My path crossed with Janie Leask’s almost immediately after she moved to Homer. She jumped into the community with both feet, and to be honest the first time I met her, I was completely blown away with her magnetism, strength, and power. She an innovator, a connector, and a strong advocate for the power of women. She’ll be an excellent addition to the Storyknife Advisory Council.
Janie’s life can be described by her favorite quote which defines the “Good Life” as “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the ‘right work’ on purpose.”
Janie loves the spirit of community building. A lifelong Alaskan and a CIRI shareholder, she is Haida-Tsimshian and Irish-German and was raised in both Metlakatla and Anchorage. She has one son, David, who joined her in being formally adopted into the Tsimshian Eagle Clan where she received her Tsimshian name of Gytem Wilgoosk which means “person of wisdom.”
Janie started her career working as a clerk-typist at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN). During her 15 years with AFN, she held various support positions before being elected President – a position she held for seven years. Following her tenure at AFN, she went on to work at National Bank of Alaska, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and First Alaskans Institute.
Janie’s always believed in getting involved and giving back and over the years has served on local and statewide boards as well as co-chairing two gubernatorial campaigns. But it’s her work in furthering understanding between urban and rural Alaska that she’s most proud, especially the trips she helped organize to rural villages by members of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.
Janie, and her husband Don, moved to Homer in 2013. They’re enjoying their new home and have spent time exploring Kachemak Bay, fishing for all species, and showing off their new community to friends and family. Don volunteers with local organizations cleaning up the trail system. Janie spends her days taking pictures, meeting friends for coffee, and playing Pickleball.
She currently serves on the board of Haven House, the local women’s shelter and keeps her finger on the pulse of statewide public policy issues. She truly is living the “Good Life.”