Minneapolis, MN

Years of ABSF Membership:

Physician Assistant – Hospital Medicine

Why are you interested in being a member of the ABSF Board of Directors? 

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and the Birkie Trails have shaped my life in ways that pre-date me. My parents traveled north to participate in their first Birkebeiner ski race over 30 years ago and fell in love with the event, the community, and the surrounding land. As a result, I had the fortune of spending my weekends as a kid exploring the outdoors on a mountain bike and pair of skis. I’ve participated in the Barnebirkie, Junior Birkie, Prince Haakon, Korteloppet, and this past year I completed my 10th American Birkebeiner.

I want to become a member of the ABSF Board of Directors as a way to give back to the community that has provided me with so much. It is important to me to see that the trails and events are preserved in order for people of all ages to learn and to love living an active outdoor lifestyle.

I also believe that I bring a unique perspective to the board that is currently underrepresented. I’m a 30 year-old woman; once a competitive skier at the collegiate level, now a “normal” person trying to balance being an elite athlete with a full-time career. I’ve seen the growth the Birkie has made in promoting female participation, such as their investment in the Ski de She. I am so thankful for the pioneering women before me who have worked hard to create those opportunities. And, I think there’s room for more growth; to empower women and other underrepresented groups to be members of the sport and the lifestyle the ABSF has to offer. In 2012, the first year I skied the full Birkebeiner, women made up approximately 19% of the field. In 2023, women were 22% of the field. In comparison, at Grandma’s full marathon in 2024, approximately 41% of finishers were women. I’d like to explore how, as a ski community, we can do more to encourage retention and ongoing participation in the sport after high school, and reduce barriers to entry into the sport, especially for women and other underrepresented groups.

What knowledge and skills do you possess that can benefit the organization?

In addition to my experience as a competitive skier and my love for all things Birkie, I’ve held various leadership positions. In my years as a student, I held roles such as captain of the XC, Track and Nordic teams, student council member, vice president of the biology honors society, and representative on the student athlete advisory committee. In more recent years, I’ve gained experience in leadership as a healthcare provider on committees to improve patient care in the hospital setting, as well as mentor and precept students. I’ve also been a volunteer and coach for several youth and high school running and ski programs.

In many of my leadership roles I have had the responsibility of communicating with boards of directors. I have learned that most governing bodies and the people that they represent ultimately desire the same outcomes. Sometimes there are differences in how we see the best way to achieve that; ie, how resources should be distributed. I have experience in being the communicator, or liaison, between governing bodies and the people those groups represent. In my years as a student-athlete at Gustavus College, I was impassioned by several campus decisions, including the withdrawal of funding and eligibility of our NCAA ski team. I dedicated myself to hours of meetings with the Board of Directors and gained a lot of perspective on how and why decisions are made. I then developed skills in how to solicit funding for a competitive club team. I’m ready to step into a new challenge where I can use my past experience to advocate for those who share the same mission, vision and values that the ABSF holds; to create cohesion between groups who desire the same outcomes.

How do you see yourself helping to fulfill the ABSF vision, mission and values? 

The ABSF’s vision, mission and values are the words by which I live my life. Most importantly, the mission to promote healthy active outdoor lifestyles. It’s why I became a healthcare provider. It’s why I continue to lead by example; by moving my body daily and setting new goals and challenges for myself (I just signed up for my first triathlon…!). It’s why I bring and find joy in coaching for Minnesota Youth Ski League and high school ski teams. It’s why I act as a team player by volunteering at events like the Minneapolis World Cup! As an ABSF member, I will continue to do all of these things, but I’m also excited about the opportunity to support and represent a foundation that has ingrained these values in me and seeks to instill in others.