Hometown: Albert Lea, Minn.
Family: Husband, Kevin; cats, Lucy and Ricky
Career path: I’ve been in the hospitality industry for most of my career. I started in hotels, working the front desk, night audit, concierge, housekeeping, everything I could. I kept moving, trying different roles, and ended up in a catering position at a Minneapolis venue. That’s how I got into meeting planning.
Today’s work: I plan continuing medical education courses nationally and internationally for physicians and other health care professionals. Typically, I do 8 to 10 courses a year and, along with the course directors, I manage all aspects of the events, from the course concepts at the beginning to the evaluations after it’s over, and everything in between.
Best part of the job: The people. I meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world. Some attendees come to the same courses every year, so I get to know them. It’s a treat to welcome them back year after year.
Purse power: I decided to get involved in Power of the Purse because it sounded like a great cause, and I wanted to meet other people from the community. It has been a fun and rewarding experience. The community support has been tremendous. Last year, the event sold out with 548 people attending the luncheon.
Fueling imaginations: The program Power of the Purse supports, the Imagination Library, is wonderful. Right now in Olmsted County, it sends a new book to about 6,000 children each month from birth to age 5. The value of putting books in the hands of kids is something everyone can relate to and understand.
A lifelong love: I’ve always loved reading. I was an English major at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, so this cause is close to my heart.
Downtime: With my work, the traveling it involves and my volunteering, I don’t have much free time. But when I do, you can find me gardening, reading or cooking. Standing in the kitchen for a couple of hours, making some exotic dish, is relaxing and fun.
Enjoying SE Minn.: When I lived in the Twin Cities, my commute was an hour one-way. Here an hour or so gets you to wonderful small towns like Lanesboro and Decorah that are fun for a quick getaway. That’s part of what makes this area such a pleasant place to live.
Favorite childhood book: We always had lots of books around home. Two that come to mind are “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. “Blueberries for Sal” reminds me of all the canning my mom did when I was little and still does. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was an amazing book. Oompa-Loompas, a chocolate lake and a three-course dinner gum. Wow! Just thinking about it makes me want to go home and read the book again.
Tracy Will is a freelance writer who has lived and worked in the Rochester area since 1995.