2023 35 Under 35 Alumna Kate Molbert, Chief Operating Officer, Great Plains Food Bank

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Fargo but lived away for about ten years—mainly in Boston and Minneapolis. I am so grateful to be living back in Fargo amongst my family and friends. Prior to 2021, my professional background was mainly in corporate finance roles and mergers and acquisition work. Beginning in 2021, I entered the non-profit world by joining Great Plains Food Bank as COO, where I manage our programmatic, operations, food sourcing, and root cause work.I live in West Fargo with my husband, six-year-old daughter, and dog. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family and friends, be outside, go to yoga classes, and read.

Tell us about your career path since participating in the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program.

In the last year since I completed the program, I haven’t made any changes in my career path. I did however make a large shift from corporate finance to non-profit work about three years ago. My experience in the program confirmed for me that the shift was a good choice; I was in the right role at the right organization for my current personal and professional goals.

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

Personally, my participation in the program opened me up to 35 women that I would not have likely encountered through the normal course of life. I was often in awe of these women and their strength, vulnerability, and the impact each of them had made on the world around them.

Professionally, I valued the time to focus on making myself a better leader. I learned several concrete skills to assist me in better managing my work and team. I also built a strong network of others in my program and volunteers or speakers at the sessions that I could go to for advice.

What were some of the most important things you learned?

I have people-pleasing tendencies, like so many midwestern women, which in the past has caused me to struggle with facilitating effective conversations on difficult topics. There were a few sessions that gave me tools to have more effective conversations around issues with performance or culture. I felt confident in how to manage those situations after completing the program.

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