Board Corner

A Message from CIRI Board Assistant Treasurer Samuel Spangler

CIRI Board Assistant Treasurer Sam Spangler

My name is Sam Spangler. I am Aleut and an original CIRI shareholder. It has been my privilege to serve on the CIRI Board of Directors since 2017.

Although my mother’s family hails from Ninilchik, Alaska, she passed away when I was young, and I grew up in Pennsylvania without a strong connection to my Alaska Native heritage.

I have followed CIRI through various newsletters and Annual Reports since the late 1970s and began to have an interest in Board service in the late 1990s. A few years ago, I became engaged in diversity and inclusion activities at my workplace and also reconnected with my mother’s side of the family and my Alaska Native heritage. These two events lead to my taking action to apply for the CIRI Board.

My tenure on the Board has been unique because I have met and connected with people who knew my mother as a child, and I’ve learned so much about my family. In fact, nearly everything I have learned about my Alaska Native heritage has come from interactions with our extended CIRI family at CIRI events over the last three years. It’s been a personally fulfilling journey, to say the least!

Professionally, I have worked in the tech industry for 36 years. I was fortunate to have received educational funding from CIRI prior to the establishment of The CIRI Foundation, back when scholarships were awarded through the CIRI-H&N Scholarship Program and the CIRI/ARCO Scholarship Program. I currently work at Intel Corp. as vice president for the company’s Client Computing Group and general manager for the Connected Home Division Business Transformation Office.

My professional skills of financial management, communication and negotiation, relationship-building and strategy planning have translated well to the boardroom, and I know there are other skills among our more than 9,100 shareholders that would also benefit the CIRI Board. If you are at all interested in Board service, I encourage you to get involved and apply!

I have two Millennial children who are both in their 20s, and I recently gifted them CIRI shares so they can develop an understanding of what it means to be part of CIRI. Each time I talk to them about our Corporation, I am hopeful that I am preparing them for their responsibilities as a CIRI shareholder – now, and into the future.

Millennials represent the largest generation ever, yet few of them serve on the boards of companies. Companies like CIRI need young ideas and fresh insight to stay relevant. Millennials often have a more natural grasp of technology and technological possibilities, and younger board members can offer more insight into how technology is used between businesses and customers.

When I became interested in Board service and started getting to know our corporation, one question that was regularly asked of me was, What took you so long? Why pursue Board service now and not when you were in your 30s or 40s? Part of me was waiting until I felt like I had acquired enough relevant skills to bring to the Board, but I would encourage shareholders to not feel like they have to check all the boxes before they apply.

Know what you stand for and how you can benefit the Board. Start making connections with people now so they know who you are; I was an unknown, and it took me a while to establish those connections. Come to the table with ideas about how the Company can reach and engage the next generation of CIRI shareholders.

Serving on a board is one of the most influential roles Millennials, or anyone, can undertake. It is a role that evolves personal strategic thinking, develops leadership skills, and positions members for personal and professional growth. It is also crucial to remember that a board operates as a collective for decision-making purposes. Young people who want to pursue board roles should not wait to accumulate a full range of experiences but should start to be involved early on. It’s a serious commitment, but one that comes with myriad rewards.

If you are interested in or have questions about serving on the CIRI Board, I invite you to reach out via email at

Interested in serving on the CIRI Board of Directors?

Among other eligibility requirements, candidates must be a voting CIRI shareholder at least 18 years of age.

In selecting the Board-recommended slate, the CIRI Board looks for demonstrated decision-making abilities, leadership experience and communication skills. Applicants should have a strong understanding of business and basic financial knowledge, along with a college degree or equivalent business experience.

In addition, an applicant should exhibit professionalism, sound judgment, level headedness and integrity. Familiarity with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and involvement in the Alaska Native/American Indian community are also essential.

Applications for the Board-recommended slate of candidates are typically due mid-January. More information will be made available via the Raven’s Circle and on CIRI’s website in the coming months.