Why did you choose to join the UWNEMN board originally? After participating in the fund distribution process and being able to hear first-hand from organizations that were supported by United Way and its donors, I knew that I wanted to support UWNEMN beyond my donation. I learned in that process that not only does the UWNEMN responsibly shepherd donations into a WIDE range of groups, but they also provide guidance and professional support to our area’s smaller, homegrown non-profits that may not have the resources of a larger organization behind them. It isn’t only about providing financial support. It’s about helping others succeed at their respective missions as well. The team at the UWNEMN care deeply about building our communities, building up our people, and making us stronger than we were the day before and I wanted to be a part of that.
What have you found you most enjoy serving on the board and working with UWNEMN? Finding hope. I have been on the board through downturns in our mining industry as well as the pandemic, and they were difficult times for our region and our people. Scary times. Uncertain times. But through those, the members of the board and the team at UWNEMN continued to have hope for our region and faith in our resilience. Because of my career, I tend to live in a bit of a mining “bubble,” and being on the board has helped me meet folks in other areas of the community that are passionate about building the Range. The energy and passion from everyone is contagious and gives me hope that the Range will weather any storm we face.
What is your favorite UWNEMN event? My first impulse is to yell out “Flavor of the North!” because let’s face it, the restaurants that donate their time, energy, and amazing food are just awesome. But I have also really enjoyed volunteering with the United for Veterans events when I’ve been able to do so. It’s an honor to give back to our area’s veterans.
What do you like best about living in our region? I love our resilience and grit and our commitment to our region’s future. I love that if you care deeply and are willing to contribute your time and energy, you will find a place to do so, and your efforts will make a difference. Whether it’s in UWNEMN volunteering, the schools, sports, clubs, etc., you matter, and you can help shape our region. We believe in our future and recognize it will be different from our past, but we are finding ways to adapt and build where we can because this is our home. (And the abundant forests and lakes aren’t so bad either!)
Julie is the Executive Director of MiningMinnesota and has served on UWNEMN’s Board of Directors for nine years.