Although Millie Johnson joined Chugach Alaska Corporation (Chugach) 12 years ago, the company has been a part of her life for much longer.
“I grew up with and have family and heritage ties to Chugach Alaska Corporation (Chugach),” explains Johnson. “I am an Aleut from the Prince William Sound and Unga, Alaska. I am an original Chugach shareholder and my ancestors have lived on the lands for thousands of years.”
So it was only natural that Johnson’s career path led her to Chugach. Originally hired as a Shareholder Employment Coordinator in 2001, she was promoted to Vice President of Shareholder Development in 2005. The position allows her to be involved with Chugach’s unique shareholder employment, scholarship, training and mentorship programs that provide stability and growth to more than 2,500 fellow Chugach shareholders and descendants.
“The impact Chugach continues to have on our shareholders and descendants through scholarships to continue their education goals in college, vocational training, as well as the intern and apprentice opportunities, is an amazing part of our organization,” she says. “We are growing our current and next generation of shareholders in leadership roles through education, and the added benefit of on-the-job training is exceptional.”
From establishing and mentoring shareholder intern and apprentice positions to facilitating training opportunities such as the Training without Walls (TWOW) company mentorship program, Johnson is proud of to play a role in promoting the development of Alaska Native professionals. In 2012 Chugach funded a total of $808,000 in shareholder scholarships, contributed $372,000 towards shareholder intern and apprenticeship positions, and provided overall benefits to shareholders and their descendants totaling more than $12 million.
In her role Johnson also collaborates with like-minded community organizations to promote educational opportunities for shareholders. This year Chugach partnered with Alaska Pacific University (APU) to create an Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program (ANELP). The program is designed to meet the specific needs of Alaska Native Corporations (ANC) by providing future executives with foundational knowledge to excel in today’s competitive business environment.
“I love helping our shareholders, descendants and spouses of shareholders with their career and educational goal to become leaders both within and outside of the organization.”
Beyond the varied meaningful projects, it’s the people at Chugach who make the work environment so appealing. “We are one big family we pull together and help each other when we need it the most,” she adds. “It’s an honor to work with such incredible people that help move our company to the next step of greatness, which in turn continues to help give our shareholder and descendants the opportunity receive funding for school, training and employment.”