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As some of you many have noticed, I posted a survey to help me understand Shareholders’ priorities. I wanted to keep it short to only five questions.

Shareholder Input for the Board

As a former director, it would be invaluable for the Board to have input from Shareholders during the annual budget process. During my term from 2013-16, Management never sent out a survey asking Shareholders what their priorities are beside larger dividends. The full Board needs to understand that Shareholders may have different priorities than what each director assumes is a priority.

Personally, I found the preliminary survey results to be extremely enlightening. What I thought would be a top priority was actually number two or three on the list.

Shareholders as Innovators

Shareholders can also be the source of new approaches too. I read two comments on the survey that were innovative and creative, ones that I would never have thought of myself. Hopefully, my little survey will give Goldbelt Management and the Board the idea that Shareholders need input into the strategic planning and annual budget process. How the Board allocates financial resources can’t be done in a black box. Yes we’re elected by shareholders that we talked to during an election or during our term, but Goldbelt needs to start asking Shareholders directly on the issues that are most importantly to them.

Here are the five questions in my survey:

  1. What issue do you hear about most in your social circles or the news regarding GBI?
  2. In terms of what impacts you the most, what ONE issue would YOU like to see addressed at the Board of Directors’ level?
  3. One of my key priorities is making sure GBI, Inc. drives economic prosperity for shareholders. What economic shareholder issue do you care about the most? Do you have a shareholder family member in your life that’s been that’s been affected by the changes in the economy? Please share your/their story.
  4. In the GBI annual budget, please rank how you think items should be prioritized (Consider 1 the highest priority, with the lowest priority being 6).
  5. In the annual GBI budget, I’ve supported several projects that need funding. What budget project would you like me to support and prioritize at the committee and Board levels? Larger dividends are assumed as a top priority.

Here are the results so far:

Question 1: 1.    What issue do you hear about most in your social circles or the news regarding GBI?

I wanted to understand what’s being discussed in Shareholder-social circles. It appears that Board politics within the Board of Directors, Directors who are up for reelection violating conflicts of interest by voting to disqualify nominees from GBI Proxy Statement, and Term limits for Directors were the top responses for question 1.

Question 2: In terms of what impacts you the most, what ONE issue would YOU like to see addressed at the Board of Directors’ level?

Shareholders feel that Larger dividends and Scholarships and fellowships impact them the most. These two concerns are what Shareholders would like to see addressed at the board level.

Question 3: One of my key priorities is making sure GBI, Inc. drives economic prosperity for shareholders. What economic shareholder issue do you care about the most? Do you have a shareholder family member in your life that’s been that’s been affected by the changes in the economy? Please share your/their story below.

I was inspired by the responses I received for this question. Here’s a sample of some comments I’d like to share. One shareholder explained that they would like to see a “more robust scholarship program.” In today’s pursuit of an education, $600 a year doesn’t cover books. They were compelling in stating that

“If we want shareholders to have professional skill sets and business experience and management capacity, we need to invest into our shareholders to reflect we are supporting them in the beginning.”

Another shareholder commented that

“Education is the key because if you don’t have a degree, you most likely won’t get a good paying job, which is required in this economy.”

Also, I applaud one shareholder’s response who offered an innovative idea, one that I hadn’t thought myself:

“Partnering with the tribe for regional job training opportunities.”

Q4: In the GBI annual budget, please rank how you think items should be prioritized (Consider 1 the highest priority, with the lowest priority being 6).

Here’s the order the shareholder priorities. I think it’s wonderful that shareholders are looking out for each other by stating that Scholarships and Fellowships should be the top priority. At a close second, shareholders would like training programs to be provided by Goldbelt, allowing them to be a viable candidate for Goldbelt jobs. I’m more surprised that the Goldbelt Ancestral Trust should be funded.

  1. Scholarships and fellowships
  2. Training programs allowing you to be a viable candidate for GBI jobs
  3. Funding the GBI Ancestral Trust to distribute benefits such as scholarships and burial assistance
  4. Vocational training and apprenticeship programs
  5. Internships
  6. Building career options for GBI shareholders and shareholder employees
  7. Mentoring program for GBI shareholders and shareholder employees
  8. Larger dividends
  9. Entrepreneurship guidance or support for new business ideas
  10. Leadership and executive programs for GBI shareholder-employees

Q5: In the annual GBI budget, I’ve supported several projects that need funding. What budget project would you like me to support and prioritize at the committee and Board levels? Larger dividends are assumed as a top priority.

The top responses were: (1) Scholarships and fellowships, (2) Other, (3) Vocational training and apprenticeship programs, and (4) Funding the GBI Ancestral Trust to distribute benefits.

I love how shareholders have insights, creative ones that should be considered as something Goldbelt provides. One shareholder advocated for allowing elementary school classes to go up the Goldbelt Tram for a field trip. Goldbelt should let shareholder parents pay for their own ticket, and then get the free tickets for the children in a class. Goldbelt would be doing something for

“Juneau kids not very many kids can go in the tram would be nice to see more often, I’m a shareholder and I would do it for a classroom something to think about be proud of the tram thank you ?”

One shareholder would like their land, while another respondent believes that Goldbelt should be building capacity in our people as employees in regional jobs.

Thank you for your responses so far. I’ll make sure that they are communicated to directors who are interested in shareholder concerns and input. I think they will find the results enlightening as well.

For shareholders who have not completed, the survey, please click here.