Sara Peterson works in the legal department here at Bristol Bay Native Corporation as Vice President and Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. In an interview with Sara, we learned about her educational and career paths that lead her to where she is today, who inspires her, and what her job duties consist of at BBNC.
1. Where are you from?
I am from Montana and Alaska. Although I grew up in Billings, Montana and graduated high school in Helena, starting in 8th grade I spent the summers and holidays in Alaska with my dad. I started college at Carroll College in Helena, and officially moved to Alaska in 1990 to finish my degree in international business from Alaska Pacific University. After graduating from college, I spent four summers working in Cooper Landing at the Kenai Princess Lodge and at the Kenai Cache (my husband’s families tackle shop and fishing guide business). During the off season, I budget backpacked throughout numerous countries within South and Central America, and Southeast Asia. I went to law school at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and started my legal career in San Diego, California practicing US – Mexico work. In 2005, I returned to Alaska to be closer to family and the mountains.
2. What do you do as the V.P. Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer?
As Associate General Counsel, I primarily work with our federal contracting subsidiaries – government and construction services – that are regulated by the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program. The SBA 8(a) Program is a unique program that allows small disadvantaged businesses to obtain contracts with federal government agencies, such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and the Department of Agriculture. As Chief Compliance Officer, my role is to ensure that BBNC’s family of companies operate with integrity and in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
3. What do you love most about your job?
I love the variety and pace of the work, and the opportunity to work with amazingly talented folks within BBNC and its subsidiary operations.
4. What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?
I like to read, bake, and spend time outside – including fly fishing, biking, hiking and fetching with my yellow lab, Piper.
5. What’s your favorite book?
I love books that combine adventure and travel with men’s (or women’s) survival and triumph over the most challenging of elements, environments and encounters. Picking just one book is too hard. My top three all-time favorites include:
- Adrift by Steve Callahan, a story about Steven Callahan’s survival for 76 days on an inflatable raft after his sailboat was damaged in the Atlantic Ocean
- The Long Walk by Slawomir Rawicz, a story about a Polish Army lieutenant who in 1942 was imprisoned by the Russian Army in northern Siberia and after escaping walked 4,000 miles through the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and Himalayas to reach India
- Into Africa by Martin Dugard, a story about Stanley and Livingstone’s search in 1866 for the source of the Nile deep within the heart of Africa
6. Who inspires you?
My husband whom I have been with for 23 years, and my two kids, Darwin (9) and Avery (5) because they make me want to be the best I can be. They are also reminders for me to live each day to its fullest and laugh often.