Sam Hillier, Family Coach, Jeremiah Program

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I continued my education a few years later to receive my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction: teacher leadership from MSUM. I currently live in West Fargo with my husband and our sweet golden retriever, Ellie. I enjoy exploring the outdoors, reading, anything that revolves around wellness and pursuing personal and professional growth! I am both a peoplelover and animal-lover and get so much enjoyment from connecting with others. I love high-energy environments as much as I love a night of binging Netflix on the couch. I’m always on the lookout for my next adventure and an opportunity to experience something new!

I have dedicated my entire professional career to serving children and families in our community as well as working towards breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Even though I have held various positions within the realm of human services, they have all had similar missions. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to serve, advocate and connect with so many people throughout the past years!

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

The most influential people in my life are the ones that I hold the nearest and dearest to my heart. My connections with my loved ones push me to do better and be better each and every single day. They challenge me, support me and encourage me to reach the highest of heights. They celebrate successes and mourn the losses. I also truly believe I am surrounded by some of the kindest, smartest and most driven people out there. Seeing people around me reaching their goals while also supporting me in my own personal and professional growth journey is such an inspiration. I am thankful for each and every connection I have made throughout the years because they have all gotten me to where I am today. My hope is that I am able to return the favor and positively influence and inspire those around me as well.

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

Living in a state of gratitude for the people, things and experiences around you can get you through the toughest of days. Find your tribe of people and love them hard. Never miss an opportunity to do good and show kindness to others. Growth is always a good thing. You are what you surround yourself with, so choose wisely. The majority of life’s stressors come from the way you react to it—change your mindset, change your life. Do one thing every day that pushes you to where you want to be tomorrow. And most of all, love yourself fearlessly because you being your authentic self is the greatest gift you can give this world.

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

I love checking out local events such as live music, the Red River Market in the summertime and anything unique and fun! When the weather is nice, my favorite thing to do is leash up my dog and explore the different walking paths and parks that our community has to offer. I do enjoy volunteering at different organizations as well. Being involved with places that have varying missions that I’m passionate about is a great way to incorporate different interests of mine into my everyday life. One of my goals for 2023 is to become more connected to our community and the people in it. Thanks to this program, I think this goal will be easier to achieve than ever before!

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

Reading has been a hobby of mine ever since I was a little girl. During the last decade or so I never had much of a chance to read as I had deemed other things in my life as a higher priority. As of last year, I have graciously welcomed this hobby back into my life and am so thankful! A book I always recommend to people looking to make some big changes in their life is “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. Reading through this book helped me learn more about myself and develop a clear vision of what I want my future to hold. I read this book for the first time about six years ago and still use some of the concepts that I learned to reach my goals now, even years later!

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

First of all, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program! One month in and I can already tell this program will have a number of positive outcomes for my life. Throughout the next few months, I hope to be challenged as I grow to become a stronger version of myself, both personally and professionally. I hope to gain confidence as a leader. I hope to learn new skills and amplify the strengths I already possess. The biggest thing that I hope to gain is life-long connections with the other 34 well-deserving women seated at the table next to me. I thrive off connecting with others, especially those with a growth mindset similar to my own.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

There are so many things that I’m passionate about and am interested in! One of my biggest passions is connecting with others and encouraging them to reach their fullest potential. I truly believe a leader is only as strong as the people around them and I love to encourage, support and serve others. Even though this does correlate with my professional background in human services, it also pours into my personal life as well. I’m also passionate about personal growth and pursuing overall wellness. When people hear the word “wellness” they typically think of fitness and eating good food. The idea of wellness encompasses so much more than that and I have recently dedicated myself to discovering more about what living a healthy, balanced life means to me. Ever since getting my dog a few years ago, I have developed a strong pull to advocate for other animals and involve myself more in the rescue world. Maybe 2023 will be my year to explore that more!

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