Meet the Partnership

The Sustainable Southeast Partnership is a unique kind of collaboration. Our staff are shared with a variety of community and regional ‘host’ organizations that offer unique perspectives and diverse insight into sustainable community development. By collaborating in this manner, we are able to combine resources and work together to empower Southeast Alaskan communities to be sustainable, prosperous and resilient.

Want to learn more? Contact us at or zoom down below to learn more about the people powering our different communities and focus areas and contact the appropriate person directly.

Program Director: Alana Peterson

Alana’s Tlingit name is Gah Kith Tin, from Diginaa Hit, Luknahadi, Raven; granddaughter of Kin Toow, Cecilia Kunz; a child of the Wooshketaan, Eagle moiety, and daughter of Reginald Peterson Sr. and Gail Johansen Peterson. She grew up in Sitka, a small island community in Southeast Alaska. Professionally, Alana earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration at Charleston Southern University. After graduating from college she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a Small Business Development volunteer for two years on the southern coast of Peru. She obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University. She has continued to work in economic development in her current role as economic development coordinator for Sealaska Haa Aani, LLC.


Klawock Community Catalyst: Quinn Aboudara

My name is Quinn Mas-Aboudara, I’ve been a lifelong resident of Prince of Wales Island.  I have stepped foot on six out of seven continents, and something always brings me home. I grew up in the communities of Craig and Klawock as well as Saxman, the forests, rivers, and beaches of these communities were always my playground and still are.  My summers were spent practicing subsistence harvesting, my winters I enjoyed the benefits of a productive summer with my family. As the Klawock Community Catalyst with the Klawock Cooperative Association, I am extremely excited to be here to help the communities that I grew up in. One of my main focuses is to preserve and protect the subsistence lifestyle that I grew up with, and instill a sense of stewardship for the land in the hearts of the local youth.


Regional Sustainability Catalyst: Aaron Ferguson

Aaron Ferguson is the Regional Sustainability Catalyst and is hosted at Spruce Root Community Development. In this role, Aaron works with SSP on business model development and implementation. After growing up in East Asia, Aaron earned a degree from the University of Washington in Geography with a concentration in International Development, spending a year in Sichuan, China, to complete a public health research project. Aaron has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies around the U.S. and earned a Masters of Public Administration with concentrations in Strategic Planning and Environmental Policy, also from the University of Washington. He lives in Juneau and enjoys SE’s mountains, forests, water, culture, and pace of life.


Food Security Catalyst: Lia Heifetz

Lia Heifetz is the Food Sustainability Regional Catalyst for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. She was born and raised in Juneau, received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon, and quickly returned to her hometown where she enjoys skiing, hiking, kayaking, photography and growing, harvesting and cooking food. She runs a small business, Grow Southeast  that works to increase local food production, processing, distribution and consumption in order to create resilient integrated local food systems and to empower Southeast communities. She is hosted with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition.


Hydaburg Community Catalyst: Dorinda ‘Emmy’ Sanderson

Dorinda is Haida, born and raised in Hydaburg. Dorinda is of the Eagle, Sculpin, Frog Clan, is the mother of three sons, and Naana (grandmother) to three amazing grandchildren.  Dorinda currently works for the Hydaburg Cooperative Association (Tribe) and works on several projects which include Data Entry for the HCA Wolf Project, Data Entry for the HCA Stream Mapping project, and works part time on HCA Native American Grave Proteciton and Repatriation Act program, she has been with the tribe for eight years. Before working at HCA, she worked for OVK (Kasaan) as the Environmental Director. Dorinda also worked as Manager of the Boys and Girls Club of Hydaburg for nine years. Hydaburg is a fishing community, and throughout the years the fishermen have faced hardships and struggled to keep fishing. As Community Catalyst Dorinda’s focus and goal is to help the people of Hydaburg develop their capacity to become self economically sustainable.


Local Business Catalyst: Paul Hackenmueller

Paul Hackenmueller is the Regional Catalyst for Economic Development and serves as Economic Development Coordinator with Sealaska Haa Aaní, LLC. After growing up in Anchorage, Paul earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University before heading to Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer to teach high school math in a village in central Ghana.  His continued interest in economic development prompted him to get a M.A. in Economics from Boston University before returning to Alaska.  As Regional Catalyst for Economic Development he works with SSP community catalysts to identify and implement business and community development projects and help build capacity within SSP communities. Paul lives in Juneau and in his free time enjoys hiking, running, skiing and climbing with his wife and baby daughter.


Energy Security: Shaina Kilcoyne

Shaina believes that Alaskans have a unique opportunity to create sustainable and resilient communities by increasing clean, local energy generation and using every BTU as efficiently as possible. As the Energy Efficiency Director for Renewable Energy Alaska Project, Shaina focuses on building energy efficiency and conservation. By decreasing the dollars that leave our communities to pay for liquid fuel for heat, electricity and transportation, we can keep more money circulating in our local economies. Shaina lives in Anchorage with her husband where they enjoy fishing, backpacking, biking and gardening.


Sitka Community Catalyst: Chandler O’Connell

Chandler O’Connell is a born and raised Sitkan, and is thrilled to be home and working to support innovative projects with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership and the Sitka Conservation Society. Chandler graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Human Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Health Policy. Following graduation, she worked on various initiatives in Sitka and San Francisco, before moving to Burundi as a Global Health Corps Fellow to work for the Clinton Health Access Initiative. At the end of her fellowship year, she had fallen in love with East Africa, and moved to Rwanda to work with One Acre Fund, a fast growing social enterprise serving small-scale farmers. Five years later, humbled and grateful for the experiences she had in Rwanda, Chandler headed home. She is overjoyed to be back in Southeast Alaska, and hopes to contribute to the effort to build a healthy, vibrant, just and sustainable future for the region.


Community Forestry + Fisheries: Bob Christensen

I work with the SSP on community-based natural resource projects that integrate social, ecological and economic values because I believe that ecological resilience and community vitality are interdependent. I appreciate the opportunity to work with community catalysts on their local priorities and with my fellow regional catalysts on finding synergies between our often siloed disciplines. I am the executive director of SEAWEAD, a non-profit based in Icy Strait that has been working to facilitate collaborative stewardship at home and abroad for about 20 years. I am proud to serve on the Leadership Team of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition so that I can learn from colleagues in my field, and share the lessons we have learned in southeast Alaska with a broader network of practitioners. I work in the SSP with the support of the Nature Conservancy in Alaska and their excellent staff. I live on Lemesurier Island, near Glacier Bay, Alaska and have been working as an environmental consultant in Southeast Alaska for about 20 years. I love to hunt, fish, kayak, hike and hangout with my family and friends.


Communications Director: Bethany Sonsini Goodrich

I hold a Masters of Science in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and a Bachelors degree in Biology and Fine Arts from the University of San Francisco. I learned the value and skill of photography through trial and error and a life-long apprenticeship under my mother. I am particularly interested in participatory projects and visual storytelling efforts that empower communities and inspire positive social change.  I run my own storytelling business, freelance. I also create art and like to cook, eat, dance, and walk long distances into the wilderness with a heavy backpack on. Check out my personal website for a full portfolio.



Yakutat Community Catalyst: Ralph Wolfe

My name is Ralph Wolfe I am the Community Catalyst in Yakutat. I am also an employee of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe and am the Tribal Transportation Director. I am a lifelong Alaskan, born and raised in Craig, on Prince of Wales Island. I left Alaska to pursue my education but always ended up back in my home state. I know now that I will be spending my life here.
I moved to Yakutat 5 years ago and have been enjoying my time exploring where my wife grew up and where we plan to raise our kids. It has given me the inspiration to help in any way possible to make this community prosper for many years to come. I am excited to be working on a couple of the major issues within the community including our housing shortage and lack of high-speed internet. Both challenges are not unique to Yakutat, so I hope this work will also help inform other SSP communities as well.


Hoonah Community Catalyst: Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson is the Community Catalyst in Hoonah, Alaska. He also serves as the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) Environmental Coordinator.  Ian was born and raised in small town Minnesota, completed his undergrad in Biology along the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin, and then took a job working for a non-profit wildlife research organization, Biodiversity Research Institute, in Maine. In 2015, Ian graduated with his masters in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His thesis took an interdisciplinary approach to research subsistence access to moose and wolf movements in the Yukon Flats. In Hoonah, Ian is coordinating crews, data, and the diverse partners for the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership. He will also be developing the HIA environmental program to enhance capacity in the community and improve on energy and food issues. Ian is an avid photographer with website (, a fiddler-guitarist-singer, and an outdoors-man. He hopes to meet you in his office, via email (, on the water with a rod in his hand, or in the field during deer season!


Kake Community Catalyst: Loretta Gregory

Loretta Gregory spent most of her life in the beautiful remote Tlingit community of Kake, Alaska. She is the Community Economic Development Specialist with the Organized Village of Kake. She enjoyed working with Moby the Mobile Greenhouse project while it visited Kake in the spring of 2016.


Workforce Development: Stephen SueWing

I arrived in Southeast Alaska in 1999 after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University. I have lived briefly in Haines, then Skagway, Juneau, and spent a winter in Aniak. I currently live in Juneau with my partner and our two sons. I have worked in aviation, education, visitor industry, and State government for the past eight and a half years. Previous to my current role as forestry workforce development catalyst in the Tongass National Forest I was the statewide coordinator for the Alaska Regional Development Organization program. I am a serial volunteer for local, regional, and statewide issues for family, education, and community issues. My life passions are human potential, capital, and community development. Employment opportunities are imperative to community viability, sustainability, and growth. I believe positive and productive community, regional, and statewide relationships are the keys to addressing the challenges of the region.


Local Foods Coordinator: Colin Peacock

Colin spent most of his youth camping and exploring the American west but Tucson, Arizona was his home. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 2003 with an Associates Chef’s degree. After 5 years promoting the use of local and sustainable food in kitchens, he went on to lead conservation biology field programs in places such as Namibia and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from Clark University in 2011. After graduating, colin used his marketing and photojournalism skills to help sustainable development projects, local food organizations, and non-profits achieve greater results through media and marketing. Culminating in 2016, where he launched a sustainable development company of his own in the rural high plains of Peru, Kai Pacha Foods. Through all of his travels, Colin has always heard the call of glaciers and salmon. It was with great joy that he found his way to the lush rainforests and rich coastal areas of the Alaskan Southeast. To him, there is nothing finer than doing good work that benefits local people, the environment, and food. It is an especially large honor to do so in such a wild, intact, and incredible community and place like Southeast Alaska.


Kake Community Catalyst: Russell James

The Organized Village of Kake welcomes Russell James home to become the new Community Catalyst. He is currently working on developing a tannery in Kake to help control sea otter populations while creating business opportunity for locals. He is also working with community partners on Kake’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and is happy to be back in Kake surrounded by familiar shores, forests, rivers and neighbors. Welcome to SSP and welcome home Russell!

Kasaan Community Catalyst: Terry West

I am presently the Economic Development Director of the Organized Village of Kasaan. Before that, I worked for City of Kasaan and  was responsible for managing grants, treasurer duties, clerk duties and eventually all administrative duties. Some of the things that I enjoy with my family are  hiking, camping, fishing and gardening.
I  have a passion for our community and would love to see more affordable housing units available. I also want to help implement a plan that would make the tribe more self-sustainable. I look forward to collaborating with others and will enjoy the process of their projects becoming a reality. 

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