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FEatured FEWs

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  • 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)


    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)


    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


    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

  • November 01, 2021 1:02 PM | Amanda Hackett


    Name: Stef Tschida

    Organization/Title: Owner, Tschida Communications | Owner, MN College Essay Coach 

    Length of time as a FEW member: Two months

    Hometown: Long Prairie, Minn.

    Family: Husband Troy, 9-year old Logan, 4-year-old Claire

    What do you actually do at work? Build relationships, help solve business problems with communications, project management, and work across my team.

    What was your first job? Waitress at the Village Café in Grey Eagle, Minn.

    How do you help others succeed? I help them understand how clear communication can solve business problems by helping them build and strengthen relationships with anyone who matters to their success. It’s so fun!

    Last book read? Who Not How by Dan Sullivan. Amazing business book about flipping your thinking to build your business by leveraging the right people.

    Favorite vacation spot? Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

    What do you do for fun? Read! If I’m being honest, it’s all I ever really want to do. This is why I don’t allow myself to read fiction unless I’m on vacation–because I’ll get sucked in and shirk all other responsibilities until I finish whatever book I’m reading!

    What did you want to be when you were a kid? A book author! I’d write stories and mix up the first and last names of my friends to be the characters. I just co-authored a book that was published in September, so I achieved this dream, though it was a business book, and not the fictional stuff I envisioned writing at a young age!                    

    What is something you're obsessed with? The show “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” on Food Network. I love to cook and eat, and I’m so inspired by the small business/entrepreneurial aspect of what each chef or owner does. They have marathons of Triple D on Friday and Saturday nights and if I’m being honest, I’d much rather watch them with a glass of wine than do pretty much anything else after a long work week!
  • October 01, 2021 8:55 PM | Amanda Hackett


    Name: Sandra Borstad

    Organization/Title: Talent Development Manager at Blattner Company 

    Length of time as a FEW member: Two months. It has only been a short time, but I have already seen the value of the group, enjoyed a few meetings and am impressed by the incredible women in the group. 

    Hometown: Avon, Minn.

    Family: I have two teenage daughters, Haille (17) and Ella (14)

    What do you actually do at work? I lead a team that includes instructional designers, training specialists, audio visual group and the Learning Management System administration. We create a variety of learning experiences for people located in the home office including orientation, onboarding, personal development, job specific and leadership training. We also support field training. We are currently working on launching a buddy program for new hires, creating training paths for each position and enhancing the onboarding experience.

    What was your first job? My first job was being a waitress at Charlie’s Café in Freeport. It was a great learning experience. Yes, they really did have the best caramel rolls around and possibly still do! 

    How do you help others succeed? The biggest thing I do is listen and ask questions. I believe everyone has what it takes to succeed inside of them. They might not always know it, so it helps to have someone believe in them and guide them. By listening I can tell where someone is at currently. Then, I can ask questions to help them see the way to move forward.

    Biggest indulgence? This is going to sound silly, but my biggest indulgence is bracelets, specifically wrap bracelets. I love them, especially if they have inspirational words or meaning behind them. It started about five years ago when I was going through a very challenging time in my life, I stumbled across a woman who made beaded bracelets with charms that had words such as faith or believe. She referred to them as armor and encouraged people to fierce forward through challenging times. That is what sparked my love of bracelets, and it has grown from there.

    What do you do for fun? I love road trips and being outside, finding new walking or hiking trails. I also really enjoy playing cards and board games. 

    Who is your oldest friend and where did you meet them? I have two friends I have known since I was in kindergarten.

    Are you a task-oriented person or a people-oriented person? I am both. Most people would say I am a people person. However, I always have three to-do lists going–one for projects around the house, one for things I need to get done daily at home and a work list.

    If you opened a business, what type of business would it be? I am not sure exactly what this looks like, but I would help people tell their stories through connection, photography and writing.

    What are three words that describe you? Kind, creative and resourceful

  • September 01, 2021 11:13 AM | Amanda Hackett


    Name: Lori Ruhland

    Organization/Title: Founder/Owner at Cinder Boutique 

    Length of time as a FEW member: 1 month

    Hometown: Cold Spring, Minn.

    Family: I have been married to Ryan Ruhland for 16 years. We have a 13-year-old son, Jackson, and a 7-year-old daughter, Claire.

    What do you actually do at work? I think a lot of people think owning a clothing boutique is just “fun” and while it is absolute fun, it is a lot more involved. I spend a great deal of time shopping my vendors’ inventory to find the perfect pieces for Cinder. Once items arrive, I organize a model shoot with the most amazing group of women, edit the photos, and then upload the photos, product information, inventory and price onto the website (www.CinderBoutique.com). Next I price tag each piece, steam them, and place them on display at our store front inside of Urban Style Salon in Waite Park, Minn. I also do website order shipments from my home office as well as packaging orders pick-up vs. ship. Starting in September, we will be doing Facebook LIVE Sales again on Thursday nights at 8 p.m.! I genuinely love every step of the process; well maybe not the steaming part lol. Nothing makes my heart swell more than helping women find the perfect piece(s) that make them feel like their very own version of CINDERella! 

    What is something you’re obsessed with? I have this crazy obsession with coffee mugs! It drives my family crazy because there is literally no room for anyone else’s cups in TWO cabinets!

    Who had the biggest impact on the person you have become? My late father. He was a business owner for over 30 years. He worked so hard, countless hours, yet always was there for me when I needed him. He found balance in his life. How many of us can say that?! I want to show my children that with hard work they can do anything. I also want to show them that being their mom is my number one job. He used to always say to me, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” I love that.

    What is your biggest pet peeve? Boastful behaviors. I believe in modesty. Let your hard work show for itself and pass on your wisdom to those trying to achieve their goals. There is room for everyone at the top.

    Do you have any silly fears? Maybe the better question would be, what am I not afraid of, lol! I am afraid of things that move fast…waterslides, roller coasters, and those wicket fast spiders!

    What is your favorite way to waste time? I really enjoy playing cards, board games or putting together puzzles with my family. It relaxes me.

    Are you a task-oriented person or a people-oriented person? I think I am a bit of both. Deep down I am more of an introvert so tasks are more my style, but I need people energy to keep my spirit alive.

    What are three words that describe you? Genuine + Caring + Sarcastic

  • August 01, 2021 7:12 AM | Amanda Hackett


    Name: Rachel Lolmasteymaugh

    Organization/Title: Sales Associate at FaceTime Business Resources

    Length of time as a FEW Member: 1 year

    Hometown: St. Cloud, Minn.

    Family: Ken (Doc) husband of 20 years, Warner (15), Eve (13), and Anna Rose (11) 

    What do you actually do at work? I help businesses, organizations, marketing professionals and marketing teams communicate their messages through physical pieces of marketing and design in an effective and consistent manner congruent to their brand. That includes commercial printing, promotional products and materials, apparel, signage and design services. 

    What is your biggest accomplishment? After going over my professional accomplishments, I realized it is my personal ones that are my greatest. I have a beautiful family that is happy and healthy. I have been happily married to my husband for 20 years and we have 3 wonderful, kind, caring, smart, well-adjusted children. That is not easy these days, and I feel as if my hard work and sacrifice have paid off. Having a good family is an accomplishment we don’t often celebrate, but we should! 

    Is your desk/office messy or organized? My desk is my computer which is semi-organized. I could probably clean up my desktop a little though. I work from home, at the office, in my car, at the coffee shop or anywhere that has wifi. I do have to clean out my computer bag often so that stays organized.

    ​​Favorite vacation spot? One I haven’t been to yet. I love traveling! I am headed to Nashville with friends this fall, Playa del Carmen over MEA with the family, and New Orleans with my girlfriends this winter. 

    If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Every morning my husband makes me the most amazing eggs. Sometimes on toast or avocado toast, sometimes he will add steamed mushrooms or tomatoes. Doc is very creative and nobody can make his specialty eggs like he can. Delicious! I am so spoiled!

    What do you do for fun? I love the people I have surrounded myself with and there is no end to the fun we have together. Spending time with my tribe both calms me and invigorates me. From live music to good food, events and celebrations, there is never a lack of something to do and wonderful people to do it with. 

    ​​What did you want to be when you were a kid? I was going to be a pilot that lived in New York City with my daughter. I didn’t quite make it as a pilot and I would never live in a big city now, but I was blessed with my daughters. The important parts of my childhood dreams came true.

    What is something you're obsessed with? I love to play games, especially cribbage. I am in a league with another FEW member and we have a blast playing together. I often set up mini tournaments at my house for our cribbage-playing friends. Even my birthday cake was cribbage-themed this year. 

    What would other FEW members be surprised to learn about you? Before going into sales, I used to be a teacher and own my own preschool and daycare. I love children!

  • July 01, 2021 12:35 PM | Amanda Hackett


    Name: Megan McClure

    Organization/Title: Owner of McClure Insurance Agency

    Length of time as a FEW Member: Was a member back in the mid and late 90s and rejoined a few years ago.

    Hometown: Hovland, Minn. (20 miles outside of Grand Marais)

    Family: Small family! My dad, younger brother, sister-in-law, and one niece, daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren and a fourth due August 16. They live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Lost my mom to pancreatic cancer at the age of 70; October will be four years ago.

    What do you actually do at work? My main focus is employee benefits and HR support as well as helping clients with Medicare coverage. We do sell ALL types of insurance within the agency; however, those are what I specialize in. Running/managing the agency and my staff takes up the rest of my time.          

    What was your first job? Dishwasher at age 14. Hardest job ever and worked very long hours at that age. Knew what I was not going to be from then on! Did a lot of babysitting, but that was not my first “paycheck” job.

    What is your biggest accomplishment? Running my own business for 30 years, becoming a successful agency, and generating 90% of our new clients from referrals (which speaks volumes to me).

    Favorite vacation spot? Too many so this is hard. Would have to say back home to Grand Marais and Hovland.

    Who had the biggest impact on the person you have become? My dad. I took over his insurance agency and worked for him a bit in high school. Very smart businessman that taught me a lot in business and school.

    What is your biggest pet peeve? Right now: our government giving away so much “free” money and not encouraging people to work for it!

    What are three words that best describe you? Trustworthy, kind, and fun.

    If you opened a business, what type of business would it be? Wellness shop for supplements and oils and use of relaxation chairs, smoothies and other items for self-care, or a small resort that would incorporate the wellness shop and breakfast for guests.
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