Meet Stephenie Wheeler, corporate and regulatory communications officer for the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC).

Job Responsibilities:

A good chunk of my work is dedicated to informing and engaging the railroad’s 600+ employees. I also administer the employee recognition program and contribute to customer communications. I’m back-up for the railroad’s charitable giving program and media relations. On the regulatory side, I help ARRC meet agency requirements through capital project public involvement, public information, and filling incident command / crisis communications roles.

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Education:

Bachelor of Science degree in business / accounting from the University of the State of New York. Associate’s degree in public affairs from the Community College of the Air Force.

How does membership in PRSA assist you?

My professional road has taken a few hairpin turns based on accidental connections. In college, I made an about-face on electrical engineering aspirations when a family connection spurred me to join the military.  I soon found myself in San Antonio, Texas, where Air Force recruits undergo Basic Training. Based on a typing test (seriously!), my career path pivoted to military journalism and public affairs, and I wound up in Alaska!  After 8 years of service, military connections led to the nonprofit sector, and in turn, to the railroad, where I’ve ripened on the corporate PR vine for nearly 20 years (with a short detour into health care).

I’ve been involved with PRSA on and off. In hindsight, I wish I’d been a member more of those years, as I’ve found professional connections tend to be less accidental and more beneficial within PRSA. In addition to fostering PR friendships and a support network, PRSA membership offers fantastic development resources that help us to generate ideas and polish our work. These benefits are valuable at any stage of one’s career.

PRSA Alaska Volunteering

Having rejoined PRSA in 2017, I quickly seized upon a volunteer opportunity perfect for me – editing a fairly new chapter monthly electronic bulletin. This continues a calling to produce periodicals (or blogs) for just about every organization I’ve served, whether as staff or volunteer. The PRSA Alaska Communicator e-news channel falls under the chapter’s publicity committee, and that’s how I eventually became the committee’s chair. For 2021, I happily share the co-chair role with the talented Katie Dougherty.

That’s the thing about PRSA ꟷ it offers a wide variety of give-and-grow opportunities. So much so, that any member can find ways to volunteer that match their interests and availability.