Alaska Public Media launches mentorship program with Tom Case Leadership Fellows
by Mariah Oxford |
UAA’s Tom Case Leadership Fellows (TCLF) program pairs participants with local business leaders for a year-long mentorship. This year, the program added an additional component: mentorship from Alaska Public Media’s (APM) nonprofit board of directors.
As a TV, radio and news leader, Alaska Public Media and its affiliates deliver content that reaches 97% of the state’s population. In 2022 its board of directors and TCLF program leadership worked together to launch a mentorship program to engage students and young adults in nonprofit board governance and help them understand the organization’s role in the community.
APM’s board acts in a governance capacity, overseeing organization management, finances and strategic direction. TCLF participants have been observing monthly board meetings and participating in one or more of the board’s six committees. Participants learn what the job entails, what the time commitment is, how board members derive satisfaction from their service and some of the projects that are important to the board.
“We want to inspire students to be involved with our board or another non-profit board as part of their education,” said Deborah O’Leary, APM board secretary.
TCLF participant Andy Palomares plans to graduate in 2024 with a B.B.A. in management with a concentration in property management and real estate. He is a non-traditional college student with a big family and a lot of life experiences. Still, he’s already learned a lot from the mentorship.
“I didn't realize everything that went on behind the scenes in an organization like Alaska Public Media. There are a lot of people working together to get the best product out there for all viewers in Alaska,” said Palomares.
“Serving on the board of directors of a nonprofit that you admire is one of the most rewarding and valuable decisions,” O’Leary said. “When you serve on the board, you have the honor, challenge and responsibility of understanding how everything needs to work together for an organization to accomplish its goals.” Dedicated board members are eager to participate in meetings, serve on committees and strive to learn as much as possible.
That outlook is familiar to Palomares.
“Like most things in life, you get what you give,” he said. “The more active, vocal and willing you are, the more in return you'll receive. The Tom Case Leadership Fellow program attracted me because it seemed like something that could help me fine-tune my leadership, networking and organizational skills. Attending Alaska Public Media board meetings has allowed me to see the importance of being a part of a committee that has an impact on the community. I plan to one day join a similar board. In the meantime, I take away what I can and apply it to my other work in teams and clubs.”
That’s exactly the outcome envisioned by Julie Wrigley, professor of management and director of the TCLF program, when she sought the partnership. Wrigley is a community member on the board’s audit committee.
"One of the goals of the Tom Case Leadership Fellows program is to help students bridge the gap between the academic study of business and what implementation looks like in real life,” she said. Alaska Public Media is a high-functioning board and our goals are intertwined.”
The collaboration between APM and TCLF will continue next year. Application to the TCLF program is open to graduate and senior level students in the College of Business and Public Policy until March 31, 2023.