An Interview with Kelsi Ivanoff, Business Development and Marketing Coordinator for NANA WorleyParsons

This is part of a series. Communications intern Kally Greene-Gudmundson interviews former interns who are current employees.

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Meet Kelsi Ivanoff, business development and marketing coordinator at NANA WorleyParsons.

What is your Iñupiaq name?

I have two – Kasaŋnaaluk, after my Aana Marie, and Abuzanaq, after my Grandma Abuz.

What is your position?

I’m the business development and marketing coordinator.

How many years have you been with NANA? Have you had other jobs within the corporation?

I have been working for NANA WorleyParsons for a year and a half at the Dimond Mall location. Before that, I was with Kisaq, a construction management company owned by Akima, for a year. I interned for one summer with DOWL HKM, when it was owned by NANA.

What are your main job responsibilities?

I handle our company’s marketing, which includes anything from overseeing use of our brand to advertising to creating marketing materials. I also support business development, coordinating proposal efforts and representing NANA WorleyParsons at conferences and events.

Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Unalakleet, where my dad, Steve Ivanoff, is from. My mom, Zoe Ivanoff, was originally from Kotzebue, and her mother, Marie Greene, from Deering.  

What is your first memory of NANA and of being a NANA shareholder?

My first AFN Convention. I remember being confused as to why my grandparents and parents were sitting apart from each other in the audience, and being explained the difference between NANA and Bering Straits, since I am a shareholder of both.

What do people ask when they find out you are from Unalakleet?

First thing they always ask is where it is. Luckily I have a tattoo on my hand that shows where it is when you do that Alaska sign with your hand. (Your pointer finger is the Aleutians, your thumb is south east and your knuckles are the northwest.) If they know Alaska, the first question is usually what my last name is or who my parents are.

Where did you study or train?

I first studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After three years, I transferred to Portland State University, where I got a Bachelor of Science in community development with emphasis in communication.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a community observer for the World Wildlife Fund and Native Village of Unalakleet. It’s what got me interested in marine biology, before I became interested in engineering.

Who has inspired you?

My aana. She has worked so hard to get where she is and has been completely selfless all the way.

What is your favorite memory of this person?

Where to start?! Besides of course the wonderful memories she’s given me as a grandmother and having the chance to listen to her speeches over her career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel with her for Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), both to New York City for the United Nations Indigenous People’s Conference and to Inuvik, NWT, Canada, for the ICC General Assembly. I’ve felt completely fortunate to be able to work with and learn from her. These trips not only allowed for us to work together in a professional setting, but to bond as grandmother and granddaughter in new places.

Tell us about someone who has inspired you to work at NANA.

Probably my aunt, Zara (Greene) Ivanoff, who used to intern. Hearing her talk about the program and her experience seemed really cool.

What has surprised you most about working at NANA?

Seeing how many shareholders are hired. I’ve always known the statistics, but actually seeing it, and people you know, is eye-opening and makes me appreciative.

What is the best thing that has happened to you since you started working with NANA?

Being able to move down to Carlsbad, CA was really cool! Alaska will always be home though.

What are important lessons that you have learned?

You should care about what you do, care about your work, but not too much. You can’t let it consume your life, five or six o’clock comes around, you should be off work. Manage your time well and you will succeed.

What do you like best about your job?

I like working with such a large array of people, different personalities, different jobs—it’s all different internal and external.

What are your strongest beliefs about what you do? What do you hope to achieve?

Though it may not be direct, I feel I am working, not only for our shareholders, but also our state. As everyone knows, the oil industry isn’t doing well, yet we have worked hard to be a top competitor in the industry and to continue making profits for our corporation.

What advice do you have for younger shareholders?

Change is okay. For example, if you’re going to college and decide to change your major, even if years into it, because you’re not sure that’s what you want to do anymore, that’s completely fine. Time invested is not time lost. Nothing is unattainable.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

A lot of people I’ve met are pretty surprised to hear that I’m an avid hunter and have commercial fished. In my younger years, my dad was a stay-at-home dad. He wasn’t about to be stuck at home with his little girl, so why not take me and teach me right?! I was lucky that was his mentality and to this day go home to hunt (moose and bird hunting being my favorites).

What do you want people to know about NANA?

NANA is a growing company that will have ups and downs, just like any other major company. NANA really does want to have a majority of shareholder hires. NANA cares.

What is the best news you’ve heard lately?

Conoco Phillips got first oil to two new drill sites last month. Alaska’s oil fields are still growing and both sites were designed by NANA WorleyParsons. 

“NANA will improve the quality of life for our people”

NANA internships give students the opportunity to:

  • Gain valuable applied experience.
  • Promote personal development.
  • Develop interpersonal and professional skills.

For more information visit the shareholder employment & development page.