2020 Anchorage ATHENA Leadership Award


Carol Gore President/CEO Cook Inlet Housing Authority ATHENA Class of 2009

A proud Alaskan of Aleut descent, Carol’s life is shaped by the rich heritage of her people. Carol grew up in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage and spent her summers in Cordova, Alaska. She worked a variety of jobs, including teaching accordion, but eventually, when the music career didn’t work out, found herself working for her Native Corporation, Cook Inlet Region, Inc.

From her job managing assets for CIRI, she was loaned, on an interim basis, to Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA), while they searched for a permanent leader for the organization. It was during this time at CIHA that Carol’s skills and passion aligned, and for the past twenty-two years, she has led the charge for responsible community development through innovation. Carol and her team have grown Cook Inlet Housing Authority’s affordable rental housing from 267 to 1,756 units, and through the creation of the Cook Inlet Lending Center, support community economic development.

Carol uses the values from her mother’s village of Ninilchik as guiding principles, “everyone matters and everyone is essential.” She collaborates and leverages every available dollar in order to create housing opportunities, empower people and build community. She approaches the work one neighborhood at a time, one family at a time, knowing that needs vary and the development environment is always changing. The work always begins with listening and understanding.

Carol believes in leading by example and giving back to her community. She supports many organizations by bringing her knowledge and perspective to the table, as she serves on Boards and Committees such as Bean’s Café, Covenant House Alaska, the Mayor’s Homeless Leadership Council, the Alaska Community Foundation, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Board of Governors.

She is an exceptional, humble, visionary leader.

2020 Anchorage ATHENA Inductees

Tammy Ashley Director of Program Operations Alaska Native Justice Center

Tammy is the Director of Program Operations for the Alaska Native Justice Center. She has dedicated her career to the advancement and empowerment of Alaska Native people, including Alaska Native women; advocating for and working with victims of discrimination, domestic violence and sexual assault; contributing to a reduction

in recidivism in the state; emphasizing the importance of teaching Alaska Native people and other Alaskans to become advocates for themselves; and making a difference in her community.

In addition to a Master of Business Administration degree from Alaska Pacific University, Tammy holds a master’s certificate in Alaska Native Executive Leadership, a bachelor’s degree and two associate degrees.

Tammy’s history of assisting women in reaching their full leadership potential is deeply rooted in many years in a leadership role with the Girl Scouts of Alaska, Southcentral Foundation and most recently in her position at the Alaska Native Justice Center.

Deena Bishop Superintendent Anchorage School District

Deena Bishop, Ph.D., has worked in the education field in Alaska since 1991. She has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and is now superintendent for the Anchorage School District.

Bishop holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Alaska, and a doctorate in learning assessment and system performance from the University of Oregon.

During her career, Bishop has been active in numerous local and civic organizations, including the Education Commission of the States and the University of Alaska Board of Regents. She serves on several nonprofit boards in Alaska.

Honored for her work professionally and personally, Bishop was named the 2020 Alaska Junior Achievement Educator of the Year, received the 2019 Women Helping Women Award, and was given the 2016 YWCA-BP Woman of Achievement Award.

Deborah Bitney Owner Positive Solutions, LLC

Deborah Bitney is a fourth generation Alaskan with nearly 40 years of professional experience in private, public and nonprofit sectors. As the former Vice President of Administration and Finance for Rasmuson Foundation, President & CEO Kaplan said of her – “Debbie is an exceptional manager…she has a rare combination of administrative genius and a warm and empathetic personality.”

Bitney served as VP of Administration for the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, Administrative Officer for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Housing and Finance Director for Wasilla Area Seniors and Director of the Permanent Fund Dividend Division.

Debbie is deeply committed to helping people in difficult circumstances and finding solutions to homelessness in Alaska. She is former Chair of the Board of MY House, former Secretary of The Alaska Children’s Trust and past member of the Board of the Alaska Coalition on Housing & Homelessness. She is always open to new opportunities to support her community.

Lori Davey VP of Enterprise Market GCI

Lifelong Alaskan, Lori Davey, GCI Vice President – Enterprise Markets, is known as a connector of people, financing and ideas to deliver meaningful results. A successful businesswoman and entrepreneur with a long background in management, public communications, professional mentorship and community service, she shares years of management experience in Alaska’s telecom and resource development industries helping drive successful results.

As a mentor, she rolls up her sleeves and helps do the work as fund manager of the Alaska Accelerator Fund and is a leader in GCI Women’s Network. Her active volunteer service ranges from Bean’s Café, Nature Conservancy Trustee, to the Alaska Chamber of Commerce Board. Recognizing her leadership skills and Alaskan knowledge, she was appointed as a founding US business representative of the Arctic Economic Council. Most importantly she’s a role model for her son Grayson and are both recognized as Journal of Commerce Top 40 under 40.

Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson CEO Alaska Tribal Health Consortium

For one lovely six-week period in 2018 during the Walker administration, Alaska had a female Alaska Native Lieutenant Governor: Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson. Prior to that, Davidson was Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of
Health & Social Services from 2014-2018. Davidson came to state government from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, and over her career, she has worked tirelessly to secure better health care for Alaskans.

Among her many accomplishments, she spearheaded the push for the Dental Health Aide program, coordinated the Medicaid Expansion effort in Alaska, and negotiated the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, that recognizes the Tribes’ inherent authority to oversee placement of their children and provide child welfare services.

Davidson presently sits on the board of First Alaskans Institute, the Foraker Group Governance Board, the Lancet Commission on Arctic Health, and the United States of Care Founders Council.

Amy Fredeen Executive Vice President & CFO Cook Inlet Tribal Council

After every success, Amy quickly deflects praise and points to her team. This is the clearest sign of a true leader. As executive VP and CFO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Amy has expanded the nonprofit’s financial base exponentially and helped nonprofits throughout our community, always keeping her focus on creating opportunities for Alaska Native people.

Amy’s most notable achievement (so far) was helping to co-creating the video game “Never Alone,” which was an instant worldwide hit and became the subject of 750+ articles and glowing reviews. Not only does “Never Alone” promote positive images of Native people, it inspired other communities to seek out ways to share and celebrate their cultures.

Amy has given many presentations on inclusive development around the world and served on a dizzying array of boards, panels and committees, from Make-a-Wish to the Skoll Foundation conference at Oxford University.

Kari C. Hall Founder, Owner, Operator Allure Day Spa and Hair Design

Kari Hall is a lifelong Alaskan role model mentoring woman. Founder of Allure Day Spa and Hair Design she donated $1 million dollars in gift cards to nonprofits, plus transformed Allure into America’s Top 5 Salons.

She has employed, trained, and mentored hundreds of women in career and leadership positions. She founded Spark of the Wheel Consulting focusing on women, developing careers, and personal growth.

Kari has received numerous awards: YWCA’s Woman of Achievement 2011, Spirit of Alaska Heart of Downtown, Downtown Partnership 2011, Top Woman of Honor of our Community, Woman Entrepreneurs of Alaska 2014, and John Trautner, Covenant House Award 2014. She also served on numerous boards, President, Eva Foundation, Greater Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, ACVB plus several committee raising funders for local charities. Kari’s motto “If it is to be it’s up to me,” She is a caring leader driven by professional excellence in improving the lives others.

Jodie Hettrick Former Fire Chief (retired) Anchorage Fire Department

Jodie’s career began in the fire service when she joined Central Mat-Su Fire Department in 1987. Her career is dedicated to establishing the vision of improved safety for all citizens and visitors in Alaskan communities.

Joining Anchorage Fire Department in 2012 as assistant fire chief, Jodie brought a wealth of knowledge and experience. She was responsible for safety, training, and public outreach. Upon appointment to deputy fire chief in 2015 her responsibilities expanded to the management of emergency response operations. June 2018 Jodie was appointed as the first woman fire chief of Anchorage Fire Department by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

As Anchorage Fire Department’s chief officer Jodie encourages women throughout Alaska to consider careers in emergency services. Jodie has held a broad array of leadership positions, serving as a role model and inspiring women.

Jodie is married to Michael Hettrick, mother to three, and grandmother to two.

Cathleen N. McLaughlin Owner/CEO Restorative and Reentry Services

Cathleen is the CEO of Restorative and Reentry Services, which supports community-based reentry programs throughout the U.S. Previously, she was the Director of the Partners Reentry Center in Anchorage that, during her leadership, served over 8400 reentrants at high risk of experiencing homelessness upon release. She believes that successful reintegration requires services in an atmosphere of hope, transparency, and respect.

She is a frequent presenter and panelist on criminal justice and community-based reentry issues and has authored numerous publications on criminal justice reform; community-based reentry, recidivism reduction; as well as a children’s book. She is a musician who inspires incarcerated women to use music as a tool to connect.

Board Memberships include One2One Mentorship for Justice and the Anchorage Community Theatre.

Her nominator says: “She is amazing …; a business leader, sought-after expert, and opens doors for desperate women.”

Melinda Taylor Communications Director IBEW Local 1547

Melinda Taylor serves as Communications Director for IBEW Local 1547. In that role she has been instrumental in establishing IBEW as an engaged community partner, funding various youth and community building events.

She helped establish “Wild Salmon on Parade”, an art exhibit that displayed decorated fiberglass salmon in downtown Anchorage and auctioned them off for charity; helped found AK Hopes and Dreams – a non-profit that holds an annual Youth Conference that engages, inspires and motivates teenagers to take charge of their lives by developing strategies and habits for successful careers, and initiated the “Be the Light – Anti-bullying Walk” to raise awareness of the impact bullying has in our community.

Melinda was the first African American elected to the Anchorage Assembly and worked for Governor Tony Knowles.

Melinda has demonstrated time and time again that each one of us can make a positive difference in our community.