Growing up, CIRI shareholder Allison Knox says her parents were always encouraging her to explore, travel and be open to learning new things. In high school, Knox wanted to follow her parents into the tourism industry and took the tourism class at Anchorage’s King Career Center, while working at the Anchorage Daily News in the circulation department.
In college, her path diverged from majoring in hotel and restaurant management to pursuing a degree in journalism and public relations.
“When I moved back to Alaska, my hope was to stay in tourism marketing,” she continues. Instead, an opportunity to work as a marketing assistant for National Native News, a Koahnic Broadcast Corporation program, fell into her lap. “My job was to promote APRN’s statewide news programming and market National Native News to radio stations in the Lower 48. It was a fantastic opportunity. I learned to pursue big ideas and the importance of building business relationships.”
National Native News opened up Knox’s eyes to the issues Alaska Native and American Indian people were facing at the time as well as what a critical communications vehicle statewide public radio was for rural residents.
But the appeal of Alaska’s first destination resort hotel was calling. Knox joined Alyeska Resort’s marketing team prior to the opening of the Alyeska Hotel. She spent three years working with national and international travel and ski writers promoting Alyeska Resort as a year-round vacation destination. “It was a blast! I got to help coordinate film shoots, including MTV’s second season of Road Rules – the one where the cast bungee jumps from the Alyeska Tramway.”
Knox was then pursued for a position overseeing public relations and shareholder communications for her regional corporation, CIRI.
“I worked for CIRI at an exciting time, and I truly believed in the mission of how CIRI was benefiting the lives of our shareholders. It was my goal to help tell this story,” Knox recalls. “I worked with a team that was able to make a nontaxable distribution of $50,000 to shareholders with 100 shares – that’s huge! Our leadership was committed to smart financial communications about the effects of such a large cash influx on the economy as well as for those receiving the money.”
After eight years with CIRI, Knox became the director of public relations at Southcentral Foundation, a CIRI-affiliated nonprofit.
Today, Knox pairs her passion for healthcare with almost 30 years of experience in public relations and hospitality to enhance the experience and care for Alaska Native/American Indian customers of the Alaska Native Medical Center, where she became the vice president of customer experience this past August.
“Our mission is to provide the highest quality health services in partnership with our people and the Alaska Tribal Health System,” Knox explains. “This is a perfect opportunity to use my life’s professional and personal experiences for the continuing betterment of our people.”
She is excited about the current growth of the Alaska Native Health Campus, where a new 200-room patient housing facility is currently under construction. She’s inspired to continue her own growth, too, as she continues to champion better health and wellness for the Alaska Native community.