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Meet Our Board

Mark Begich,  Founding Board Member, President

Mark Begich is the president and CEO of Northern Compass Group, LLC. Over the last 40 years as a businessman, he has been an entrepreneur, CEO and led creative startups. Mark is experienced in commercial and residential real-estate, retail sales, travel & tourism, business consulting, mergers & acquisitions of public utilities and privately held companies, corporate restructuring, business turnarounds, vending and distribution, capital-raising, joint ventures and equity investing.  He currently owns and operates several hot springs and resorts in Nevada and New Mexico and serves as the President of the U.S. Hot Springs Business & Trade Association.

In addition to his long career in the private sector, Mark has dedicated several decades of his life to public service.  He served in the United States Senate from 2009 to 2014 for the 111th, 112th and 113th Congresses. Before that, he served as Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska from 2003-2007 and spent ten years as an elected member of the Anchorage Assembly.Over the course of his career, Mark has worked on key issues related to telecommunications, Arctic policy, technology, the U.S. military, transportation, tribal affairs, fisheries, infrastructure, labor & workforce development, education, natural resource development, veterans’ affairs, housing, business development and economic growth. Mark 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.

Vicky Nash,  Founding Board Member, Vice President

Vicky Nash established the tourism communications firm Resort Trends, Inc. nearly 20 years ago and has worked with over 50 clients. 

Specializing in geothermal tourism, she oversees the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop and recently founded two businesses, Hot Springs Connection Inc. and Hot Springs of America Inc., thus providing expertise and perspective on the global hot springs industry. 

She is actively involved with the Global Wellness Institute’s Hot Springs Initiative and an affiliate of FEMTEC - World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy.


Schawna Thoma,  Director,  Hot Springs Business & Trade Association

Schawna Thoma is Vice President of Northern Compass Group, LLC where her portfolio includes providing a strategic action and advice for a variety of businesses, unions and non-profit organizations. In addition, she serves as a founding board member and officer of the U.S. Hot Springs Business & Trade Association.  She previously worked as State Director and Senior Staff member for U.S. Senator Mark Begich.

Schawna has worked on policy and legislation in the areas of aviation, transportation infrastructure, worker’s rights, travel and tourism, fisheries, public lands and more. Schawna 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 and bond campaigns.

She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she earned a B.S. in Public Law & Government and Journalism.   She serves on the Executive Board of the Anchorage League of Women Voters and participated in the 2018 Citizens Police Academy. 
Schawna is married to Michael Powell, PhD and lives in Anchorage, AK, where she enjoys skiing and hiking in the Alaskan wilderness.

U.S. Hot Springs Business & Trade Association
445 E 5th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501

(Est. 2019)

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