Alaska Leaders: Celebrating Women at the Helm of Alaska’s Future | International Women’s Day Panel

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Date(s) - Friday, March 8, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Bear Tooth Theatre


Join Alaska World Affairs Council in honoring and celebrating the women leaders in our community.

Panelists include: Janet Weiss, President of BP Alaska, Sophie Minich, President & CEO CIRI,  Diane Kaplan, President and CEO of Rasmuson Foundation, & Col. Patricia Csànk, Commander, JBER and the 673rd Air Base Wing, Alaska

Diane Kaplan, President & CEO Rasmuson Foundation

Diane Kaplan became president and chief executive officer of Rasmuson Foundation, based in Anchorage, Alaska in 2001. She served as the first employee and administrator of the Foundation for six years prior to assuming the presidency.

Before joining the Foundation, Kaplan provided consulting services for philanthropic organizations, Native corporations and tribes, and broadcast nonprofit organizations. Prior to that, she served as chief executive officer of Alaska’s 28-station public radio network.

Kaplan earned a degree in communications and women’s studies from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude.

Kaplan is a member of the boards of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, The Alaska Community Foundation, United States Artists and The Foraker Group. She serves on the President’s Council of the ArtPlace national funding collaborative. She is also a member of the Philanthropy Northwest Honorary Council and the Anchorage Rotary Club.

Kaplan’s community contributions have been recognized by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Athena Society, Alaska Public Radio Network, Alaska Broadcasters Association, and YWCA. In 2013, Kaplan received the First Alaskans Institute Ted Stevens Award. She was named the Council on Foundations Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year in 2007 and in 2006 received the Alaska Federation of Natives’ prestigious Denali Award which recognizes a non-Native individual who has contributed to the growth and development of the Alaska Native community’s culture, economy and health. She was recognized with the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (N.O.B.E.L. Women) Shining Star Award in 2010.

Sophie Minich, President & CEO CIRI

Sophie Minich became CIRI’s president and chief executive officer in January 2013. As CIRI president and CEO, Minich is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s corporate strategies, programs, policies and procedures. She oversees all the company’s business operations and is the primary contact with the company’s stakeholders.

Minich is Athabascan and a CIRI and Doyon shareholder who grew up in Seward, Alaska. She joined CIRI in 1993 and has served as chief operating officer, senior vice president of business development, chief financial officer, vice president of administration and director of accounting.

Minich sits on the board of directors for the Seattle Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and serves as a trustee of Alaska Regional Hospital and the CIRI Elders’ Settlement Trust. In addition, she serves on the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board and on the Anchorage Homelessness Leadership Council. Minich is a former director and former chair of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors.

Minich chaired the 2010 United Way of Anchorage community giving campaign. She was inducted into the Anchorage Athena Society in 2008,  is a 2011 YWCA Women of Achievement Award recipient and the recipient of the 2013 UAA Alumni of Achievement Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage.


Janet Weiss, President of BP Alaska 

Janet Weiss was named president of BP Alaska in 2013. As president she is responsible for BP’s oil and gas development and production activities in Alaska, as well as its interests in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and involvement progressing an Alaska LNG project. During her 33-year career, she’s held various engineering and leadership positions in Alaska, North America Gas, global roles, and assignments such as vice president Gulf of Mexico Shelf and vice president Western Wyoming. Previous to her current role, Janet served as vice president reservoir development for BP Alaska. Janet started her career in Alaska as a process engineer then moved into reservoir engineering. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Oklahoma State University (OSU). In 2014 she was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology hall of fame. Janet serves on the BP America Inc. Board of Directors. She is on the board of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and serves on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor’s Board of Advisors. In 2017 she was named to the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team by Alaska Governor Bill Walker. She is a member of the board of directors for both United Way and Covenant House Alaska. She is married to Troy and has two adult children, Jessica and Stormy and is a grandmother to Juliet.

Col. Patricia Csànk, Commander, JBER and the 673rd Air Base Wing, Alaska

Colonel Patricia A. Csànk is currently assigned as the Commander, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) and the 673d Air Base Wing, JBER, Alaska. The 673d ABW consists of four groups operating and maintaining the joint base for air sovereignty, combat training, force staging and throughput operations in support of worldwide contingencies. The installation hosts the headquarters for the U.S. Alaskan Command, Eleventh Air Force, U.S. Army Alaska and the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region. The 673d ABW comprises over 5,500 joint military and civilian personnel, supporting America’s Arctic Warriors and their families. The wing supports and enables three AF total-force wings, an Army Brigade and 55 other major mission partners. In addition, the wing provides medical care to over 35,000 joint service members, dependents, VA patients and retirees throughout Alaska. The 673d ABW maintains $11.4B in infrastructure encompassing 79,000 acres, ensuring JBER remains America’s premier strategic power projection platform.

Colonel Csànk was commissioned in 1997 from Boston University’s ROTC program and began her Air Force career as a logistician at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. Her past assignments include deployments supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, and various operational and staff positions from squadron to Headquarters Air Force and Joint Staff.


Program Details
  • Check-in will begin at 11:00am with seating available on a first-come first-serve basis. The program will begin at 12:00pm.
  • Those with online reservations do not need to present ticket confirmation at the door, we will have all confirmed attendees on a list at check-in.
  • Lunch at this program will be available for individual order and purchase from Bear Tooth Theatre you wish to do so, plan on arriving early to ensure you receive your meal by the end of the program.
  • Online registration will close at midnight March 7, 2019 at midnight. Remaining tickets will be available for purchase the day of the program at the door from 11:00am.



High school and full-time college students who register in advance receive complimentary admission and a voucher for a lunch pizza buffet, thanks to the generous support of BP

Get Tickets

Ticket Type Price Spaces
General Admission 3/8
General admission. Does not include lunch.
Board Member Admission 3/8
Admission for current board members of the Alaska World Affairs Council. Does not include lunch.
Members Admission 3/8
Admission for current members of the Alaska World Affairs Council. Does not include lunch.
Ambassador Member Admission 3/8
For current Ambassador level members ($1000+/year) of the Alaska World Affairs Council and their complimentary guest. Does not include food.
Board Guest Admission 3/8
For non-member guests of current Board members, registration must be submitted by hosting Board Member. Does not include lunch.
Punchcard Admission 3/8
For current punchcard holders only. Must present punchcard at check-in. Does not include food.
Student Admission 3/8
For current full-time students with valid ID. Includes voucher for lunch. Thank you BP!