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FEatured FEWs

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  • 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.


  • January 12, 2023 3:26 PM | FEW Admin (Administrator)
     

    FEATURED FEW

    Name: Kayla Girgen, RD, LD

    Organization & title: Founder & Digital Creator LIFe – Lose It Forever, an app-based group coaching program for women after bariatric & metabolic surgery

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Two months; I'm a newbie! 

    Hometown: I grew up in Royalton and currently reside on Kraemer Lake near Saint Joseph.

    Family: My husband Jeremy & I have been together for over 15 years; happily married for 10. We have two XL cats – Molly & Beaker. 

    What do you actually do at work: I own & operate an online group coaching program for women after bariatric surgery. My day consists of a mix of everything! Client check-ins, app development, content creation, marketing, etc. I am a one-woman online small business!

    What was your first job? My parents owned Books 'N Stuff (now the city hall) in Royalton, and I put my organization skills to work by alphabetizing books.

    How do you help others succeed? I help others succeed by meeting them where they are at & finding solutions that suit their unique lifestyle. We've been overcomplicating nutrition for far too long, and my goal as a dietitian is to simplify nutrition and provide practical ways for my clients to feel their best inside and out. 

    Last book read? The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

    Favorite vacation spot? My husband & I love backpacking the North Shore – especially in the fall. The scenary never gets old!

    If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fish tacos!  

    Who had the biggest impact on the person you have become? My sister Kelly. She has a rare genetic condition called Cohen syndrome. She taught our family patience, persistence, and how Road Runner makes for a good laugh regardless of your mood (MEEP! MEEP!). 

    Biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure? Bad Habit Brewing; we live way too close 

    Do you have any silly fears? hate grasshoppers!

    What is your favorite way to waste time? I love reading and soaking up the sun on the pontoon.                 


  • June 16, 2022 3:24 PM | Sam Switzer (Administrator)

    Name: Greta Stark-Kraker (pronounced Crocker)

    Organization & title: Central Minnesota Community Foundation Executive Director

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Three months

    Hometown: St. Cloud/Central Minnesota

    Family: Husband and three grown step kids and three dogs

    What do you actually do at work: I’m the Executive Director of CMCF, collaborate with community leaders and help our donors achieve their philanthropic goals through the community foundation. I do this by engaging people, connecting resources and building community. We truly are better together.  In addition, I get to help CMCF staff, board members and volunteers provide a concierge level of engagement and commitment to our community as a whole.  

    What was your first job? I worked at Dairy Queen on Hwy 10

    How do you help others succeed?  I believe in building people up and bringing people together to better our community for all. 

    Is your desk/office messy or organized? Definitely organized clutter

    Are you a task-oriented person or a people-oriented person? People orientated 

    Favorite vacation spot? In the winter anywhere with a beach and palm trees and in the spring, summer and fall the North Shore.

    Who is your oldest friend and where did you meet them? My best friend Amy, we met in high school homeroom.

    If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mac-n-cheese?

    Who had the biggest impact on the person you have become? Barb Carlson, former CMCF Development Officer.

    Biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure? I love fun shoes!

    What do you do for fun?  Enjoying a quiet road trip on a backroad, snowshoeing, quilting, long walks with my dogs, and spending time with family and friends.

    What are three words that best describe you? Empathetic, Adaptable, Convener

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? Teacher 

  • May 16, 2022 12:08 PM | Sam Switzer (Administrator)

    Name: Ann Thelen  

    Organization & title: Falcon National Bank Business Development Coordinator 

    Length of time as a FEW Member: < 6 Months

    Hometown: St. Cloud, MN

    Family: Married to Dave for 32 Years -Allison 27 years old  Josie 24 years old 

    What do you actually do at work:  I am a Relationship Banker as part of the Business Development Team – I also direct the Gold Club Members (50 plus) 

    Who is your oldest friend and where did you meet them? My oldest friend would be Julie McPhee who I met on the 1st day of kindergarten. She lives in Dallas Texas and we stay in touch still to this day.

    Favorite vacation spot?   Favorite vacation spot is Ixtapa Mexico. 

    What do you do for fun? I love to travel , go to concerts, and reading 

    What is something your obsessed with? I have an obsession with candles 

    Do you have any silly fears? I am afraid of heights

    If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? My favorite food is PIZZA 

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? I am defiantly a people- oriented person. 


  • April 01, 2022 12:05 PM | Sam Switzer (Administrator)

    APRIL FEATURED FEW

    Name: Kristyn Nelson      

    Organization & title: Premier Real Estate Services, REALTOR

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 4 years     

    Hometown: Ortonville, MN          

    Family: Husband is Darell – 20 years, Sawyer is 16 and Samantha is 18

    What do you actually do at work: I help people in buying or selling homes, land, cabins or an apartment complex

    What is your biggest accomplishment? I spent 16 years building a successful business that I sold to allow me to be home with my son. 

    Is your desk/office messy or organized? Organized – I love watching organization videos on YouTube

    Are you a task-oriented person or a people-oriented person?  People – oriented person

    Last book read? I’ll be there. (But I’ll be in sweatpants.) by Jess Johnston

    Favorite vacation spot? Negril, Jamaica

    Who is your oldest friend and where did you meet themHer name is Amy and we met at my first job out of college. She lives in Two Harbors, MN but we see each other four or five times a year. We have been friends for 25 years.

    What do you do for fun?  I love to cook. It relaxes me. It fills a basic need but also allows me to create and do things with my hands. I was in a cooking club for many years and miss it so much!! 

    What is something your obsessed with? Travel, but it is so hard right now. I need the sun so going south during winter but also just experiencing new places.


  • March 01, 2022 12:01 PM | Sam Switzer (Administrator)

    MARCH FEATURED FEW

    Name: Kelly Sayre

    Organization & title: The Diamond Arrow Group, Founder & President

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 7 years

    Hometown: Rockville, MN

    Family: Husband, and two boys 8 & 10, and our 190 lb. Great Dane wanna-be lap dog

    What do you actually do at work: I teach situational awareness skills to the everyday person, specifically women, to save lives and prevent trauma and just released my first book on the topic. 

    What was your first job? Delivering the Shopping News newspaper all over Rockville once a week in 4th grade. I had to cross Highway 23 TWICE on the route. Now that I’m a mom to a 4thgrader, I can’t believe my parents were okay with that. 

    If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza. All day, every day.

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? A Veterinarian or Zoo Keeper for Tigers.

    What is something your obsessed with? Studying violent behaviors to learn early warning signs so I can share that knowledge with women to (hopefully) avoid themselves ever having to experience violence. And dancing to live music.

    Biggest indulgence/guilty pleasure? Watching any of the Real Housewives shows.

    Do you have any silly fears? Playing infield at a baseball or softball game. I have this nightmare vision of getting creamed by the ball. I don’t know why because to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never actually had it happen to me! I prefer the outfield when I’m “highly encouraged” to play with extended family.

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? I can’t stand to eat yogurt. I really, really want to be able to eat it. It’s always served as a breakfast option, and many times the only other option with bagels or donuts, and my body craves a protein at breakfast. That’s why I always carry protein bars, every where I go. Haha!

  • December 01, 2021 8:44 AM | Amanda Hackett

    DECEMBER FEATURED FEW

    Name: Mary C Bruno

    Organization/Title: Owner at Bruno Press

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 3 months

    Hometown: Born in State College, Pa., but grew up in St. Joseph, Minn.

    Family: My mother, Maryann, and older brother, Marty 

    What do you actually do at work? ​I run a small letterpress printing business. My day starts with getting my interns and employees on track filling orders and getting social media posts all ready to rock. Then I start on design projects on the computer or printing on the 100-year-old presses in the shop.

    What was your first job? Dishwasher at Kay’s Kitchen at like 13. It was horrible and I often cried, it was terrible.

    How do you help others succeed? I do enjoy helping others in any way I can, I am a good teacher and I want to pass on the things I have learned. We all do better when we all do better. 

    What is your biggest accomplishment? My Tedx Talk, a HUGE printing project of the The Rule of Saint Benedict, cover of MSP/St. Paul Magazine.

    Favorite vacation spot? Just returned from a week in Cabo and I would say that it is right up there! Otherwise I enjoy ALL travel, Paris, Buenos Aires, you name it, I love it!

    Do you have any silly fears? Snakes coming up through the toilet, sharks in a swimming pool, Jason (the killer) outside my window. 

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? A veterinarian. I LOVE animals.                      

    What is something you're obsessed with? Ted Lasso

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