Nine years ago, as an eager intern, CIRI shareholder Tiffany Tutiakoff stepped into the offices of the advertising agency Northwest Strategies. Her previous jobs at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and CIRI had exposed her to the world of marketing and advertising. It was a knock from destiny and she was ready to answer.
“(When I was) at AFN, I got to sit in during a pitch from an advertising agency and I was just enthralled,” Tutiakoff said. “The agency’s ability to develop communications solutions with such passion and heart was impressive. Watching them sell these ideas to a client using compelling and creative messaging inspired me to do what I am doing this very day.”
The agency making the pitch was Northwest Strategies. Today, Tutiakoff leads the agency as its president, a position she’s held for a year. Her ascension at Northwest Strategies – from intern to account coordinator to junior account executive, then account executive to vice president and now its president – exposed her to all levels of the company, sharpened her marketing skills and cultivated lasting client relationships.
Tutiakoff spearheads some of the agency’s largest accounts, including the State of Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program and the recently acquired campaign to curb childhood obesity. Tutiakoff refers to it as social marketing – the attempt to influence behavior for the benefit of society. Tutiakoff’s leadership at Northwest Strategies has helped to make the agency one of the best at this approach to marketing.
“I love advertising. I love marketing. But, to be part of something that is really benefiting society, and ultimately saving lives, is really rewarding,” she said.
Tutiakoff is grateful for the support she received from CIRI and The CIRI Foundation along the way, including scholarships, internship assistance and professional connections. She also attributes her success to a strong work ethic her family instilled in her at a young age. Born after ANCSA was passed, Tutiakoff was gifted CIRI shares from her mother, Gloria Thiele. She grew up in Anchorage, but her family originally comes from Alexander Creek.
The one luxury Tutiakoff lacks is time. Along with helping to run the advertising agency, she spends most days dashing from meeting to meeting. Her free time is devoted to her family (her 10-year-old daughter and many relatives), and her involvement in several Alaska Native art projects.
From the large windows in her corner office overlooking the Egan Center and Anchorage’s Town Square, Tutiakoff can see the snow-capped mountain known as Sleeping Lady rising beyond the shores of Cook Inlet. She knows at the base of that mountain is her family’s remote village. She wonders when she will be able to carve out the time to take her daughter there.
“We have a connection to the land. We have a connection to traditional activities,” Tutiakoff said. “But, it’s tough. My daughter and I are caught up in the daily life in Anchorage. I miss that part of my life and I wish I had more time for that.”
Despite the demands on her time and the constraints of city living, Tutiakoff said she strives to instill in her daughter an active appreciation of her Aleut, Yup’ik and Athabascan heritage, because Tutiakoff knows that, in time, she too will become a CIRI shareholder and assume the mantle of perpetuating the heritage and traditions acquired from their ancestors.
HIGHLIGHTS, TIFFANY TUTIAKOFF
- From intern to president in nine years with Northwest Strategies.
- Strives to instill in her ten-year-old daughter an active appreciation of their Aleut, Yup’ik and Athabascan heritage.
- Gifted CIRI shares from her mother, CIRI shareholder Gloria Thiele.
- Family is originally from Alexander Creek.