35 Under 35 Feature: Jenna Wallace, Nurse Practitioner, Sanford Health

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Jenna, and I am 34 years old. I grew up in Cavalier, ND, and attended NDSU, where I met my husband, Mark Wallace. I worked as an ER nurse for five years before graduating with my doctorate from NDSU and becoming a nurse practitioner. I work primarily in the family medicine department. Mark and I have two children, Hattie (5) and Rory (3). I love spending time with family and friends. My favorite hobbies are ones that are active: running, water sports, biking, golfing, and playing with my kids!

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why? Who inspires you?

The United Way 35 Under 35 Program is dedicated to developing women leaders, and I am all about female empowerment! However, I want to acknowledge two very important men in my life, my dad and my husband. My dad has always taught me to work hard and do what is right. My husband continues to influence and inspire me every day. He is the reason I applied for the United Way 35 Under 35 Program. I would also like to add that I have been and continue to be so inspired by all the nurses I work with now and have worked with in the past. Nurses continue to work tirelessly to care for others while not getting the recognition they deserve.

What drives you?

My drive and motivation come from my desire to help others. Healthcare is always changing and advancing, so I continue to seek out educational opportunities to provide the best patient-focused, evidence-based care possible.

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

I am somewhat unique among this cohort as I work in healthcare and not in a traditional business setting. However, I think any workplace has room for improvement regarding communication and efficiency.

What are some important life lessons you have learned?

We should strive to be our authentic selves and practice empathy towards others. Treat everyone with kindness and respect; you are no more important than anyone else.

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

I love checking out new restaurants, bars, and coffee shops around the area; bonus points if it is downtown! I enjoy different events that come to town: concerts, comedians, markets, sporting events, etc.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to be in a balanced state between life and work. I want to still be a nurse practitioner, caring for patients. In addition, I may be in a leadership or educational role to supplement my practice. I also hope I am a busy mom attending my kids’ various extracurricular/sporting events. Along with work/kids, I hope I’m still “dating” my spouse with nights out or fun getaways!

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

I hope I learn more about myself and ways to not only be an effective leader but also a great co-worker and team player. I also look forward to networking with all types of professionals and building lasting friendships.

What are your passions outside of work?

I’m passionate about being the best mom to my kids and finding new activities for them to learn, explore, and move their bodies. I also enjoy staying physically active and prioritizing exercise in my busy schedule—even if that means waking up crazy early. Our church has an amazing kids program that I enjoy volunteering for. I hope to continue to grow in my faith and be a faithful example for my kids.

Tell us about 1-2 books, podcasts, or professional development experiences that have changed the way you view leadership.

I really enjoy reading books by Brené Brown. Books of hers that I have enjoyed thus far are “Daring Greatly,” “Gifts of Imperfection,” and “I Thought It Was Just Me.” Not only do these books have a way of being very applicable, but her content is also based on several years of research. I think if everyone could embrace vulnerability and imperfections, it would allow everyone to work together in a way that is productive, safe, and rewarding.

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