After 10 years at KUAC, Corporate Support Manager Donna Olesen has retired. Raised in Fairbanks, Donna remembers when KUAC FM went on the air in 1962 and has been passionate about public broadcasting ever since.
She had volunteered to help KUAC during fundraising events for years before joining the staff in March 2010 as donor relations coordinator. A few years later, she became a corporate support manager, helping businesses and organizations plan and prepare underwriting messages for KUAC FM and TV.
“Because KUAC is so important to me and the community, it has been rewarding to be able to interact with the community and say the words of our mission statement in just about every conversation,” she said. “I tell our supporters thanks for making it possible for us to tell stories that would otherwise go untold. I don’t know many jobs where you get to mention the mission statement all the time. Sharing the word about KUAC makes me feel accomplished.”
Some of Donna’s favorite memories at KUAC have been the variety of events she has helped with, from the Red Green Regattas to meeting NPR personalities Paula Poundstone, Peter Sagal and Shankar Vedantam and PBS’s Daniel Tiger.
In her years of customer service, Donna came to realize how wonderfully loyal the people who listen to and watch KUAC are. “They’re awesome,” she said. “I feel so lucky to have had this job.”
She also learned that she’s a philanthropist, as are all who give to nonprofits. “You don’t have to be named Carnegie or Rockefeller to donate,” Donna said.
Prior to KUAC, Donna’s jobs involved delivering mail, harvesting potatoes, taking meals to smokejumpers, arranging flowers and expediting for an adventure company. “The common denominator has been the people. When you work with good people it makes all the difference.”
Donna plans to spend more time with her mother and grandchildren, knit, garden and travel. She also promises to volunteer with KUAC at the spring and fall fundraising events.