Tim Wilson

Executive Director
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Photo Bomb: Tim as a Cub Scout, circa 1964. Tim was part of Mrs. Harmon’s Starr Hill den in Juneau, Alaska. He remembers making an Easter basket from birch twigs.

What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2016?

The conference of course! It’s the biggest, most important thing we do. Each conference, four-days long, is a result of months of work by the members, committees, board, and staff. It’s like mounting a show—after months of preparation, rehearsals, tech, and promotion, it’s always exciting on opening night!

What was the best advice given to you in your career?

I worked eight years for Sealaska Heritage Foundation (now Sealaska Heritage Institute), a Native cultural organization serving the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. My boss was David Katzeek, a Tlingit tradition bearer from the Thunderbird clan.  His advice was simple: be quiet and listen.

Can you think of something people may not know about you?

My wife Luan and I have our own branded urban backyard farm, Starlet Farm, in honor of our first brood of chickens, Gina, Lola, and Brigida. True story, in that first brood we had a Silver Wyandotte that looked exactly like Gina Lollobrigida (see below). In any case, we have a garden, chickens, keep bees, and grow our own hops for beer. After the conference each year and into the fall it’s harvest time! We extract honey from the hive, ferment pickles and try to can as much of our produce as possible.

What is your funniest WAA conference memory?

This goes back a few years to the 1993 conference in San Diego. The awards that year were being presented in a lovely beachfront banquet at the historic Coronado Hotel. It was getting dark and the PA system was not quite up to the task. As the evening went on folks, including my friend, colleague, and fellow Alaskan, Ira Perman, Executive Director, of Anchorage Concert Association, began slipping away to walk the beautiful beach. I didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later when it came time to present the final award of the night, the Jerry Willis Award, now known as The Leadership Award. I can’t remember for the life of me who presented the award that year, but they made an impassioned speech summarizing the many qualities, achievements, and career highlights of the 1993 recipient. By the end of it, there was no mystery, it was Ira. I looked out to see Ira wandering, shoes-off, maybe 100 hundred yards down the beach. When his name was finally announced, the Alaskans at my table all jumped up and started yelling to get Ira’s attention. Hundreds of us watched as Ira did his best to run quickly back to the banquet to receive his award. It’s doesn’t pay to wander away.