Alaska Values: We Believe We Have a Responsibility to Each Other
There is a welcome trend in modern American business to focus on both making a profit and on making our world better. This is often referred to as being a good corporate citizen. It’s also very good business, and some of our nation’s largest corporations are routinely ranked among the world’s most ethical companies. 3M, with $35 billion in annual revenues, has been listed a most ethical company 10 years in a row. Manufacturer of giant engines Cummins has been ranked 16 times, Dell computers 11 times, GM and Apple and John Deere are all multiple honorees.
So, whereas in the 19th century, big-city companies had no qualms about dumping toxic waste into rivers or treating workers as replaceable units, here in Alaska, oil producers and mines conduct extremely effective resource development while also holding what may be the best record of environmental protection in the world, and employers across industries prioritize safety, career development and quality of life.
Then again, Alaskans have always been different.
We have been valuing our world and our fellow Alaskans for many thousands of years. Yuit Account Coordinator Nilson Mixooke tells us, “The Native way of life is to focus on your community, then your family, then last, yourself.”
Yuit Communications was founded with a similar sense of wanting to go beyond our profit-and-loss statements and create a company that is more like family, both in the way we treat our staff and in the strong bonds of partnership we form with clients. But it also means looking for other, altruistic ways we can contribute to our larger community, to use our strengths to help people we don’t know or even have contact with.
Yuit is a communications firm, so that’s how we help.
If we were a farm, we would donate food, or if we were a dental clinic, free dentistry. But Yuit is a communications firm, so that’s how we help. We donate free or reduced-cost design, writing and public relations services to organizations that do work we value, including fighting cancer, improving education, achieving social equity and supporting victims of abuse. Most often, the communications work we do for these groups is used for fundraising, to raise public awareness of the services they offer or publicize the organization’s messaging.
In some cases, our partners also donate their leadership and communications expertise. Grant Johnston served on the board of the American Cancer Society for years, and Mariajose Echeverria serves on the board of Standing Together Against Rape (STAR). Ingrid Klinkhart serves on the Board of Directors for Providence Alaska Foundation and served two three-year terms on the Board of Directors for the Anchorage Museum. She also volunteered for the Alaska Ski for Women. Michael Stewart participates in the Alaska Literacy Program each year and volunteered for several years as a snowboarding coach for the Special Olympics.
The agency also produces communications products for STAR and purchases a large table at the annual fundraising event, the STAR GALA.
Our unified purpose and concern for fellow Alaskans
Virtually all members of team Yuit are similarly engaged in this sense of responsibility to others, both spending their professional time helping and also their personal time, which we occasionally express through symbolic acts to show our unified purpose and concern for our fellow Alaskans, such as wearing teal to show support for survivors of abuse and denim to raise awareness of sexual abuse.
These are small acts, yet they serve as a call-out to encourage all Alaskans to remember our heritage of strong community and, hopefully, inspire other companies to use their own particular strengths for the benefit of others.