Abby Furchner, Vice President of Engagement, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Red Wing, Minnesota (yes, where the boots are made) and came to NDSU in 2014. I fell in love with the FMWF community as it not only brought me new friends but also my fiancé and fur baby! In my free time, I enjoy reading thrillers, watching true crime documentaries and checking out the newest restaurants in our community.

I’ve been in my field a little over a year! I joined the Chamber in November of 2021.

What is important to you about the work that you do?

I think the work I do is important because we focus on the health and growth of our business community. My priority is to make sure that our business community is being provided resources where their team members can grow both professionally and personally. [We help] them make connections with other businesses, [and educate] them on the work we are doing in our Public Policy and Advocacy arena and how certain aspects of this area affect them directly. Overall, I’m here to be a listening ear for our business community and further help them find ways to get engaged and make an impact.

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

My sister was always someone I looked up to. She’s four years older than I am and at a young age, she always had a strong work ethic. If she started something, no matter if she loved it or not, she was going to finish it. At 15 she started her own business (buying, breaking and selling horses) and while it was a lot of work, she showed me how successful you could be if you put your mind to it. Her dedication, passion for everything she did and always challenging the status quo was admirable.

What drives you?

The two things that drive me are building connections and watching others build their confidence. I enjoy encouraging others and it’s a rewarding feeling seeing them accomplish their goals and break their own glass ceilings.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your lifetime?

At one point in my life, I was one of those people who were just trying to get to the weekend. What I learned is that life’s shorter than you think. Start enjoying the Tuesdays and stop wishing for it to finally be Friday.

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

Oh boy. It was hard to narrow down this list! If I had to pick just a few of my favorite things, I would say grabbing brunch at Blarney Stone in West Fargo, using the community trails for long walks (when it’s warm!) and enjoying happy hour at either Drekker or on the patio at Brewtus’ Brickhouse.

What is your dream job and why?

I genuinely enjoy watching people develop themselves both professionally and personally. I think my dream job would be doing coaching/development internally for a company or organization. I think a strong team is one that invests in its people by providing them with training on how to be the best versions of themselves.

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our readers?

You are a Badass. I read this book my senior year of college and wow. It helped me overcome the noise of others’ opinions and truly listen to my own voice. It helps me overcome times of self-doubt and strengthen my confidence in my own decision-making.

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

I’m hoping to gain overall confidence as a leader. Not only in my role, but as a leader in our community. This program has challenged me to look at the barriers I may be creating for myself that are hindering me from reaching my fullest potential.

I’m also excited to make connections with other strong female professionals and to use them as a sounding board throughout my journey both professionally and personally.

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

I think one thing our business community could do better is by engaging our student population, whether this be providing job shadowing, more internship opportunities, etc. We continue to see students leave our community before or after graduation to go to bigger cities because of the opportunities and “cooler” experiences. I think if we were to engage with students more or provide professional development opportunities for current interns/students, we would see a higher retention rate. [Encouraging] our students to explore their passion areas and allowing them to attend networking events, volunteering and helping them find resources, they’ll see just how much our community has to offer them. When we invest in our students, we are investing in the development of our future community leaders.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

I’m a huge advocate for the BIO Girls program and have enjoyed being a mentor to these young girls over the last two years. The impact that this program has on young girls is incredible. Watching the girls grow in confidence from the beginning of the program to the end is truly incredible.

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