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
Research Analyst Mandy Magnusen has specific interests in tourism, downtown development, and tribal affairs.
Most recently, Mandy graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies and honors program degree. While in school, Mandy worked for the UAA Office of Academic Affairs as the Lead eWolf ePortfolio coach. Mandy was also a member of the UAA Society of Law and Justice as well as a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honors Society. Additionally, Mandy served as a mentor in the AHAINA program and was awarded the Women’s Student of Excellence award in 2019.
Coming from both Alutiiq and Tlingit families, in her free time, Mandy enjoys visiting family in both Kodiak and Southeast Alaska, as well as Dillingham. While there, Mandy enjoys going fishing, camping, and exploring.
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
Source: newsminor.com The Voice of Interior Alaska News-Miner Community Perspective: With the price of oil down and news of companies halting their drilling efforts in the Arctic, it is easy to get caught up in what seems to be an ongoing drip of negative headlines...
Source: Total Croatia News An important gathering of the Croatian diaspora and Croatian interests in Washington last week, which was attended by President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic. TCN's Steve Rukavina was also there and sent this report on April 26, 2016. The First...
I became President and CEO of the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare earlier this year, because I understood the home care and hospice community is committed to every person’s right to receive care in the setting of their choice. Simply put, people prefer to receive...
Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich spoke to First Alaskans Institute’s Elders and Youth Conference Monday, one of his biggest Alaskan audiences since he lost re-election and left office in January. Begich urged the young attendees to participate in their communities, to...
Ocean Champions Announces New Board Leadership Washington, D.C. – October 8, 2015 – As part of its expanding political influence on behalf of ocean conservation, Ocean Champions announced today that former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will serve as Chair of its...
As Washington, D.C. greets Pope Francis this week, there is much anticipation about what he will say about a number of issues – specifically climate change. While some members of Congress have already announced they will boycott the Pope’s speech because of his...
Begich to Focus on Alaska Projects, Help Serve Clients. Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich of Alaska is joining Hilltop Public Solutions as special counsel, helping the national public affairs firm increase their presence and identify strategic partnerships with Alaskans...
Giving back to rural Alaska communities. Alaska Native Corporations have become powerhouses of our state’s economy, generating billions of dollars and providing thousands of jobs for Alaskans. In 2013, according to the ANCSA CEO Association, Alaska Native Corporations...
People have a lot of misconceptions when you tell them you’re from Alaska. No. We don’t all live in igloos. No. It’s not dark all the time. And yes, I am a Democrat who is concerned about climate change and supports responsible oil and gas development in Alaska. Now...
It’s been a rough ride in recent years for a rural airline that once dominated the Western Alaska market. Grant Aviation, company executives say, was unprepared for new routes it picked up three years ago in the Aleutian Islands and Bristol Bay area. At the time, it...
Northern Compass Group
445 E 5th Avenue, Suite 201
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 206-4808
Fax: (907) 206-5152