In our Storyteller profile series, we highlight the dreams, journeys and achievements of Doyon Foundation students, alumni and supporters. In this episode of Storyteller, our Morris Thompson executive intern, Elizabeth Green, interviews Megan Key, a loyal Doyon Foundation supporter and student. You can watch or listen to Megan’s full profile, or read a transcript, with minor edits for clarity.
ELIZABETH GREEN: To start, tell us a little about yourself … where you grew up and who your family is.
MEGAN KEY: Thank you, Elizabeth! My name is Megan Key, formerly Hosken. I am an Upper Tanana Athabascan enrolled in the Tetlin Tribe and reside here in Fairbanks with my husband, Zac, and 4-year-old son, Zachary Douglas. My parents are Shelley Hosken of Tok and Carl Demit, Jr. of Northway. My maternal grandparents are the late Doug and Cheryl Hosken of Tok. My paternal grandparents are the late Carl, Sr. and Mable Demit of Northway.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Tell us a little about your educational journey.
MEGAN KEY: I would like to share my educational journey with giving recognition to my late grandparents, Doug and Cheryl. My grandparents, originally from Oregon, planted their roots in Tok as rural educators in Tok and Northway. My parents had me when they were 16 and we like to say that we raised each other. They are both wonderful and have taught me so much in life. With having young parents, I was privileged in also growing up with my grandparents actively in my life. I was taught to live with respect for myself and others, to appreciate the beauty in all things, to be 10 minutes early, to always proofread my writing, and to take my education seriously. I may not have listened to that last part until my early 30s.
My senior quote in high school is from a Led Zeppelin song, “Though the course may change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea.” Little did I know at that time, that this quote would be my story.
I have evolved from an 18-year-old traditional student to a 32-year-old mom, full-time employee, non-traditional student. I’ve found my passion in development, writing, communications and marketing through my time here at Doyon, Limited.
I appreciate the Doyon region, the impact we have on the community, and am passionate in helping our shareholders through my job and in my personal life. My river has taken me many directions in life, starting with an interest in education, following the footsteps of my grandparents who were rural educators. I quickly found that education was not my true passion and took a step back from the traditional student path.
I have a long way to go in my education and I’m okay with that – I encourage you to take your time to find your path. I believe that through drive, stamina and determination, I will push through any challenge and obstacle until I am officially a non-traditional graduate of Doyon Foundation, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and most importantly, as an Alaska Native woman.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Why did you choose your field of study?
MEGAN KEY: I chose a business administration degree because, with it being such a broad degree, you gain a plethora of skills and general knowledge, which opens a wider range of jobs and career opportunities. I feel like it’s a good base to have in your education.
ELIZABETH GREEN: What does supporting Doyon Foundation mean to you?
MEGAN KEY: Most of my adulthood has a strong presence of Doyon, starting in 2009 as the administrative intern for Doyon Foundation. This is where I first started to learn about Morris Thompson and his legacy. I remember helping serve at his potlatch as a 10-year-old and thinking what an amazing person he must have been to have so many people packed like sardines at the Carlson Center.
Through this internship, I had the opportunity to assist in helping with the ninth annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic. At this point, I don’t believe I truly understood the legacy of Morris, though the curiosity was there. It wasn’t until 2016, when I returned to Doyon, Limited in my current position, that I learned about his essence as a true leader of our people.
Morris, though I’ve never known him in person, has had a huge impact in my professional life. I’ve learned the history behind his term “CCSI” which means, “Calm. Cool. Strength. Integrity” and choose to work and live by it. I learned that he would write this acronym down anytime he presented to the shareholders and public, and it’s how he brought people together, through his own calm, cool, strength and integrity.
Morris was a prominent business leader in Alaska and a big force for the progression of Doyon and its shareholders. He bridged our cultures in Alaska and I can only hope to move forward in his legacy through education and my career to continue bridging the gap and serving our people.
ELIZABETH GREEN: You’re working at Doyon, Limited. Tell us about your role there.
MEGAN KEY: I am currently the executive assistant to the president and CEO at Doyon, Limited and, in this position, I’ve been given the opportunity to observe a successful business from a bird’s eye view while being privileged in being able to learn firsthand from Doyon’s board of directors and senior management team. This position has enabled me to find and explore my passions and what I’m interested in. I love taking classes at UAF and learning about what I already do in terms of my job and being able to put it into textbook definition.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Can you share a bit about why you choose to support the Foundation?
MEGAN KEY: Doyon Foundation’s mission is to provide educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders. By nature, I am a developer; I recognize and cultivate the potential in others, and I believe Doyon Foundation is such a huge part in helping develop Doyon shareholders. Development of our shareholders is something I’m deeply passionate about in my personal time with friends, family and acquaintances, so of course I appreciate Doyon Foundation and its resources and mission.
ELIZABETH GREEN: You have taken on the role of planning the Doyon Foundation golf tournament. Can you give us an overview of what that is like?
MEGAN KEY: The Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic has grown so much since I started helping in 2009 as an administrative intern. Since then, I have helped off and on with volunteering, assisting and now coordinating the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic for 11 events now.
When I worked at Doyon Foundation, I remember being at the office until 1 or 2 in the morning, surrounded by banners, golf clubs and chaos, preparing for this event with our small staff of three with a stress tingle in my shoulder. Now, I only stay until 11 or midnight … still surrounded by banners, golf clubs and chaos with a stress tingle still in my shoulder.
I must give credit to my husband, Zac, as I warn him annually at the beginning of June that he will be a single parent until the tournament is over. I appreciate his support of me and Doyon Foundation and its success in this event.
I’m grateful to have been a part of the 10th and 20th anniversary of the golf classic. I can’t wait to be a part of the 30th anniversary as Doyon Foundation alumni. To show the growth of this tournament, on the 10th anniversary, Doyon Foundation raised $60,000 and on the 20th anniversary, Doyon Foundation raised $131,000 for scholarships!
This is just a testament to how much the Foundation has grown over the last decade and how much support it continues to gain. I can’t give enough thanks to our many sponsors, golfers and volunteers for this event. It truly amazes me to see all the support from all over the state and even internationally!
The greatest part of coordinating this event is who it is for – Doyon Foundation’s students. The impact of listening to student speakers during the Calcutta and what this support means to them through their challenges and dedication is just incredible and so inspiring.
ELIZABETH GREEN: What would you say to other people who may be considering supporting the Foundation’s work?
MEGAN KEY: I, myself, benefit from Doyon Foundation as a current student and I am so grateful of its supporters. When I switch gears to helping fundraise for Doyon Foundation, there is such an amazing feeling associated with being a part of this family. Especially when you get to know the faces of those you support – even if its not monetary, consider volunteering for the golf tournament or any other event Doyon Foundation hosts.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for our students today?
MEGAN KEY: While this advice isn’t exactly related to student life, it is advice I would give to everyone. Part of Doyon Foundation’s values include community. “Raising Healthy and Happy Native Children, Supporting, Mentoring, Shared Vision within the community.” I continuously keep this in mind with my son and six nephews. Take care of yourself and those around you.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
MEGAN KEY: I am so thankful for Doyon Foundation and its supporters. I wouldn’t have had the courage to go back to school after a decade long hiatus without Doyon Foundation’s support. It’s never too late to achieve your goals and aspirations.
Though the course may change sometimes, the river always reaches the sea – my journey is still well on its way to the sea, but I look forward to being present in the course it runs. Tsin’įį!
If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming Storyteller profile, or would like to nominate a Doyon Foundation student, alumni or supporter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.459.2048.