KJ McElwee is no stranger to northern climes: she grew up in Sykkylven, a municipality of Norway just two degrees south of the latitude of Nome, Alaska (62° vs. 64° north), and bit north of her current home, Anchorage (61° N).
She did her university studies stateside, at Pacific Lutheran University (in the Seattle area) and the University of Alaska–Anchorage, where she studied strategic communication. Her communications experience at UAA was both academic and professional: she worked at college radio station KRUA as their marketing and underwriting coordinator.
KJ first heard about KNOM through her husband, who grew up in the listening community of White Mountain, about 60 miles east of Nome. As a student who first moved to Alaska to study journalism, she had even considered participating in the mission’s volunteer fellowship program after college. Even though her post-collegiate plans took a different path, her road led back to KNOM, anyway, when she saw a job listing for the mission’s development office in Anchorage. Before long, she was part of the team.
Day-to-day, KJ is a crucial part of KNOM’s development office in Anchorage, which acts as a support channel between the mission’s donor family across the country and its on-the-ground efforts in Nome. Alongside business manager and development director Lynette Schmidt, KJ manages advertising and direct marketing efforts and strategies for the mission, including digital campaigns. She’s also a point of contact for donors and organizes incoming donations.
When not at work, she enjoys “reading, tea drinking, berry-picking, and spending time with people,” all activities well-suited to long winters in Alaska — or Norway.