"Make it Monday" forum - Improving Anchorage’s Economy and Community by Increasing Graduation Rates

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Name: "Make it Monday" forum - Improving Anchorage’s Economy and Community by Increasing Graduation Rates
Date: January 8, 2018
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM AKST
Registration: Online registration for this event has closed.
Event Description:

Thanks to the commitment of businesses, individuals and partners throughout our community, Anchorage has seen tremendous progress in our graduation rates, but we’re not finished. Join us to see what is turning the tides and learn how you can positively impact students’ lives and make a real difference in our city. It’s good for you, it’s good for business and it’s good for Anchorage.

  • Michele Brown, United Way of Anchorage
  • Damian Bilbao, co-chair of 90% by 2020 and VP, Commercial Ventures BP Exploration (Alaska) 
  • Deena Bishop, ASD Superintendent
  • Tam Agosti-Gisler, co-chair of 90% by 2020 and Anchorage School Board President
  • Abbe Hensley, Exec. Director, Best Beginnings

Michele joined United Way of Anchorage 14 years ago because she wanted to improve our community by taking on some of the toughest problems we face. Under her leadership, United Way has helped to increase graduation rates, improve access to health care for many in our city, and provide tax prep assistance that has brought millions of dollars in refunds over the past 17 years to families who desperately need the money. In her 14 years as the president, Michele Brown has helped advance United Way of Anchorage as a community development organization dedicated to building the community activism, aligned services, and policies that achieve measurable change. This has led to improvement in high school graduation rates, family financial stability, and access to health care.

From the early beginnings of Anti-Violence and Youth Substance Abuse work, that led into Anchorage United for Youth, that became the 90% by 2020 Partnership increasing graduation rates to 80%; to launching Alaska 2-1-1 and Anchorage Project Access to ensure our residents have the support they need, Michele’s vision has been clear – bring the community together and we can significantly impact complex social issues.

Michele has a J.D. from U.C. Davis and a BA in philosophy and humanities from U.C. Berkeley. Her background includes serving as the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservations under former Governor Tony Knowles, and working to develop community health, environmentally sound, economic development and democracy-building programs in Russia at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Damian Bilbao (Bill B-ah-o) is the Vice President, Commercial Ventures, which includes Alaska LNG, Midstream and BP-owned assets operated by others for BP Alaska.  

This is Damian’s fourth assignment with BP in Alaska; he began his nearly 20-year oil and gas career with BP’s North America Gas Performance Unit in Houston in 1998.  He has held various positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of economics, planning, performance management and business development with BP, in Houston, Moscow, Jakarta and Anchorage.

Damian earned his undergrad in economics and a Juris Doctorate from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He also earned an MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. 

He is active in the Anchorage community and is the co-chair of the 90% by 2020 community effort. 

Dr. Deena Bishop’s focus on student achievement and success is backed by her experiences in teaching and educational leadership. As superintendent of the largest school district in the state, she is firmly committed to the ASD’s vision to have every child prepared for the work force or post-secondary education after high school.

Bishop began her Alaska educational career in 1991 and has proudly served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent of the Mat-Su Borough School District before being named ASD’s superintendent in July 2016.

Bishop holds a bachelor’s degree in education with a specialization in bilingual education, a master’s degree in educational administration and a doctorate in learning assessment and system performance. She was part of the first graduating class for the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendents Certification two-year program.

She is active in several local and civic organizations including the Education Commission of the States, Alaska Superintendents’ Association, 90% by 2020 Partnership, Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River Chambers of Commerce, East Anchorage Rotary, Foraker Group and United Way. She serves on several non-profit boards and enjoys spending time with her family, snow and water skiing, running, and interior painting. Dr. Bishop is married and has two college-age daughters.

Tam Agosti-Gisler grew up in Anchorage and graduated from West High School. She studied at Stanford University including several of its overseas campuses and earned a BA in International Relations with honors. After graduation, Tam returned to Anchorage, received her teacher certification and later her Masters of Arts in Teaching, and spent 23 years teaching in the Anchorage School District. Ms. Agosti-Gisler was the executive director of the Anchorage School Business Partnership program and was an adjunct professor at UAA in the MAT program. She served on the Municipal School Budget Advisory Commission before being elected to the Anchorage School Board.  In her second term of office, she is currently the president of the Board. Tam has been involved in many community organizations including Anchorage East Rotary and the Alaska World Affairs Council. She is an avid traveler and photographer, has visited more than 70 countries, speaks several languages and has taught English in Africa and Asia.Ms. Agosti-Gisler has been married to Hans Gisler for 38 years and they have three grown children. 


New to Monday Forum? What to expect


Deadline to register online is 5 pm the Friday directly preceding the forum. But tickets are available at the door, day-of, to purchase.

Cancellation Note: There is a 48-hour cancellation policy. To receive a full refund, registration must be canceled no less than two business days prior to the date of the event. No refunds will be given after this date. All registrations are transferable to another person upon your request.
Event Sponsors:
  • Chugach Electric Association, Inc.
Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center
(600 W 7th Ave.)
2nd Floor
Date/Time Information:
Noon to 1 pm
(Doors open at 11:30 am for lunch)
Contact Information:
Tosha Kelly (907) 677-7103
General Admission: $35
Anchorage Chamber Member: $30 ($32 at door)
Students: $15 w/ID
Punch Card (10 lunches): $280

RESERVED TABLE OF 8 (in advance only)
Member: $230
Non-Member: $280
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