Energizing Alaska’s Young Professionals
“The face of Anchorage is changing,” says Liz Posey, president of the Anchorage Urban League Young Professionals. Nearly 120 languages are spoken in the Anchorage School District. Diverse cultures–including Hmong, Lao, Samoan, Tongan, Dominican, African American, Alaska Native, and Sudanese–continue to grow in representation as word of the city’s acceptance and opportunity gets out.
The Anchorage Urban League Young Professionals is capitalizing on this emerging mosaic. Officially 80 members strong, the group aspires to create leaders, share resources, build cross-ethnic relationships, and establish diverse representation in local schools, government offices, and the justice system. In 2007, Posey organized the Anchorage chapter, the first multiethnic charter in the nation, to provide a reliable resource targeting young professionals of color in Anchorage looking to make connections, gain training, and address community needs.
“We inspire underrepresented communities to consciously contribute to how their families, schools, neighborhoods, city, and state are governed,” says Posey. “The connections and relationships we’ve established continue to grow. There is an awakening happening with youth in Alaska.”
Last year, the Urban League Young Professionals joined forces with the Hip-Hop Association, the Global Block Foundation, and the Anchorage League of Women Voters to conduct political literacy seminars, voter registration drives, and youth outreach programs as part of a civic engagement project called OurTime 2008. Megan McBride BA ’07 and Madelyn Troiano CAS ’12 also took part in the effort. OurTime was highly successful and ended up reaching 10,000 young people.
Posey, who was president of the Black Student Union while at Lewis & Clark, traveled internationally after graduation, then went home to her beloved Anchorage. Her father, Jim Posey, fell in love with Alaska as a boy while reading National Geographic in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas.
In addition to her work with the Urban League, Posey has launched her own consulting firm, Gro::Tuit. She recently built a campaign and database for Best Beginnings, a public-private partnership that mobilizes people and resources to ensure all Alaskan children begin school ready to read and succeed. She also serves as vice chair of the Health & Human Services Commission for the Municipality of Anchorage.
While she loves her homeland, she also has her sights set on local strategic planning, community engagement, and global networking.
“My goal in the next year or two is to travel to Liberia and South Africa,” says Posey, who was inspired by a personal dialogue she had two years ago with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first female president of Liberia. “She inspired me to continue the work I am doing, to make connections, to establish models that work, and to share resources across boundaries.”
–by Pattie Pace