Movers & Shakers 04/27/14



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Sara Chambers has joined the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development as the newly appointed Director of the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing. Chambers assumed her new role March 27. As director, she will oversee the Division’s mission to ensure that competent, professional and regulated commercial services are available to Alaska consumers. Prior to her appointment, and since 2011, Chambers has been responsible for leading the division’s professional licensing section. Chambers’ previous experience includes owning a small business, serving as a City and Borough of Juneau Assembly member, and she is a former Alaska Journal of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 recipient.

Debra O’Gara is the new executive director of The Healing Hand Foundation. O’Gara will be working closely with the board of directors with its fundraising campaigns and increasing access for Alaskan Natives to unfunded healthcare services.  The Healing Hand Foundation, formerly known as The SEARHC Foundation, was formed in 2001 to help fill the funding gap in health care services for Southeast Alaskan Native people.

Visit Anchorage recognized service to Anchorage visitors, the community and Alaska’s tourism industry at the 27th annual Seymour Awards Banquet on April 11, 2014. Named for Anchorage’s moose mascot Seymour, each of the awards recognizes an individual, group or business demonstrating excellence in product or service, contributing exceptionally to the visitor industry and Visit Anchorage’s programs or enhancing Anchorage’s image as a visitor destination. Husband and wife team Liz and Larry Dotson were recognized as Volunteers of the Year: Downtown. Together the couple devoted 450 hours of volunteer time to helping in the downtown visitor information center. Bob and JoAnn Berna won as Volunteers of the Year: Airport, for their 260 hours of volunteering at the visitor center inside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Six long-time volunteers in Anchorage’s visitor centers were inducted into the President’s Circle. This year’s inductees included Jan Wilson with 26 years volunteering; Arlene Schillereff, 28 years; Mary Todd, 28 years; Doris Carey, 29 years; Gwen Christianson, 29 years; and Charlotte Gill, who has volunteered in the visitor information centers for 31 years.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Association announced that Kate Blair has joined AOGA as Committee and Projects Coordinator.  Blair joins the AOGA team after spending the last eight years as a specialty pharmaceutical representative covering the state of Alaska. She also spent some time in New York as a Training Manager, during which she provided training to representatives across the United States. Prior to moving to Alaska, Kate was a Division 1 women’s college hockey coach at both the University of Maine and Mercyhurst University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Science from Mercyhurst University. Kate’s initial duties will be to provide assistance to several of AOGA’s committees, and will staff the organization’s Cook Inlet Task Group and the Offshore Committee/Arctic policy body.

Bering Straits Native Corporation has announced the promotion of BSNC shareholder Miriam Aarons to director of corporate communications. In her new role, Aarons is responsible for brand management, public relations, coordinating media communications and helping oversee BSNC’s charitable giving efforts. Aarons formerly served as BSNC’s corporate communications manager. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a field concentration in International Relations from Columbia University in New York City. She is a member of the Alaska Native Heritage Center’s Development Committee.

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