Movers & Shakers for Feb. 5, 2023

Deborah Ferrell, a 25-year GCI veteran and senior director of sales and operations, has been promoted to senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the company. GCI created the position last year as part of a companywide initiative to create a more welcoming work environment for employees and make meaningful progress on the company’s DEI goals. Deborah is the first person to serve in this new role.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion is entirely focused on the people,” said Ferrell. “In my role, I will lead the implementation of an enterprise-wide strategy to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging and empowerment. We know when people feel they can be their authentic selves at work, they perform better, and morale is higher. I’ll be working closely with teams to examine our current programs, training and practices to identify where DEI practices should be implemented.”

Ferrell, who was elected in 2021 as the first chair of GCI’s DEI Council, will also focus on growing the company’s new Business Resource Groups, voluntary employee groups organized around a shared background, interest or issue.

GCI’s DEI Council has made many strides since its inception. The group regularly holds organized companywide events on diversity, including a leadership panel during Black History Month, a Juneteenth-focused event and Pride Month presentations about gender and culture. The Council also partners with outside DEI consultants to bring a variety of training opportunities to employees.

“We’re so fortunate to have Deborah on our team,” said GCI Chief Customer Experience Officer Maureen Moore. “Her passion for the DEI Council as chair made her a natural fit for this new role at GCI. The executive team is grateful for her leadership in taking DEI from the initiative stage to the DEI Council, and now to a pillar of who we are at GCI. Conversations are being generated throughout the company; we’re seeing departments make change to incorporate DEI practices. It’s important this is at the forefront of what we do for our employees, our customers, and Alaska as a whole.”

The law firm of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP announced Ryan J. Thomas is joining the firm as an associate attorney. Thomas attended the University of Colorado School of Law and practiced commercial real estate law in the Lower 48 before returning to Alaska. He is a member of the Alaska Bar Association. Thomas was born and raised in Fairbanks and lives in Anchorage with his wife and two children. Thomas previously worked in project management in both academic and nonprofit settings. He also worked for the state of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources before returning to private law practice. Thomas brings a depth of knowledge and years of experience in commercial real estate and natural resource management. At LBB, his practice will focus on real estate transactions, business law, working with Alaska Native corporations and other transactional work.

NORTECH announced that Jason Gresehover recently joined its staff as an environmental engineer. He holds a certificate in 40-hour HAZWOPER Training and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with degrees in civil engineering and mathematics respectively. Gresehover has conducted Phase I and Phase II investigations throughout the state of Alaska. He has been project lead on several site remediation projects and has experience in all aspects of investigations including site research, developing, and gaining regulatory approval for sampling plans, conducting hand and mechanical soil, groundwater sampling, and tank removal.

Thompson & Co. Public Relations announced Kailee Stickler has been promoted to vice president of digital. Stickler is the newest promotion to the agency’s executive leadership team, making her part of a small percentage of female senior leadership positions in the industry.

“T&C’s digital arm has exploded under Kailee’s leadership the past several years, with new services and a growing team,” said Jennifer Thompson, president and CEO at T&C. “She came to the agency as an entry-level account coordinator and proved to us early on she was committed to the agency’s growth. She has worked her way through the ranks with ambition, loyalty and tenacity, and I look forward to seeing how she continues to evolve our digital services in this role.”

Stickler joined the T&C team immediately after graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage and has spent the last six years growing the agency’s digital services, now T&C’s fastest-growing department. Having helped develop the path for digital services offered at the agency, she will oversee all aspects of the digital department, including digital advertising, social media strategy, video, photography, graphic design and more.

McKinley Management LLC (McKinley) has added three new positions to its executive team: Jill McLeod as general counsel, Ian Walser, CPA as chief financial officer, and Shareen Crosby as chief of staff.

“These three positions add to the breadth and depth of services McKinley Management provides our four business units,” said McKinley Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer Rob Gillam.

As general counsel, McLeod will be deeply involved in assisting all McKinley business units with meeting their strategic objectives. She has more than 25 years of international legal experience with expertise in finance, risk and compliance and general corporate law and has worked extensively in acquisitions involving oil and gas, mining, telecommunications, aerospace, hotels and resorts and complicated commercial transactions. Before joining McKinley, McLeod was a partner at the international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP where she managed the firm’s Anchorage office and was a member of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice group. Prior to joining Dorsey, she served as in-house counsel for ConocoPhillips in Anchorage, providing expert legal advice to the company’s Alaska North Slope asset group.

Walser joins the team as chief financial officer and brings with him nearly two decades of experience in financial management. He served as Alaska Growth Capital’s vice president, controller and compliance for the past seven years (now McKinley Alaska Growth Capital). Prior to his time at AGC, Ian was the state tax manager for Arctic Slope Regional Corp. Walser also has experience in corporate and tax accounting. His work experience includes time in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies.

Crosby joins McKinley in a new role as chief of staff. She will work closely with McKinley’s executive team to develop Alaska business opportunities and provide project management, research and writing support. Crosby worked for the last seven years as chief of staff to Alaska state Sen. Natasha von Imhof.

“Ian’s tax and audit experience and his deep understanding of commercial lending will help us integrate McKinley Alaska Growth Capital into our team. Jill’s experience in acquisitions, finance, and compliance will be an immediate asset to our business, especially McKinley Alaska Private Investment. Shareen’s role is designed to help optimize our executive team and support our business development process,” Gillam said. “I am excited to have Jill, Ian and Shareen’s capable hands and professional experience on our team as we work hard to serve our client’s needs and help them achieve their goals.”


02/17/2023 - 3:23pm