Providing reliable data and telecommunications services in Alaska is challenging and it can be extremely difficult to reach remote villages with fiber, microwave, and satellite services in arctic temperatures. Paula Cook, Director of GCI Communications Corp.’s Strategic Account Program understands the importance of providing these services to Alaskans in rural areas. In the GCI Healthcare and Education department, she oversees a team that assists healthcare clinics and school districts to participate in USAC Rural Healthcare and E-Rate programs, which allows rural Alaskans to access to vital data, internet, and cellular services necessary for quality healthcare and education.
Paula began her career with CelluarOne/McCaw Communications in Anchorage, Alaska selling three-watt handsets and flip phones at a rate of $1.00 a minute; wireless data was not yet invented. Today, GCI is the first carrier in Alaska to offer 5G wireless services and 2 gigabit Internet speeds – some of the fastest in the country. With AT&T Wireless, CellularOne/Dobson, and GCI, she has earned consecutive sales awards as Executive, Major, and Enterprise Account Managers. Since 2017 she has been responsible for managing GCI’s Strategic Account Program and finds it energizing to find ways to improve how the company can support its customers in an ever-evolving market.
She feels most proud of GCI’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic for the last two years, and specifically our ability to provide Alaskan neighbors with unprecedented levels of cell phones, cable modems, rural broadband, and data connectivity. It was inspiring to be part of a company that put people first during a crisis.
In 2021, Paula joined WICT and is excited to attend the upcoming Rising Leadership Program, where she looks forward to meeting other like-minded women and to learn new concepts in managing teams based on core values. Paula is also a student at Purdue Global University and in her spare time she enjoys zipping around Anchorage on an e-bike.