Mark Begich

Mark Begich

Mark Begich is the President and CEO of Northern Compass Group LLC. A businessman since age 14 and a public servant with decades of experience, Begich has built an impressive record of accomplishments on some of the most complicated and important issues such as fisheries, travel & tourism, transportation, resource development, tribal and Alaska Native interests, the Arctic, education, veterans, commerce, housing and more.

During his tenure as U.S. Senator for Alaska, Mark Begich earned the reputation of a hard-working, pragmatic problem-solver who was willing to work across party lines to get things done. Defying party labels and drawing daily on his business background, Begich broke down bureaucratic barriers to get things done.

Quickly rising to leadership positions, Begich chaired both the Steering and Outreach Committee and the Oceans Subcommittee. He also served on other influential committees including Appropriations, Commerce, Veterans, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Armed Services, and Indian Affairs.

In addition, Begich was appointed to the President’s Export Council, the national advisory board to the White House on important export and trade policy. Begich was also named Chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Inter-parliamentary Group aimed at improving trade relations between the U.S. and China.

Prior to serving in the Senate, Begich was the Mayor of Anchorage for six years and served on the Anchorage Assembly for ten years.

Begich is married to Anchorage businesswoman Deborah Bonito and they have a young son, Jacob.

Schawna Thoma

Schawna Thoma

Schawna Thoma joins Northern Compass Group LLC as Vice President. Most recently, she worked as State Director for U.S. Senator Mark Begich in his Anchorage office.

Schawna worked on policy and legislation in the areas of aviation, transportation infrastructure, travel and tourism, fisheries, public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Schawna also served under Mayor Mark Begich from 2003-2008 as Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development for the Municipality of Anchorage, where she worked on a variety of major economic development projects including the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, museum expansion and downtown redevelopment.

Schawna spent five years as Chief of Staff for Senator Johnny Ellis in the Alaska State Legislature and has served as campaign manager and field director on many political campaigns.

She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a B.S. in Public Law & Government and Journalism. Schawna is married to Michael Powell, PhD and lives in Anchorage, AK, where she enjoys skiing and hiking in the Alaskan wilderness.

Schawna can be reached at

Rachel Barinbaum

Rachel Barinbaum

Rachel Barinbaum joins the Northern Compass Group as Vice President for Strategic Communications and Business Development.

Most recently, Rachel served as Communications Director in the Washington, D.C. office for Senator Mark Begich where she managed the Senator’s overall communications strategy both at home in Alaska and in Washington.

In 2013, Rachel served as Senior Communications Advisor for Terry McAuliffe’s successful run for Virginia Governor. The Washington Post later named McAuliffe’s bid for Governor the “Best Campaign of 2013,” citing message discipline as a key contributing factor to success.

In 2012, Rachel was a member of Vice President Biden’s Debate Prep Team in advance of the highly anticipated Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Biden and Representative Paul Ryan.

Prior to 2012, Rachel served in communications and research positions for U.S. Senator Jon Tester, U.S. Senator Max Baucus, and within the Administration at the Department of Treasury.

Rachel is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Rachel can be reached at

Clare Boersma

Clare Boersma

Clare Boersma joins the Northern Compass Group as Executive Manager and Project Liaison.

Most recently Clare served in the office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich, where she managed all visiting VIPs and served as the lead for in-state events ranging from large-scale conferences to community town halls.

Known for inventing creative solutions to any obstacle, Clare was at the center of many critical operations in the Senate office including responding to constituent requests, counseling communities and nonprofits on federal funding sources, and juggling many, many calendars. Clare brings to Northern Compass Group an eye for detail and organization, and a talent for getting to the heart of the matter.

Born at Providence Hospital and raised in Anchorage, Clare is a UAA honors college graduate and a member of Rogers Park Community Council. She enjoys the challenge of baking new and different birthday cakes for her large extended family, knows how to knit a sock, and can dance an Irish jig.

Clare can be reached at

Bob Lowrance

Bob Lowrance

Bob Lowrance currently leads the business consulting practice for Northern Compass Group, LLC. Bob is an industry “generalist” with a broad background including: technology, transportation, manufacturing & distribution, financial services, real estate, and professional services, as well as serving as the chief executive for several successful entrepreneurial ventures.  His extensive expertise within the areas of distressed, transitional, and emerging growth organizations provides solid and effective strategies that produce results, every time.

Prior to joining Northern Compass Group Bob spent the preceding sixteen years functioning as an investor, mentor, advisor, and/or interim-executive for a variety of companies and investment groups located both in Alaska and throughout the United States.  His efforts have been focused primarily on early-stage, transitional, and distressed environments where transactions such as acquisitions, fundraising, recapitalization, and/or divestiture are critical to organizational success. Activities included: 

  • Capital raises, ranging from seed to Series A and later
  • M&A transactions
  • Divestiture/Exits
  • Recapitalization projects (debt & equity)
  • Due diligence, strategy, and performance consulting (venture incubators, owner/operators,    and corporate executives)
  • Business plan strategy and development (including validation)
  • Entrepreneurial/executive mentorship
  • Bootstrapping strategies (including taking one of his own start-ups from $5,000 to 20M debt/equity free)
  • Strategic relationships & partnerships

Recent, local efforts include serving two years as President & COO for Alaska’s second largest Regional Air Carrier and the prior two as SVP & General Manager for an Alaska-based light manufacturing and distribution company.

Bob’s last corporate effort was as Founder & CEO of a professional services firm providing outsourced professional recruitment services to the Fortune 100.  During his tenure, Bob successfully guided the firm from an entrepreneurial start-up to a nationally recognized organization with large-scale engagements operating throughout the United States and Europe.  He co-founded what is now a $3.5 billion dollar industry (Recruitment Process Outsourcing or “RPO”), was recognized for his early role in leveraging the Internet to improve recruitment workflow, and achieved a top 5 ranking in the Dallas Business Journal’s prestigious FastTech 50 (greatest 4 year growth for privately held high-tech companies within the DFW Metroplex).

During Bob’s early career he served as Executive Vice President for a business-strategy consulting group specializing in transactions within transitional industries.  In that role, Bob received extensive business strategy experience working in conjunction with firm Principal, Dr. E. Allen Jacobs.  Dr. Jacobs is a noted former MIT economist who provided transaction analysis for prominent business magnates of the time such as T. Boone Pickens and Harold Simmons. Through Dr. Jacobs intensive mentoring Bob gained invaluable insight into critical factors for organizational success within both rapid-growth and distressed environments.

Bob completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, where he was a Company Commander in the Corps of Cadets and received a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army.  In addition to Bob’s participation at Northern Compass Group, he sits on the Board of Directors for several privately held companies and regularly volunteers time to local charitable organizations.


Marilyn Alvarenga

Marilyn Alvarenga

Marilyn Alvarenga is our Communications Coordinator at Northern Compass Group. LLC.

Marilyn provides internal and external support for a company’s communications department. Her focus at NCG is to work with clients to grow their websites, social media presences, and improve their Search Engine Optimization, content strategies and integrated marketing plans.

She previously served as the Hispanic and Latino Director for Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich’s 2014 U.S. Senate reelection campaign, where she interacted one-on-one with Hispanic Alaskan voters across the state to register and get-out-the-vote.

Marilyn served as a founding member and president of Alaska’s National Society of Leadership & Success, the largest student-directed leadership organization in Alaska. There she managed over 1,000 university students and structured leadership training, workshops, and academic seminars.

She is currently part of the Leadership Anchorage’s twentieth cohort and is an active member of Anchorage’s Downtown Community Council. She is a member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Committee and YPG Summit Committee. Marilyn serves on the board of directors for Pulse Dance Company, and was a finalist for Anchorage’s “Young Professional of the Quarter” in 2016 awarded by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

Marilyn is a proud Alaskan who is an alum of East Anchorage High School, and a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage with a B. A. in International Studies and Political Science.

Marilyn can be reached at