CIRI shareholder Kristel Komakhuk was honored as a 2012 Top Forty Under 40 recipient on March 8, at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. Each year, the Alaska Journal of Commerce honors up-and-coming Alaskan leaders who are under 40 years old and demonstrate professional excellence and a commitment to their community.

Komakhuk, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage in business management with an emphasis in marketing, is development director at First Alaskans Institute, where she helps manage development and fundraising strategies. She also recently became involved in the operations of the newly acquired First Alaskans Magazine, which is now owned by First Alaskans Institute.

Her family is from Nome and Tatitlek. She grew up in Anchorage and is Alutiiq and Inupiaq. After her 19-year-old brother died by suicide in 2010, Komakhuk found courage to make it a personal goal to work toward raising awareness about suicide and suicide prevention.

“I don’t want others to have to endure the pain that my family experienced,” said Komakhuk. “While there are many organizations working toward reducing suicide in Alaska, I believe that there can never be too much work done or awareness of suicide prevention in our state.”

Komakhuk recently joined the board of the newly formed American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Alaska Chapter, where she passionately works to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. Other community activities keep Komakhuk extra busy as well.

She serves on the board of the Tatitlek Corp. and Chugach Support Services Inc., a subsidiary at Chugach Alaska Corp. She is an active member of the Alaska Native Professional Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. On top of it all, Komakhuk is the mother of young son, Alex. Her hobbies include outdoor activities, traveling, enjoying live music, exercising, reading, and spending time with her son, her dog, Henry, and her family.

Her goal is to look back on her life with great happiness, a life that includes a loving family, fulfillment and peace. Memories and lessons taught by her late grandmothers, Minnie Komakhuk and Miranda Barnes, have instilled strength in her.

Komakhuk invites CIRI shareholders and the public to join her on the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Saturday, May 12, beginning at the west end of the Delaney Park Strip at 9 a.m. The walk will raise funds to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and aims to help raise awareness of depression and suicide. Learn more about the walk by visiting