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FEatured FEWs

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  • September 15, 2023 1:12 PM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Charlene Ridlon

    Organization/Title: Anna Marie’s Alliance

    Length of time as a FEW Member: I have been a member since 2021.

    Hometown: My hometown is Shakopee, Minnesota, but I have now lived in Waite Park, longer than when I lived at home.

    Family: Husband Scott, Daughter Gabrielle

    What I actually do at work:  I write grants and work with the development team in donor relations.

    My first job: I worked as a cashier in a Snyder Drug store

    What my biggest accomplishment is: I followed my dream and opened Art As You Like it in 2003 and had 16 great years of being an entrepreneur. It was the hardest job I ever had and the most rewarding. I am glad I was able to do it, but I am also glad that I am now able to do other things.

    Is my desk messy or organized: I am in a constant state of trying to figure out a work flow (messy!)

    My favorite vacation spot: Someplace pretty to hike or walk, a museum or art exhibit to visit, a body of water, good food, and a place to relax must be above 65 degrees, but below 90.

    Who my oldest friend is and where I met them: Robyn, we met the summer before Kindergarten. We have not lived in the same state since we were 9 years old, but continue to stay in touch all these years later.

    What I do for fun: I am currently exploring my artistic side, so I watch art videos, take art classes, and have been painting outside when the weather is nice—it gets me out and about to search for scenic things and beautiful areas around Minnesota and beyond.

    What I wanted to be when I was a kid: A teacher

    Something I’m obsessed with: Learning and creating in new art mediums. I love to buy the supplies and play until I am bored, or create cool things.

  • August 03, 2023 11:37 AM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Katie Knutson

    Organization/Title: Northwestern Mutual Director of Operations 

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Since 2019

    Hometown: St. Cloud

    Family: Husband Matt, Kids: Hailey, Jordan and Tyler

    What I actually do at work: A majority of my time is spent developing our younger in the business reps in the first few years of their business.

    How I help others succeedAsking lots of questions for them to self realize.

    Last book I readDaisy Jones and the Six

    Favorite vacation spot: I loved our road trip through South Dakota.

    Biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure: A good Bloody Mary

    What do I do for funSpend time at the lake

    What is my biggest pet peeveBeing late

    What are three words that best describe me: Compassionate, Loyal and Fun

    If I opened a business, what type of business would it beAdvocate! A business to advocate for those who are not able.

  • July 14, 2023 5:42 PM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Kelly Doss

    Organization & title: Resiliency Coaching, Owner & President

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Since July 2022

    Hometown: Alexandria, MN 

    Family: Mom, dad, three sisters, one brother, two nephews and four nieces. 

    What I actually do at work: I provide life coaching services for individuals and leadership/strategic coaching for organizations. 

    What is my biggest accomplishment: Starting my own business!

    Last book I read: The Prosperous Coach

    Favorite vacation spot: Have not been there yet, but I want to go to Greece!

    If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be: Tater tot hotdish.

    Biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure: Cookies.

    What I do for fun: Volleyball.

    My hero is: Ronda Rousey. 

    My silly fears: Deep water. I watched Jaws as a kid and I may be scarred for life   

    Three words that best describe me: Determined, genuine, and happy.

    What did I want to be when I was a kid: Lawyer.                          

    I'm obsessed with: Essential oils

    Other FEW members might be surprised to learn about me: I have 18 tattoos, and I am expecting to get another within the next few months.


  • June 19, 2023 9:21 AM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Jacque Bistodeau, but FEW members will better know me by “Frenchy” 

    Organization/Title: LB Carlson, LLP - Manager

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 11 years

    Hometown: Little Falls

    Family: Husband Alex, yellow lab Willow (9), two active boys ages 5 and 3

    What I actually do at work: CPA – the wearer of all hats. My primary focus is building a relationship with a client to advise them on accounting, tax, and business matters, either directly or being able to help connect them with the resource that can. I like to say I take my clients' accounting headaches/stress away.

    My first job: Server/Cook at Pizza Hut

    How I help others succeed: Empowered Women Empower Women

    Is my desk/office messy or organized? My desk is organized chaos

    My favorite vacation spot: VEGAS!

    My biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure?  Marvel Movies/Marvel Cinematic Universe

    What I do for fun: Softball

    My silly fear: Spiders (but I would argue this is a legit fear and is not silly)

    What I wanted to be when I was a kid:  Lawyer

    Something I'm obsessed with: Taylor Swift is my not so secret, secret obsession.

    What other FEW members would be surprised to learn about me: Without Rugby I wouldn’t be where I am today. I played Rugby for SCSU and continued to play for a Women’s team after graduating, and was the women’s college coordinator for the MN Rugby Union for a number of years. Rugby is how I met a large number of my lifelong friends and my husband. It was also a Rugby friend who told me to join FEW and brought me as a guest to a meeting when I first moved back to the St. Cloud area.

  • May 13, 2023 12:26 PM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Linda Allen

    Organization: Executive Director, Quiet Oaks Hospice House & Respite Care

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Since 2019

    Hometown: Born in Albany, MN and now reside in St. Cloud 

    Family: I am a daughter, older sister, aunt, mother, and grandmother- they call me Gigi.  My grandchildren- Brynn (5 ½) and Marco (2 ½) are my greatest joy.

    What I actually do at work: Manage interruptions and handle the day-to-day activities of operating a non-profit. Hopefully I guide, lead and inspire my staff along the way. I also have the honor and privilege to journey with family members whose loved ones are living out their final days. This is often wrought with anticipatory grief and I help people as they endure that pain.

    My biggest accomplishment: I am proud of the fact that, as a single mom, I managed to raise 2 incredible daughters while juggling and navigating some of the most challenging times in my life. I believe some of the greatest difficulties we face make us who we are.

    Is your desk/office messy or organized? Messy- yet I almost always know which pile something is in.

    Are you a task-oriented person or a people-oriented person? I am very much a people-oriented person and thrive when I am able to help others.

    Last book read: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

    Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere warm and sunny- preferably with a beach.

    The one meal I'd eat for the rest of my life: Pizza!  I am a fan of Canadian bacon and pineapple.  My all-time favorite was a BBQ chicken pizza with sauerkraut once made by Godfathers.  I don’t think they make it anymore but it was delicious!

    What I wanted to be when I was a kid: A teacher or a veterinarian.

    My favorite way to waste time: Binge on Netflix

    What other FEW members be surprised to learn about me: I was once a nun.  Actually, I played the part of Mother Superior in The Sound of Music. I haven’t done much theater since high school but love it and am planning to audition for something this year.

  • April 14, 2023 1:25 PM | FEW Admin (Administrator)

    Name: Gail Cruikshank

    Organization: Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation – Talent Director

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Since 2014 

    Hometown: St. James, MN


    • Husband, Tom
    • Son, Tyler married, to Ally with daughter Chloe 
    • Daughter, Katie engaged to be married May 27 to Austin

    What I actually do at work: I support our local employers, job seekers and community partners to support their needs in the area of all things workforce/talent. I help provide programs to support career exploration to our future workforce, connect current workforce with local employers, provide resources and connections to our employers to enable them to grow their businesses right here promoting our region in any way we can as the best place to live, work and engage.

    How I help others succeedI recognize and highlight their accomplishments providing them the support to connect and confirm their passions.

    My biggest accomplishment: Other than being a Mom, my biggest accomplishment has been coordinating key workforce events in Central MN – Talent Summit and Exploring Potential Interests and Careers Community Collaborative.

    The person who has had the biggest impact on who I've become: my Mom

    My biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure: cookies and Captain Morgan

    The three words that best describe me: Compassionate, Dedicated and Persistent – my colleagues refer to me as professionally persistent in successfully engaging folks to engage in our work as a non profit.

    My favorite way to waste time: do color by number pictures on my iPad                      

    What other FEW members would be surprised to learn about me: I was the rifle carrier in our High School Marching Band.

  • March 07, 2023 10:45 AM | Stef Tschida (Administrator)

    Name: Pam Bjerke

    Organization/Title: Stearn’s Bank CHRO, SPHR

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Less than 1 year

    Hometown: Rice, MN

    Family: Married with six children ages 26, 24, 17, 15, and two 4.5 year old twin girls 

    What do you actually do at work?  I work hard to place the right people in the right places to contribute to the organization’s success. I have an outstanding team and strive to support them in achieving their goals, and be a conduit for their success.

    What was your first job? I had my own paper delivery route in sixth grade. Growing up in northern MN, I recall some COLD delivery route days in the winter! 

    Favorite vacation spot? I love to travel! Norway, China, and Alaska are favorites that I would love to return to some day!

    What are three words that best describe you? Competitive, adventurous, and compassionate.

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? A professional fishing guide (and I still do!).

    What is something you're obsessed with? I sit on the board of Anna Marie’s Alliance and am extremely passionate about advocacy for women and children affected by domestic violence in our community. I’d love to share more about how we as women executives and our companies can partner with Anna Marie’s to provide support with all of you! Reach out to me!

    If you opened a business, what type of business would it beSomeday I’d like to have a fishing/outdoors guide service that caters to building skills of confidence and self-worth, particularly with children and women.  

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? I spend almost all of my free time in a boat (or on the ice) fishing and am a member of women anglers of Minnesota (WAM).  If you like to fish, WAM is a great place to learn more and be connected to a great group of women across the state!

  • February 08, 2023 11:17 PM | Trina Dietz (Administrator)

    Name? Julie Schomer

    Organization/Title? A Home for the Day/ Director

    Length of time as a FEW Member? March 2022

    Hometown? St. Cloud

    Family? Husband Daryl and son Camden

    What do you actually do at work? Many hats in a small organization - operations, marketing, payroll/bookkeeping, compliance, and of course interact with our members and make sure they have fun.

    What was your first job? Mixing paint at Mills Fleet Farm.

    What is your biggest accomplishment? It was God given but getting pregnant after a difficult infertility journey.

    Last book read? Four thousand Weeks

    What do you do for fun? Golf, camping, biking

    Who is your hero? My mom. She is a rock.

    What is your biggest pet peeve? When people repeatedly interrupt me.

    Do you have any silly fears? Mice- dead or alive.

    What is your favorite way to waste time? Real housewives shows.

    What is something you're obsessed with? Budgeting

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? I had a motorcycle in high school and through college.

  • February 08, 2023 11:01 PM | Trina Dietz (Administrator)

    Name: Kristin Hannon

    Organization & title: Sherburne State Bank, Retail Operations Officer

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 6 years

    Hometown: Sauk Rapids - now residing in St Cloud

    Family: My husband John - we have a 17-year-old son Andrew who is a Senior at Area Learning Center and we have a 13 year old daughter Annabelle “Annie” who goes to North Jr. High. We also have our 10 year old Black Lab Lucy. 

    What do you actually do at work: I'm not sure! I'm just starting a new position at Sherburne State Bank in mid-October as part of my 19-year career in banking, and looking forward to learning all about my new job. 

    What was your first job? I worked at Coborn's Video in Sauk Rapids- It was the best first job ever! 

    Is your desk/office messy or organized?  Very messy but I do know where everything is!

    Last book read? Run Rose Run- James Patterson & Dolly Parton

    Favorite vacation spot? East Coast- I absolutely loved Rhode Island

    Who is your oldest friend and where did you meet them? My friend Missi- we met when she was a freshman and I was a sophomore- we had a crush on the same boy- and we did not get along. Luckily said boy didn’t interfere with our friendship. We were each other’s Maid of Honors and we are godparents to each of our kids as well. 

    Who had the biggest impact on the person you have become? I think my high school band Teacher- Mr. C. Believe it or not I used to be incredibly shy and wouldn’t say boo. There was some sort of high school injustice going on in Band and through him, I learned how to process and also how to say what I want to say while trying to stay calm, cool, and collected. 

    What do you do for fun?  Read at the lake

    What are three words that best describe you? Kind, persuasive, welcoming

    What is your favorite way to waste time?  Read - I am always reading.       

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? While I love adventure, I will not ever do anything that includes free falling like bungee jumping, skydiving, roller coasters,

  • February 08, 2023 10:50 PM | Trina Dietz (Administrator)

    Name: Kayla Ward

    What was your first job? Laying sod and cleaning bathrooms for a family business

    How do you help others succeed? Challenging their thoughts and encouraging them

    What is your biggest accomplishment? My first thought is opening my own business and it being here almost 7 years later but truly I think waking up everyday and being a kind person is a bigger deal. 

    Is your desk/office messy or organized? I would say it's an organized mess. I know where things are but someone else might have trouble finding things.

    Last book read?  Hannah's Dream

    What do you do for fun?  Watch college hockey, sing in a choir, snuggle my furry family members, theatre, and spend time at the farm with my alpacas

    Do you have any silly fears? Anything in bodies of water that don't naturally belong there, specifically buoys  

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals and want to save them all. I think I was in junior high when I realized I would have to put animals down and that was a deal breaker for me. 

    If you opened a business, what type of business would it be? I already have a few but if I could open another I would definitely choose a coffee shop. It was one of my all time favorite jobs.

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? I played hockey until I graduated high school.

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