Resource Basket Coordinator, RurAL CAP
Ashley Anderson was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and moved to Spokane, WA in 2011. In 2012, Mrs. Anderson graduated Spokane Falls Community College with an Associate’s in Liberal Arts and Communication. She was accepted into Gonzaga University the following year on an academic scholarship and graduated cum laude with honors in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and a minor in Child Psychology. Additionally, she received IRB recognition of her thesis. Mrs. Anderson went on to work on her Masters of Legal Studies and Policy (M.L.S.) at the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law and Criminal Justice and Youth and Youth Advocacy (M.A.) from Washington State University.
She moved to Alaska in 2018 with her husband, two kids, and elder dog seeking a new adventure in the wild- which she has done, having been to 13 villages and all the way up to the Arctic. Her aim is to continue work in community development, collaboration, and awareness to help provide opportunities for everyone.
Chemical Dependency Counselor, Genesis Recovery Services
Cortney is a lifelong Alaskan who is passionate about developing and providing resources that promote holistic wellness, particularly for underrepresented populations. Her educational and lived experiences inform her current work as a Chemical Dependency Counselor. She is pursuing her MSW while engaging in Leadership Anchorage, with the intention of partnering with community organizations to provide innovative solutions to social issues and ultimately, systemic change. When not engaged in the community, she enjoys spending time with her partner and two bearded dragons.
Senior Attorney, Earthjustice
Charisse has spent the last seven years working as a federal criminal prosecutor in both Alaska and Arizona. She got her Bachelor's and Juris Doctorate degrees at Seattle University. During undergrad she was captain of the women's track & field and cross-country teams; during law school she was an editor on the American Indian Law Journal. Charisse grew up in Iliamna and developed a deep respect for the land that sustained her people for generations. She and her husband raise their daughters on Dena'ina Ełnena, and she enjoys baking, biking, basketball, and all things salmonberry.
Director of Employee Experience, UAA
Ahmbra Austin currently serves as the Director of Employee Experience at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Prior to living out her life-long dream to move to Alaska in 2021, Ahmbra worked at California State University San Marcos where she developed and managed a program that provided networking opportunities and development sessions for faculty and staff. She values positivity and compassion and has a passion for building community and inspiring personal growth in others. When she is not at work, Ahmbra loves to experience nature through the change in seasons, spend quality time with friends, and work on projects that inspire creativity.
Co-Owner, Jensen Hall Creative
Carolyn believes in the power of community and the potential for greatness when people come together to accomplish common goals. She is a small business owner and a consultant whose portfolio includes public and media relations, crisis communications, visual communications, community outreach, project management, and operations. Carolyn values her time serving those in need for a local nonprofit and on her local community council board. She lives in a historic home with her husband, three cats, and a backyard flock of chickens.
President/CEO, Polynesian Association of Alaska
Lusiana “Lucy” Tuga Hansen was born in Ta'u Manu'a, Pago Pago American Samoa. In 1985, she moved to Alaska to be close to family. In 2005, she became the founder and CEO of the Polynesian Association of Alaska, a nonprofit organization with the mission to support individuals, improve families by promoting education, and instill cultural pride in youth. In recognition of her advocacy for the Polynesian community, she was honored with a Chief Samoan Title Name, Muaimalae Tuga Hansen, from the Atoali’i organization in Hawaii and California, as well as many other
awards, including the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Women “Champions of Change” Award from the White House, the “Women of Achievement Award” from the YWCA of Alaska, the Presidential Award from Bridge Builders of Anchorage, 2021 she was 1 of 10 Extra Tough Alaska Women of the North through the Anchorage Alaska Museum, 2022 she received the Community Heart Award through Anchorage Community Land Trust.
Driver, Alaska Yellow Taxi
Ahmed Hassan was born in Kismayo, Somalia and fled the country to a Kenyan refugee camp in early 1992 when the civil war broke out. He went on to graduate from high school, attain a teaching certificate, and teach primary school in Kenya. In 2012, Ahmed was resettled in Anchorage and has worked in restaurants, at the Arc of Anchorage, and as a taxi driver. He has completed two semesters at UAA and plans to pursue a career as a medical labor technician. He is a father of five and is very glad to be one of the LA26 participants.
Mental Health Clinician, McLaughlin Youth Center
Naya Indira was born and raised in the Bronx, New York; however, her culture and beliefs have been influenced and shaped by many places. She has pursued and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has worked in violence prevention and has spent countless hours working alongside and supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and child abuse. For the past few years, Naya has worked with Alaskan boys and men, teaching them about positive masculinity and gender equality, and how to prevent domestic/sexual violence in Alaska. Additionally, for her master’s program, Naya worked as a Mental Health Clinician Intern for adjudicated youth in Alaska. Her work with youth has fueled her passion for helping children, which has led her to her current position at McLaughlin Youth Center, working as the Mental Health Clinician to help adjudicated youth heal from trauma.
Behavioral Health Aide, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Jayly J. Jackson is 24, a 3rd year Alaskan, and excited about the future. In his professional life he works as a Behavioral Health Aid for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. In his semi-private life, his is a photographer and freelance Illustrator.
Anchorage Regional Manager, Office of Children's Services
Jessie Jacobs is the Anchorage Regional Manager for the Office of Children’s Services. She has been a member of the OCS leadership team since June of 2012 and has worked in social services for 24 years. Ms. Jacobs is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and holds a Masters in Social Work with certification in Human Services Management. Ms. Jacobs was born and raised in Anchorage and values the rich and diverse communities of Alaska. Ms. Jacobs brings energy and passion to the work she does and believes that families are best served by community systems working in collaboration to ensure equitable and just treatment for all.
Coordinator, Camp Fire Alaska
As a child who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s in New York City, who will describe himself as a geek/nerd, a jock, and a lover of history. Cisco has seen the effects of poverty and racism can have on a community. Cisco has strived to work to improve the lives of children and people in communities of need. Cisco has a master’s degree in history and political science from the University of New Orleans. Currently, Cisco is a Program Coordinator for Camp Fire Alaska.
Youth Leadership Program Coordinator, Alaska Humanities Forum
Eiden Pospisil was born and raised in Anchorage and attended Oberlin College studying Comparative Religion and Jazz Performance. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music Performance, Eiden worked as an educator in Istanbul and Paris before returning home in 2020.
Since returning to Alaska, Eiden has served as an Academic Advisor at Outer Coast College and worked in refugee resettlement, connecting resettled youth to educational opportunities. Eiden currently works as Youth Leadership Program Coordinator at the Alaska Humanities Forum. Outside of professional work, Eiden continues to pursue his love of music and regularly performs in Alaska and abroad. Eiden is also an avid hiker, camper and skier and loves enjoying the outdoors in Alaska.
Respiratory Technician, Procare Home Medical
Ashley Simien is a Respiratory Technician at Procare Home Medical. She’s been with the company for almost 10 years. She is a Christian, mother of 4 and a foster parent. A mentor for parenting teens and a volunteer for many communities throughout Anchorage. She is eager and looks forward to serving her community for many more years to come.
Assistant Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law
Noah is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska. Previously, he was a law clerk for the Alaska Supreme Court and a legislative aide for Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. He lives in East Anchorage with his partner, Shoshi, and their dog, Morgan.
Nurse Consultant and Wellness Coach, MindBloom LLC
As a Registered Nurse, Stephanie has a diverse nursing background in pediatric neuropsychiatry, public health nursing and addiction treatment, however, her passion is working in prevention. Because of this, she creatively works to bridge the gap between the healthcare system, individuals, and community. Stephanie has a passion for community and believes in the power of connection. Stephanie is Anishinaabikwe from Lac la Croix First Nation, Ontario and was raised in Northern Minnesota.
She studied nursing at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and has called Alaska home since 2015. A homeschooling mom of 5 children, Stephanie and her husband, Ben, find solace in letting nature be a primary teacher and spend as much time exploring the Alaskan Wilderness as possible.
Founder, Butterfly Jazz Intuitive Arts LLC
Tamara Zenobia is an Alaska born Vocal Alchemist, Healer, Medium & Performance Artist. She brings a unique artistic philosophy to her work and that is to hone the gift of the intuitive and improvisational artist/healer within each of us. Her process combines the elements of Vocal Alchemy, music, dance movement and visual art to create a very organic way of living and being which supports physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing for all aspects of our lives.
Tamara is the founder of Butterfly Jazz Intuitive Arts LLC. She performs her music & storytelling adventures, teaches workshops and classes in Vocal Alchemy, and provides Psychic Consulting services to individuals, businesses and government locally, and internationally.