My adventure began playing in Idaho’s Snake River, skiing down local ski hills and awkwardly riding my bike around the college campus where my parents worked…. a skill I still haven’t quite acquired. Always proud of my Idaho roots, I was also determined to define myself, to strike out on my own and live in the big city. So, I packed up and headed off to college. Soon I found myself exploring the world through Gonzaga University’s study abroad program in Florence, Italy, where I developed a love of travel, adventure, cheese, wine, and did I mention cheese?
After graduating from Gonzaga with a degree in Communication, I found myself being called back to Idaho by my big brother, Mike, who regaled me with stories of a City of Trees. A happening city in Idaho? I had to see it to believe it. In Boise, I was able to reconnect with the land, back to spending time on rivers, lakes, and skiing. It was so much fun!
But, the city life was still calling me…along with my mom who was literally calling me to say, “It’s time to get a real job!” So, once again, I packed up and moved from the City of Trees to the Windy City to pursue a career in public relations. I learned so much during my time in Chicago! Grassroots marketing, media relations for a political client, event planning, and more. I also learned that as much as I loved the Chicago skyline, it had nothing on the mountain views back home.
When I returned to Boise, I threw myself into my new position as the Program Director of a developmental disabilities agency. There, I developed leadership and organizational skills and the love of developing a sound budget. After a few years there, life and love started calling me to a new adventure. This time, I was headed way outside of my comfort zone to the very small, very rural, town of Salmon, Idaho.
If you would have told me then that this Salmon adventure would lead me to podcasting, travel to the Iditarod, and a life immersed in natural resources that I would play a role in helping people working through conflict based on hundreds of years of passion for our public lands….and that I would raise chickens and become a trail runner - well, I never would have believed you.
And that is exactly what happened! All of those adventures paved the path that ultimately led me here: to the National Forest Foundation. As NFF’s Reforestation Partnerships Manager, I will be working to develop partnerships with sustainability-minded companies. I am so excited to contribute the lessons from my past to NFF’s 50 Million for Our Forests Campaign and to learn from my new team as we forge ahead on a new adventure, working to help our forests, one tree at a time.
October 2020 Update: Mindy is now the NFF's Reforestation Partnerships Acting Director.