July 14, 2021
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside was recognized as a leader in the field of public relations and communications as one of Ragan’s 2021 Top Women in Communications. The national award honors leaders in the profession who deliver messages in innovative ways, create compelling narratives for internal and external audiences, and remain steadfast through communications crises. Handyside is honored this year alongside leaders from brands like Mastercard, Visa, General Electric and National Geographic.
Handyside brings more than 20 years of experience to her position. Over her career she has managed communications and public relations for government agencies, non-profit organizations, political campaigns, and elected officials. She’s a skilled speaker who is comfortable fielding tough questions from the press, facilitating candidate debates, or emceeing at local community events.
“Heather has been our intrepid spokesperson for several years now and is always finding new ways to deliver our message to our customers and key stakeholders,” said Becky Windt Pearson, Senior Vice President, Law and Corporate Advocacy, and General Counsel at GCI. “She’s a consummate professional when working with the media and we rely on her expertise to develop messaging strategies around GCI’s most important initiatives. Not only are her communications effective and memorable—they’re fun.”
Handyside is the first to hold her position as Chief Communications Officer at GCI. In that role, she has developed a more targeted corporate messaging strategy, helped lead GCI’s Coronavirus Response Team efforts, spearheaded the creation of GCI’s Crisis Communications Team, helped establish and launch the company’s new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, and is co-sponsor of GCI's philanthropic program, GCI Gives.
“It was a lovely surprise to learn I was being recognized among a group of such accomplished communications professionals,” said Handyside. "Even more meaningful was that my GCI colleagues nominated me for the recognition. I love and admire the people I work with and feel lucky that I get to help tell their stories.”
Prior to GCI, Handyside worked in the non-profit sector, helped launch an angel investor group in the Pacific Northwest, and owned her own consulting company. She served as emergency manager for the Municipality of Anchorage and helped develop the city’s response plan after the events of September 11, 2001. After serving as deputy municipal manager for former Mayor Mark Begich, Handyside served as his press secretary when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
A Pittsburg native and a die-hard Steelers fan, Handyside has lived in Alaska more than 20 years, spending (some might say) the majority of that time fishing the world-famous Kenai River. She lives in Anchorage with her husband, Terry, and son, Owen.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at http://www.libertybroadband.com.