Northern Compass Group LLC, led by businessman and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, is a full-service consulting firm that helps clients develop tailored, strategic plans to achieve sustainable solutions for even the most daunting business challenges. Our team’s diverse expertise in business, public policy and getting things done delivers results that will last.
Using proven strategies driven by the Begich approach of bringing stakeholders together, we are committed to creating a realistic road map that gets our clients where they want to go.
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, president and owner of Sourdough Mercantile Inc. and several other small businesses. Their son, Jacob, currently attends college at Georgetown University.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Rachel@northerncompassgroup.com
Clare Boersma Executive Manager and Project Liaison is at the core of Northern Compass Group operations, working with clients in diverse sectors, managing office functions and making sure the CEO is where he is supposed to be. Known for inventing creative solutions to any obstacle, Clare brings to Northern Compass Group an eye for detail and organization, and a talent for getting to the heart of the matter.
Before joining Northern Compass Group, Clare served in the office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich, where she corralled visiting VIPs, counseled constituents on the realities of federal funding, and managed in-state events ranging from large-scale conferences to community town halls.
Born and raised in Anchorage, Clare is a UAA 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 Clare@northerncompassgroup.com
Marilyn Alvarenga – Gaxiola
Marilyn Alvarenga is our Marketing Director & Associate Consultant 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 deals with graphic design, 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.
Outside of the office, Marilyn is heavily involved in the Anchorage community. She was awarded by the Alaska Journal of Commerce 2020 Top 40 Under 40 and was the youngest in her class. President-Elect of Alaska’s American Marketing Association, in addition, chairs the Anchorage Arts Advisory Board, and Alaska Humanities Forum: Leadership Anchorage Advisory Board. She 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.
Marilyn can be reached at Marilyn@northerncompassgroup.com
What We Do
An Alaska Perspective
As Mark Begich likes to say, “If we can make it work in Alaska, it can work anywhere.” In a state more than twice the size of Texas and with 80% of communities off the road system, Alaska truly is unique. As a result, the team at Northern Compass Group has unmatched experience when it comes to overcoming the toughest hurdles. It is that relentless commitment to solving even the most daunting challenges that we bring to all our clients.
Northern Compass Group helps companies, organizations, and associations achieve their goals. Our hands-on approach is more than just telling a client what they need to do to move forward, we develop a plan for how to get there. From structural assessments to improving organization and communication, our team helps create and implement a realistic, comprehensive road map that delivers results built to last.
We know everyone does their best to anticipate and avoid crises, but sometimes even the most well-run organizations find themselves in need of crisis management. With decades of experience in both business and political environments, the Northern Compass Group team are seasoned experts in assessing the crisis situation, determining necessary responses, and quickly implementing a strategy that puts clients in control of their own message.
Every organization—business or political—needs an effective communications strategy. With a proven record of developing and implementing strategic communication plans in the business, political, and government environments, Northern Compass Group helps clients not only develop an effective message, but also lay out a sophisticated plan to reach their target audience.
Indigenous & Tribal Relations
Northern Compass Group utilizes its professional networks across Indian Country to bring shareholders together and move projects and communities forward. With decades of experience not only fighting for but also winning key battles advocating for Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native nonprofits on issues like subsistence rights, Indian Law and policy, education, rural/village issues, and tribal rights, Northern Compass Group knows how to tackle tough bureaucratic issues and deliver results that will last.
Building on Mark Begich’s experience and expertise throughout his more than twenty years in campaigns and public office, Northern Compass Group brings a wide range of experience in elected politics both in Alaska and the Lower 48. From identifying stakeholders to organizing communities and communicating a simple, key message, Northern Compass Group helps keep our clients focused on the most important goal: winning.
In the News
THE SOURCE: Alaska Dispatch News While there may have been a momentary sigh of relief as the governor and Legislature closed out the seventh special session since 2015, they still failed to implement any sort of long-term fiscal solutions to get our economy back on...
THE SOURCE: The Washington Post After losing a presidential election it thought it had in the bag, the Democratic Party is still very much in soul-searching mode. While progressive members of the party have been extremely vocal that the party should shift to the left,...
SOURCE: Star-Telegram WASHINGTON - It was a secret meeting about an existential crisis. Gathered behind closed doors in a Denver hotel, 30 conservative Democrats plotted a potential path forward for their party – an effort to devise a strategy that might help them...
SOURCE: The Hill During my time serving in the United States Senate, I witnessed my fair share of partisan rhetoric—especially when it came to Alaska’s energy potential. While politicians like to use the future of the Arctic as a political hot potato, the truth is...
U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Membership of Travel and Tourism Infrastructure Advisory Committee SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation Washington – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the members of the new...
Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich hosted a DC roundtable panel along with polling experts on the election. They spoke about polling methods and the current US political environment today.
SOURCE: The Hill During my time in the Senate, it didn’t take me long to realize that there are two types of people in Washington. There are the “talkers,” who want to deliver the most attention-grabbing quotes and the “doers,” who want to deliver results. Talkers are...
Former Senator Mark Begich, Singer Tony Butala Presented With NFCA Awards at 23rd Annual Assembly of Delegates Meeting at Croatian Embassy
SOURCE: Total Croatia News An important night for the Croatian diaspora in North America on June 11, 2016. TCN's Steve Rukavina reports. NFCA Members and Sarajevo Guests with Former Senator Mark Begich Outside Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC Washington, D.C. --...
Source: Alaska Dispatch News By: Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich Being an elected official is always a great honor, but sometimes it's not fun. And when it comes to solving the budget crisis in Juneau, it is time to make the tough decisions that are necessary, but not...
Source: THE HILL By: Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich and Paul Rieckhoff As cities and towns across America prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, we are once again reminded of the sacrifice of the small minority of men and women who volunteer to put themselves into harm’s...
Northern Compass Group
445 E 5th Avenue, Suite 201
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 206-4808
Fax: (907) 206-5152