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Bloom Communications corporate culture camps

Charleen Ostbloom
By Bloom Communications
Charleen Ostbloom

Based in Fairbanks, Bloom Communications was founded five years ago by Sharleen Ostbloom. She said the company tries to follow its mission statement to the letter. The statement reads; “Living and working here is different than anywhere else. Understanding, appreciating, and connecting with the state’s people and cultures is crucial for businesses to grow and thrive.” this can be found on Bloom Communication’s website.

Ostbloom said an important part of this mission involves collaborating with non-native businesses in the form of cultural camps to educate other companies about the complexities that occur in Indigenous communities.

Ostbloom voiced why she created the culture camps, “Because of the misunderstandings and, really lack of knowledge from non-native people about Alaska native people, culture, how life is like in rural Alaska and therefore I created the corporate culture camps.”

She claimed that the camps could aid businesses in understanding the cultural nuances and norms one might expect in Indigenous communities in Alaska. The workshops also emphasize education in the complex network of corporations and businesses that impact Alaska Native people.

Ostbloom explained, “Many don't understand the differences between Alaska Native regional corporations, village corporations, they also want to know what does AFN do, or, ANSCA regional association."

The workshops also emphasize education in the complex network of corporations and businesses that impact Alaska Native people.

She continued, "So, there is a lot that goes into understanding what the different organizations do and who they serve.”

The training centers on the history, geographical locations, and their impacts on subsistence. The training is in-person and is two days in total.

She announced, “I created the sessions to be very interactive so that those that attend will have an experiential learning experience.”

Ostbloom shared an activity example highlighting this experiential learning; How to plan a trip to rural Alaska.

She emphasized, “Who do you need to contact, what do you need to plan for as far as the weather goes? Food, housing- so, just to give our urban counterparts more insight into what that might be like.”

Ostbloom then said it's important to understand communication challenges in rural communities.

She spoke on these challenges. "You may not always get someone on the phone because the phones don't always work in rural Alaska. If you want to send a large document to someone by email, they may or may not receive it because of the amount of data it takes.”

Beyond the numbers, there’s something more important for urban companies to understand, how to build relationships.

“Try to make positive long-lasting connections with Alaska Native people and different organizations and companies around the state. And so do so in a respectful and collaborative manner.”

Camps started in Fairbanks on February 22 and 23rd, and continued in Anchorage on March 6th and 7th 2024.

Hannah Bissett is a Dena'ina woman who is currently enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Hannah is pursuing an International Studies degree and is president of two student organizations on campus.