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Farewell, Kelly

Kelly in Nome
Outgoing program director Kelly Brabec, on the outskirts of Nome, September 2015. Photo: Laura Davis Collins, KNOM.

It’s with a great sense of bittersweetness that we report the departure of a KNOM staffer with deep roots and an extensive history at our mission. As of late September, Kelly Brabec has departed KNOM to pursue new directions.

Over the years, Kelly has given so much to our mission, first as a volunteer (1998-2000; pictured below) and then a staff member from 2002 onwards; she’s served the majority of this time as our station’s program director, with direct oversight over all of KNOM’s non-news programming, and as a supervisor for dozens of our full-time volunteers. Here’s Kelly, in her own words, on what KNOM has meant to her:

KNOM has, without a doubt, formulated who I am today. What I’ve gained from my time at KNOM is a very deep sense of gratitude: gratitude for the daily opportunities to be invited into the homes and hearts of our loyal listeners; gratitude and appreciation for the generosity of our donors and for the dedication and courage of the numerous volunteers who have passed through the doors of KNOM.

One can not be a great leader without being a student of those you’re leading. I’ve learned so much through the eyes and hearts of the volunteers who said “yes” to the unique service opportunity that is KNOM, located in such a remote area with a really big learning curve. I’ve been blessed to have been in a position to seed vision and empower creative, service-driven individuals in their daily lives and work. Being invited to join them in their journeys of discovery and struggle to reach their fullest potential has been priceless.

Thanks to those who have pushed me to strive higher and to dig deeper. Without the voice of encouragement, it’s easy to remain in the safe zone of everyday life. My time at KNOM has taught me it’s healthy and brave to test the waters, ask hard questions, and risk ideas. Sometimes, not being safe isn’t necessarily a bad place to be — but, rather, a growing place to be.

Thank you, Western Alaska, for an amazing life journey so far. It’s been an honor and a privilege. I’ll treasure it always.

For so many at KNOM and throughout our region, Kelly has been a guiding influence, a source of leadership, kindness, and compassion, and a friend. For so many years, Kelly’s work has helped make KNOM a mission, we believe, worthy of your pride and support. We thank you for helping to make Kelly’s tenure at KNOM possible, and we wish her all the success and happiness in the world as she departs for new horizons. We’ll miss her greatly.

Kelly, late 1990s
Kelly during her tenure as a KNOM volunteer (1998-2000).

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Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.