our staff


(907) 274-3656  |  polly@akcenter.org

Polly has been working for social change in Alaska for twenty years. She has engaged in all aspects of our work, beginning as a Trailside Discovery Camp educator in 1997, helping teens launch our Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA) program in 1998, and volunteering on our election campaigns. She returned as our Executive Director in 2013 and has been leading our team in actualizing our vision of a just and sustainable Alaska for future generations. She served as Rural Deputy Director for the 2008 Begich Senate campaign and was a Program Officer for The Alaska Conservation Foundation from 2009-2013. She has been recognized with an Alaska Chamber of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 award, and the Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management Environmental Excellence award.

Polly has extensive political, fundraising, education, and community organizing experience and is passionate about working with young people, women, and individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. She serves on the Advisory Committee for the Municipality of Anchorage Climate Action Plan, volunteers with Alaska Women Ascend to elect progressive women from diverse communities, and as a mother of a spirited eight-year-old daughter, she is becoming engaged with efforts to support our public schools. She loves Sriracha, writing poetry, running uphill, and perusing restaurant menus.


(907) 274-3669 | vicki@akcenter.org

Victoria Long-Leather was born and raised in Felixstowe, England. She graduated from Birmingham University with a bachelor’s degree in Law with Criminology. Throughout her studies she had the opportunity to work at a Summer Camp in Minnesota. There, she fell in love with America and grew her passion for outdoor education. Victoria comes from a large family with 3 sisters and 4 brothers and camp became an extension of her family. She strongly believes camp brings community, learning, and play together in a safe environment where children and adults can step out of their comfort zone and be who they want to be. May 2017 Vicki moved to Alaska to step into the Trailside Discovery Director role, since taking on this role Trailside has enhanced its scholarship program, added a new location and streamlined the registration process. Vicki has aspirations to continue to grow the Trailside program and make it accessible to every 4-14 year old in Alaska. .


(907) 274-3662  | evan@akcenter.org

Evan began working with The Alaska Center as Digital Organizer in 2015. Their varied background in electoral organizing, issue advocacy, digital communications, and leadership development helped them pilot the organization’s civic engagement program and grow it into a department over the last 2 years with the addition of Youth Civic Engagement Coordinator,  Kengo Nagaoka to the team.

With a strong belief in the effectiveness of individual conversations in galvanizing action, Evan is committed to working alongside historically underrepresented communities in support of every Alaskans’ voice being heard. They are eager to work with community partners to help grow the culture of non-partisan voter engagement in Alaska, while working to increase our reach and see efforts to make Alaska the most engaged electorate in the country grow to scale.

A proud Anchorage urbanist, on the weekends they can often be found on a steep ascent in the Chugach or with a packraft on their back heading for the put-in.

Anne Hillman, AYEA PROGRAM Coordinator

(907) 274-3632  | anne@akcenter.org

Anne was one of those kids who liked playing with crawdads in the creek near her home in Missouri but wasn’t so sure about getting too close to cows. She joined the Earth Club in the seventh grade and spent the next decade focusing on school and environmental education projects. After serving in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, she returned to the US to study journalism then moved to rural Alaska to work in public radio. She covered everything from the fishing industry to criminal justice reform. Along the way she mentored journalists around the world, collaborated with community to create new types of news media, and tutored kids in everything from opinion writing to multiplying exponents.   

Now, she’s bringing her storytelling skills and passion for amplifying people who are often overlooked to AYEA, where she’s thrilled to support young people who are working to build healthier, more just communities.


(907) 793-8679| kengo@akcenter.org

Kengo was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. After graduating from the University of Denver with a bachelor’s in International Studies, he moved back to Alaska in July 2018 and joined The Alaska Center team as Youth Civic Engagement Coordinator. As a college student, Kengo was involved in his school’s student-led fossil fuel divestment campaign, where he built skills in campaign strategy and community organizing with the support of the Divestment Student Network. He spent the summer of 2016 as a fellow with the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, and soon after decided to return home to join a movement of Alaskans banding together to fight for environmental justice and sustainable communities.

Kengo is a graduate of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and is grateful to be able to work with the next generation of Alaskan leaders across the state. He hopes to equip young Alaskans with connections and skills to be informed voters and effective advocates for their communities.

Cindy Tapia Ruiz,
Trailside Discovery Camp Administrator & Program Coordinator


Cindy has a background in Education and Human Development and has worked with many afterschool programs and child care centers, most recently The Boys and Girls Club of Alaska. Originally from Mexico, Cindy moved to the US as a child and spent most of her adolescent years running wild on the beaches of the Kachemak Bay and climbing trees in Homer, AK. Initially pursuing a journalism career, Cindy spent some time in poverty-stricken areas of Mexico and realized that her passion lies in breaking down barriers to education and empowering youth. Cindy now spends her time working with organizations that share those same goals.


(907) 274-3677 | finance@akcenter.org

Grady Jenkins, Jr. has been active in the nonprofit sector for over 40 years, first volunteering with “Stepping Stones” a Program for children with special needs, in Oakland, CA. when he was 12 years old (yes, the 1970’s, bellbottoms and ALL!). Grady eventually graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Recreation Administration, with an emphasis in working with special populations, after running Project REACH, a Recreation Program that “mainstreams” children with and without developmental disabilities, which is still in existence 32-years later. After moving to Seattle in 1992, Grady worked for 15 years on the Knowledge Management Solutions team at Verizon Wireless, focusing on a variety of financial responsibilities including Reporting and Analysis, Budget development, and Database development, and also in Human Resources, managing all aspects of employee engagement. Grady has also been a member of a variety of Alaskan non-profit organizations, including the Imperial Court of All Alaska and the Four A’s Board of Directors.

Grady enjoys traveling, cooking and binge watching television shows, and appreciates the value and uniqueness of living in Alaska. After 12 years in local bar and restaurant management, it was time for “MeMe” to return to his roots, working with nonprofits.



Chantal joined The Alaska Center staff having served as Finance Director for Alyse Galvin for US Congress in 2018. She has also worked in Alaska as a carpenter, baker, tax preparer and parish administrator.

Before moving to Alaska, she served as Executive Director of two nonprofits, primarily serving families experiencing homelessness on the southside of Chicago. She earned a BA and MA from the University of Notre Dame.

Chantal is a dedicated grassroots organizer and human rights activist. When not crusading for a more just world, she loves growing food, playing the banjo, traveling the globe, and sleeping in a tent as far away from civilization as possible.



Louie Flora joined the Alaska Center in 2014 after working for over a decade as a staff and committee aide in the AK Legislature.  His policy experience includes fisheries, mineral extraction, clean energy generation and transmission, and local citizen participation in the large project permitting process. Louie resides in Juneau during the Legislative Session, in Bristol Bay during the salmon season, and in Homer the rest of the year.

Louie owns and operates a salmon fishing boat in Bristol Bay with his wife and two children.


(907) 793-8631 | leah@akcenter.org

Leah began working as our Digital Organizer in 2017 and now leads our Communications team. In that time she has expanded our digital reach and helped us build brand cohesion across our programs and campaigns. She has been the driving force behind our visual presence.

Leah comes to us with a background in journalism, UX design, social justice, and art. She uses these diverse skills to ensure that The Alaska Center is and continues to be a useful and engaging resource for community partners and Alaskans as a whole.

Leah loves working on food security and sustainability issues and volunteers her time with the Alaska Botanical Garden. She is a board member of the Susitna Bicycle Institute and the Anchorage International Film Festival. In her free time, she loves taking photos, foraging, and traveling across our beautiful state with her dog Walter Mondale.

Kyla Kosednar, Digital and Data Manager


Kyla started volunteering with The Alaska Center in 2015, as a member of the organization’s Volunteer Leadership Committee. Working alongside community organizers, she helped fight The Pebble Mine, The Chuitna Mine, and impact State and local elections. In 2016, she became the Deputy Canvass Director and has knocked on thousands of doors all across the State. She is passionate about giving Alaskan’s a voice and has spent countless hours talking to community members about the issues they care about.

Kyla has now transitioned into the role of Digital Manager. In this role she engages supporters through email, social media, digital ads, mobile platforms, websites and other online mediums. Kyla is a lifelong Alaskan and UAA alum, having graduated in 2017 with a Legal Studies Degree. When she isn’t scrolling through social media, she enjoys fishing, hiking, and solving puzzles.



Alyssa has been volunteering with local, statewide, and national organizations and forming those ties to the grassroots communities for over a decade. From that work, she's focused her political and communal outreach to support campaigns in a variety of positions; from Internships to Community Outreach Coordinator. Alyssa graduated from the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, with a degree in Political Science, and now uses her organizing skills and passion to focus on communal advocacy, outreach, education, and empowerment. Since being hired as the Interior Organizer in 2018, Alyssa has expanded her connections and helped support the work of the many diverse communities in and around Fairbanks.

When she's not working, Alyssa can be found showcasing in a First Friday, playing music with her friends, or having some quiet time with the cutest dog in existence.


(907) 793-8670 | emily@akcenter.org

Emily started her career with The Alaska Center as a canvasser in 2016. She has moved through Team Lead and Deputy Canvass Director positions before landing in her current position as the Canvass Director in 2018. Emily has lead the canvass in their efforts to engage Alaskans on a multitude of issues including the proposed Chuitna coal mine, the Susitna dam project, efforts to update fish habitat permitting laws through ballot initiative in 2018 and the ongoing fight against the pebble mine among others.

Growing up in Colorado her admiration for wild spaces was established at an early age. She was active in the community, advocating for the preservation of dinosaur bones in the area near her home in the Front Range in grade school and she worked with a non-profit coalition in high school that sought to relocate prairie dog colonies whose habitat was threatened by development. This set her up for her studies in Environmental Science and GIS at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Alaska quickly became her home and she draws her passion for her work from the awe inspiring wild spaces where she enjoys spending her time.

Ean Tubbs, Canvass- Canvass Field and Digital Manager

(907) 793-8670 | ean@akcenter.org

Ean started working with the Alaska Center as a canvasser in 2017 and now is helping to lead our canvassing efforts as the Canvass Field and Volunteer Director. Throughout his time at the Alaska Center, Ean has moved through the ranks of the canvass program and worked on issues ranging from the Stand for Salmon ballot measure to aiding in efforts to stop Pebble Mine, with many projects in between.

As a lifelong Alaskan, Ean’s appreciation for the state and for its environment was instilled in him early on. Growing up in Palmer, some of his fondest memories involving fishing out of the Susitna river and exploring the trails of Hatchers Pass.

Ean’s background is primarily in science and activism, making the work done at the Alaska Center a perfect match for Ean. His scientific background can be seen through his studies in Environmental Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage and in his experience working as an environmental laboratory analyst. In the field of activism and political organizing, Ean has been working in the field professionally for over two years with various organizations and has been volunteering in the space for as long as he can remember.