2022 35 Under 35 Alumna Amy Mickelson, Vice President Estimation and Operations, Dakota Fence

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

Like many women in our community, I wear multiple hats. I’m a wife to my rockstar husband Josh, a mama to Henry, Roy, Reese, and Fredrik, a want to be comedian, a retired Division I college hockey player, devoted women’s league golf participant, a dedicated pontoon rider on Pelican Lake, an avid hunter, a supportive friend, a caring daughter, fun aunt, a top-notch sister, and a dedicated community member.

What impact did your participation in the program have on you both professionally and personally?

Professionally, I think the confidence that grew within me over the course of six months really benefits my team and the company. Challenging conversations were very hard for me to have and with the skills I learned within the program, I can confidently sit down with someone and productively talk with individuals.

Personally, accepting and owning my success. So often, women downplay their successes as we don’t want to come off as pompous or arrogant. Saying thank you when someone gives you kudos is okay and does not mean you are pompous or arrogant. It is acknowledging confidently the hard work that was put in and graciously accepting that it was recognized.

What were some of the most important things you learned?

To take an extra moment to process information instead of immediately responding. It only takes 7-10 seconds to make a first impression and 20-30 separate interactions to fix that first impression. Understanding that a customer, team member, or others’ initial views of me occur in less than 10 seconds is important. Implementing the extra moment into my life allows me the best opportunity to generate a positive first impression and is worth the time as you may not get another 30 interactions to change it.

What advice would you have for young professionals out there?

Take a picture of yourself not smiling. Review it and ask yourself, do I look approachable. Mentally remind yourself of that photo you took and if you were approachable as you are listening or involved in groups. A reset of your facial expression is quick and will create more benefit to the conversation. Your own body language and facial expressions play a huge role in making people feel comfortable, which in turn gets the most out of your teammates.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.