As part of Alaska Native Corporation Sealaska, Woocheen’s profits serve a special and important purpose: to lift people, keep Indigenous culture vital and create stability for future generations.
Our approach to shareholder development focuses on each stage of life.
Sealaska’s goal is to create opportunities, programs and partnerships for the benefit of Sealaska shareholders and descendants at each step of their life path and in diverse fields. These opportunities extend to shareholders across the United States and beyond, all while facilitating authentic conversations around Alaska Native identity and respecting diversity, which supports an inclusive and safe atmosphere for learning and growth.
Shareholder development starts with youth, focusing on early education. We then follow along with them as they take the next steps in post-secondary education and then, career development. Ultimately, the focus is on supporting emerging leaders who then serve as mentors for the next generation.
A multi-semester Natural Resources & Mariculture Curriculum is currently being delivered to the Klawock High School Science Class under an elective connected to Marine Biology. Under this particular elective module, students from the class are crafting a 3-D model of an island and smaller surrounding islands in which they get to plan everything: Where are the communities? Where are the roads? What are the main aspects of commerce and trade? Students decide it all as a team and explain their reasoning to the science teacher. As the 3-D model is crafted over time, plans are to document it through photography and other means.
Through Sealaska’s sponsorship of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) Middle School Academy, students from Southeast Alaska spend 12 days at the University of Alaska. During this time, they build their own desktop computers, work on a balsa-wood bridge to learn about earthquake engineering, learn about energy-efficient construction, and engage in many other hands-on projects. The idea is to introduce Alaska Native youth to real-world STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects. This can spark an early interest in related careers and college in general. Each academy hosts about 50 students from across Alaska, and students work in teams on all the activities. In addition to sponsoring, Sealaska assists with targeted outreach to students in Southeast Alaska. Attendance is free for students.
Sealaska works with its businesses and partners to make nearly three dozen internship opportunities available to college students. In addition to positions in Woocheen companies, students have the opportunity to work with The Nature Conservancy, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, McKinley Management, Barnacle Foods, Spruce Root, Tlingit & Haida, Alaska Permanent Capital Management, and Sealaska Heritage Institute.
Sealaska provides funding for the Prince of Wales Island VOCTEC center, which offers training and instruction in a variety of locally relevant fields through weeklong Resource Academies. Areas of focus include forestry, wetlands delineation, and stream hydrology, rehabilitation and restoration.
Tesla Cox, Senior Director of Shareholder Development
As senior director of shareholder development, Tesla (Keil'Teen) Cox brings a history of building connections and forming partnerships with Alaska Native tribal members and community partners throughout Southeast Alaska. Tesla’s passion for matching people with opportunities for success drives her work as a community-focused bridge builder.