Eight of their 27 employees are UAA grads; three are former UA Scholars and one paid for college by investing in the UA College Savings Plan
From L–R: Hannah Newberry, Account Assistant, accounting student, Class of 2013; Amber Lee, Director of Advertising, M.F.A. ’05; Suki Miller, Media Assistant, B.A. Journalism & Public Communications (JPC) and Math ’09; Amanda Combs, Account Executive, B.A. JPC ’06; Kalyn Simon, Account Executive, B.B.A. Marketing & Management ’06; Megan Moore, Account Executive, B.A. JPC ’08; Morgan MacConaugha, Accounting Manager, A.A.S. Accounting ’12; Saba Adley, Media Director, B.A. JPC ’02
Sitting around the conference table at Northwest Strategies (NWS)—a full-service marketing, public relations and advertising agency in Anchorage—are three UA Scholars, a former ski racer, three working moms, an editor-on-the-side for the Alaska Quarterly Review, a transplant student from Portland, two former USUAA representatives, one member of Phi Theta Kappa and five lifelong Alaskans. Some of those descriptors cover a person more than once, though—all-in-all there are eight lady Seawolves reminiscing at NWS this particular afternoon.
During the conversation, it’s noted that it is actually kind of an anomaly that they are all women. Though the advertising industry in Alaska is predominantly women, it’s not something you find as much Outside. In addition, having all spent a good portion of their lives, including college, in Alaska means they connect easily with their Alaska clients. Maybe that’s why so many UAA grads find their way to NWS.
“Alaska clients like Alaska people and the Alaska experience,” says Saba Adley (B.A. JPC ’02), media director. “There’s a learning curve to learn the state and how things work here.”
“One of the strengths of UAA grads is just knowing Alaska,” adds Kalyn Simon, (B.B.A. ’06), account executive.
Some of them actually found their way to Northwest Strategies directly through connections at UAA. Amanda Combs (B.A. JPC ’06), account executive, was an intern her senior year, a position she landed when NWS called up the Journalism & Public Communications Department asking for recommendations. The same goes for Megan Moore (B.A. JPC ’08), account executive.
“I came here right after my junior year because I had a strong relationship with my advisor in the journalism department,” says Megan. “Someone from NWS called the department asking if they could recommend anyone for an internship, so my advisor recommended me. Because of that, I’ve always urged current students to have those relationships with people in their department and with their faculty, because they open a lot of doors.”
The graduation dates of each of these women spans a little over a decade. As they chat they talk about the differences in their programs and how they’ve seen UAA grow over the years. The recurring theme, though, as Megan pointed out, is their relationships with faculty.
“I built some great relationships with people that I’ve been able to tap into even after school,” says Amanda.
“I had a really positive experience with the business counseling center as I figured out what degree I wanted to pursue,” says Kalyn.
And the power of relationships has been prevalent in all their time at NWS as well (which is a cumulative 18 years). They all echo each other as they talk about the fun, open environment that is NWS. The leadership treats them like family and they feel the same way about each other. We’d like to think that’s because their president, Tiffany Tutiakoff, is also a Seawolf.
These days, in between working on accounts for numerous clients in the Alaska health and housing industries, these UAA ladies also find time to stay connected to their alma mater—whether it’s attending the Green & Gold Gala or concerts and speakers on campus. Like the relationships they’ve built up over the years, their green and gold bonds are hard to break.
To find out more about the dynamic team at Northwest Strategies, visit www.nwstrat.com .