Lessa Peter, raised in Fairbanks, is Gwich’in Athabascan originally from Gwichyaa Zhee (Fort Yukon). Last August, she moved to Anchorage where she continues to work with Doyon, Limited as the corporation’s communications specialist and helps manage internal and external communications. Lessa was a communications intern at Doyon in 2010, and after that decided to change her degree from business to communications. She earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in corporate communications and public relations from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2014.
Lessa enjoys working for Doyon, serving Alaska Native people, because it makes her feel like she’s giving back to her community in a meaningful way. Working as a marketing manager at one of Doyon’s subsidiary companies gave her the opportunity to meet with people from reservations all over the United States to promote a product to better help manage tribal programs and businesses. To learn about their organizations, Lessa visited people from communities like Pendleton, Ore.; Towaoc, Colo.; and Pearl River, Miss. It was an eye-opening experience. Communications and public relations allows her to communicate with people, learn about what is important to them and their community and how that relates to her organization’s goals.
In her free time, Lessa enjoys walking her dog, volunteering with the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center and serving on executive planning committees for the American Cancer Society. Most recently, they held the Anchorage Food and Wine Festival and closed out the event with only a 5% expense ratio compared to over $500,000 raised. The funds will support brain tumor research, the current leading cause of cancer-related death in children and young adults. She says, “The cause is important to me because of the amount of friends and family I know who have been directly affected by cancer.” Lessa believes volunteering is an important part of being Alaskan and it allows her to be involved in the community and support an Athabascan cultural value of hers, to care for Elders and community members.
“Being part of PRSA gives me the opportunity to learn more about a variety of Alaska-related companies,” says Lessa. She enjoys going to the professional development luncheons and networking through various events. She volunteered on the public relations committee as the social media manager for a short period and later served on the 2017 Alaska Communicators Exchange (CommEx) planning committee.
About the #MeetPRSA feature: The diversity, membership and board development committees have joined forces to periodically feature PRSA Alaska Chapter members and volunteers in an effort to highlight the strengths and expertise of members. If you would like to be featured or if you would like to nominate someone, please email Katie Montanelli.