Katie Pinke, consultant and event speaker

The industry of agriculture was one that brought my family originally to the North Dakota prairie where my ancestors homesteaded and farmed. I learned, after I had left North Dakota and returned, that it is an industry I love to advocate for and connect people to where their food comes from. I have had opportunities to work across North America in food and agriculture but living and working in North Dakota agriculture and raising our family here is what I am most proud of today. After commuting 98 miles one way -- passing Starbucks along the drive at mile 97 -- while serving as the Marketing and Information Division Director at the North Dakota Department of Agriculture I stepped down in March to work as a consultant and speaker, allowing more time for our family routine and business. This new chapter has given me a broader platform and opened new opportunities for me to write, speak and share on issues important to me.


Sara Otte Coleman, Director of the North Dakota Department of Tourism

I get to brag about our state every day. I am not sure if Chief Marketing Officer is the correct description or if Cheerleader is more fitting since I need to balance the business of creating strategies that gets results with old-school spirit and enthusiasm. Although I spend most of my time managing and planning, what I really love is the creative ways we showcase our state. I enjoy helping pull the marketing pieces together- the vibrant photography, exciting video, engaging copy and planning fresh ways to get people interested in visiting North Dakota. It is also rewarding to see the new tourism entities open and existing ones continue to prosper. In the end, it is always results that drive me: a strong return in investment, new experiences to sell and -- most important -- growth.


Shelle Michaels Aberle, founder of Military Ovation

May brings a few of my favorite events into one month: Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 10), Mother's Day (May 12) and Military Appreciation Month. I am a milspouse, a "mom/mommy/mother" (all three daughters call me something different), and I have my own nonprofit, Military Ovation, that supports the military. Being a military spouse gives me a sense of pride, being a mother to three incredible young women gives me a sense of fulfillment, and supporting the military gives me a sense of gratification.

My strength is my networking and connecting of resources and people. I have created my own volunteer opportunities supporting the military; leaning on these skills in return directly tie into my career as the Development Director for North Dakota Teen Challenge. The circle comes around with my working in a faith-based recovery program for students with drug and alcohol programs. Seeing the work God is doing in their lives on a daily basis is incredibly rewarding.


Nicole Fehr, children and family education minister at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

I have the best job in the world. I have always had a strong passion to work with children. It just took a little longer for me to get to where I wanted to be with my career. However, with good friends, a very supportive family and a lot of prayers, God has put me right where I need to be. Through discussions with the pastors at Good Shepherd and by collecting materials for lessons during the week, I continue to grow in my own faith, which inevitably is shared with the children. I get to be part of that "Ah-ha" moment when they connect with our lesson and, most importantly, I get the great pleasure of helping each child strengthen their relationship with God.


Michelle Kaufman, owner of Hey Ocean and Right on Broadway

After spending five years away from Bismarck and doing a fair amount of traveling, I was ready to come back home and get to work. I have always loved retail, and I really missed the small, downtown shops that other cities had to offer. This is when I decided to start Hey Ocean, which features clothing, shoes and accessories. Since opening in June 2011 the store has quickly become a downtown fixture. Once Hey Ocean was off and running I started to think about my next project. I decided to invest in my community and opened Right on Broadway in March of 2013, which features footwear, handbags and accessories. I am very excited about the future here in Bismarck, and I am very proud of my businesses as well as the rest of the business community for the amazing growth we have seen here the last few years.


Claudia Berg, expansion and new initiatives coordinator

State Historical Society of North Dakota and North Dakota Heritage Center As the State Historical Society's expansion and new initiatives coordinator, my responsibilities include preparing the North Dakota Heritage Center to become the hub of history. We are enfranchising partners to create a project that will embrace the ideas and dreams of our visitors.

A native of Minot and graduate of UND, my background is in the visual arts. Creativity has been my passion from the beginning. Combining a creative attitude with community involvement led me into a 32-year career in museums. Responsibilities at the State Historical Society and as a board member for several organizations has provided an opportunity to be a team member that has developed, designed or advised on more than 30 museums and interpretive centers in North Dakota. Museums are mirrors; they can reflect the past, expose the present and reveal the future. Museums inspire me.

Small Business

Charlyne Kemmesat, owner of Boneshaker Coffee Company

I have great employees. Some of them are still here after eight years. I can rely on these people to take care of this place. We are very family orientated and that's what makes it possible to have Boneshaker. Our place is more of a home-based place. We have business owners, pastors, church groups -- it's a place of ministry. I feel like this is God's place and I just manage it for him. We provide an atmosphere where people can write, laugh -- a place to come and love on each other. We provide an incredible coffee and I know my product is good. We don't cut corners. What makes us successful is doing the best I can do.


Leslie Eckert, owner of Soul Interiors

I think as women, we demand and expect too much from ourselves. We strive to be the perfect mother and significant other. We want to be the perfect friend, sister and daughter all while having a successful career. Multi-tasking is a trait bred into women, and if we feel like we don't do it well, we are failing.

I have learned over the years, by playing the many roles we are handed, that simply being myself is the best. We are who we are ... imperfections and all. Those who accept us for who we are will be the ones worth having in our life. My wish is for all women to realize their own unique, beautiful selves and to play the only role they were born to play ... themselves.