new to everyone, hearing it again can make it top-of-mind. The conversation that can stem from a group learning opportunity is also valuable as it leads to people contributing different perspectives on a topic.

Dive deep. The opportunity to ask questions of someone who is involved in a specific field or industry on a daily basis allows us to move past the surface-level knowledge that we have as an outsider.

It all applies. Whether the guest represents an industry that is outside of a client list or it’s completely relevant, the information is just as valuable. Increased knowledge of our state and its communities only strengthens our work and our ability to help our clients.

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