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2016-17 FCS Professionals Award Winners

By June 8, 2017June 24th, 2021Uncategorized

2016-2017  FCS Professionals’ Awards

Submitted by Amy Lawson, Nominations Chair


The 2016-2017 FCS Professionals’ Awards were announced at our Year-End May Meeting at Urban Eatery on May 23rd! As announced at last year’s May meeting, we’ve revamped our awards’ structure by adding three exciting new categories! New this year are the Behind-the-Scenes-Star Award, the Spirit Award, and the Volunteer of the Year Award

Thank you to those members that submitted such thoughtful nominations – once again, your passion for recognizing your peers is heartwarming, authentic, and a joy to read.



This award is brand-new this year and it recognizes a member who works diligently to execute programming, results, and/or innovation within the organization but aren’t in any formal position on the board. The first recipient of the Behind-the-Scenes-Star Award is Marie Winker!

Faithfully and with expertise, accuracy and in a timely manner, Marie prepares PDU’s and CEU’s for our meetings. The offering of PDU’s and CEU’s help to build meeting attendance. Marie has been doing this service for several years! Programming is most appreciative. Members and guests collecting PDU’s and CEU’s are also thankful for the benefit.

For those that don’t know – The Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a national recognized measure of participation in an approved non-credit continuing education program. The Profession Development Unit (PDU) is part of the certification program for AAFCS. Marie is given meeting information and immediately goes to work accurately preparing forms-  absolutely no follow up is ever needed – the job is always done on time and done so, accurately.

Marie is a very quiet soul.  She never boosts and never brags!  Because of her quiet ways, members don’t know the important role she consistently fulfills.


This award was formerly known as the Making a Difference Award and it recognizes professionals who are new to their industry, have been members of FCS Professionals for 5 years or less, and have made a notable contribution to the organization. The recipient of the Emerging Leader Award is one of our newest members, Colleen Glenn

Colleen joined FCS Professionals in Spring of 2016 and immediately became active in the organization! She joined the Mixx and Mingle committee and was an enthusiastic ambassador at our meetings, greeting attendees and helping them network.

Colleen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and has clinical experience at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, McKesson MediMart, and is currently working on projects for Land o’ Lakes!

She is member of the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Twin Cities and of the American Dietetic Association. Colleen is also a very active member of The Junior League of Minneapolis.

You’ll also recognize Colleen’s name as being on the ballot for the 2017-2018 Slate of Officers as she has agreed to be the nomination for the ambitious position of Program Chair Lead – we’re very excited to see what Colleen has in store for this next year!

Colleen exemplifies the intelligence, tenacity, thoughtfulness, and progressive mindset that will be welcomed by our industry – we look forward to seeing her grow professionally both in her field and as a member of FCS Professionals!



This award recognizes a member who represents the community-involvement-spirit of FCS Professionals through community outreach/enrichment they perform. The inaugural winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award is Laurel Severson!

Laurel consistently gives of her time and talents profiting her community and receives no reimbursement for her worthy deeds.

Laurel has been involved in 3 major transitions where volunteering involved emotions and long histories of the organizations resulting in significant changes! Three major transitions that she has led and guided are Phi Upsilon Omicron, the West 7th Community Center, and the Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Laurel has also been part of Volunteer activities that have proven (and proved) to be complicated and difficult!  Some very notable accomplishments as a volunteer include both current and past experiences:  Currently, it’s being the Citizen Representative on the Riverview Corridor Policy Advisory Committee, working with both high-profile businesses and high-ranking government officials; and, previously it was as a Co-Chair of the Minnesota council for Gifted & Talented, co-chairing the annual conference in 1986 with “Space” as the theme, and needing to find replacement programming when the unthinkable happened and their keynote speaker, Astronaut and Teacher, Christa McAuliffe perished in the Challenger explosion. The conference committee was faced with changing the theme, hiding the reality after many students had watched the launch in their school classrooms or proceeding with an alternate keynote speaker. Laurel met with space officials in Washington DC without having an appointment, arranged for a no-charge astronaut with a semi-trailer of exhibits and a secondary speaker. Also, Laurel served as a volunteer coordinator for the International Special Olympics, 1991. This was a 9-day event involving 6000 handicapped athletes and 2000 coaches from around the world!

If you think those mentions are impressive, buckle up! These are her current volunteer activities and accomplishments:

  1.  TC HEIB/FCS Professional member since early 70’s.
  2.  From 2016-2017 she has been the TCHC vice president and is their incoming 2017-2018 president.
  3. For the West 7th Community Center, she has Chaired the annual spaghetti dinner for the last 10 years and has head the annual community service award committee for the past 22 years.
  4.  Laurel has mentored neighborhood special need students last 30 years and purchased 14 bikes for them one summer.
  5.  She has solicited and delivered clothing for the Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church for 25 years; she has been an usher for 6 years, and an advocate for 2 seniors including their transportation to church.
  6.  For Meals on Wheels, Laurel has assisted with the assembling of 16,000 meals each Thanksgiving morning for the past 25 years.
  7.  She has been a 10 year volunteer for the Festival of Nations
  8.  She is an 8 year volunteer for Project Home helping host homeless families in various churches.
  9.  For the past 7 years, she has volunteered with the Athabaskan youth from Tok, Alaska – collecting and delivering approximately 20 cases of books to Native American youth. Laurel is in Alaska for several weeks each summer assisting.
  10.  She has been a “special pal” for 6 years to an assigned 2nd-grader at Somerset Elementary School.
  11.  For the past 6 years, she has cleaned and tended to boulevard city gardens along the river bluff for the Cliff Street Gardens.
  12.  AND! For the last 15 years she’s been an annual election judge for Ramsey County.


This new award recognizes a member that has shown championing behavior for our organization. The first recipient of the FCS Professional’s Spirit Award is Karen Smith!

Is an enthusiastic and energetic member

– Owns a kindred spirit

– Possesses team spirit characteristics

– Always speaks positively about organization

– Suggests changes in positive & helpful ways

– Shares ideas & concerns

– Engages family members in meeting learnings & together with her family, takes action

– Has brought husband Rob and daughter to meetings

– Invites and brings other guests to meetings

– Writes and submits articles for Direction and Blog without being asked

– Reaches out to speakers and they in turn visit her classroom and have filmed her school garden. Oh, it was Bobby Jensen & Belinda.  Segment made TV.  WOW!

– Is a member that organizations dream about having

– Wherever she goes, she shines with professionalism, poise, femininity, and caring ways!

– Has her class & style perfectly aligned!

– Participates actively at FCS Professionals meetings.  Asks appropriate questions.

– Actively participating in FCS Professionals Mentoring program. Role model for others to participate.

– Has secured thousands of dollars in grants and donations for school gardens

– Previous MAFCS Teacher of the Year

– Successfully & continually betters her best

– Importance of family ranks high with this FCS Professional member

Has stated that she’s the “Luckiest woman in the world being Robbie Smith’s other half and the mother of two beautiful girls.”

– A teacher & community leader that effectively makes things happen

– Is a Monticello Junior High Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teacher

– Retiring from teaching this spring and gradually assuming a marketing role for Healthy Oilseeds, LLC

– Gave a presentation at 2017 MAFCS State Conference on Healthy Oilseeds

– She knows the paths of happiness, opportunity, success, prosperity and enjoyment!

– Member is our brilliant shining star — always shining bright!


This award honors a member for leadership in their profession and outstanding service to this organization. This is the highest organizational award a member can receive. The recipient of this award was enthusiastically nominated by 3 different members! The 2016-2017 FCS Professional of the Year is Sarah Wangler!

Sarah is a Creative Marketing Professional with a strong background in the food industry. She works with companies to make their retail products stop-able, shop-able and sell-able. She typically works on food packaging, creating new brands, advertising, promotions, brand strategies, graphic design, websites, and sales materials. She serves on the Institute of Packaging Professionals board of directors and serves as a mentor to several college/university business/marketing students.

In the spring of 2014, Sarah agreed to chair the name change committee and implemented further steps to gather feedback from members and move forward with not only a name change, but with thoughtful analysis of the mission, vision and goals of the organization.

Sarah organized four listening sessions at which members were encouraged to share stories, thoughts, and feelings about their personal involvement & history with TC HEIB, the relationship between the organization and their career, and the benefits of membership. Members were also encouraged to share their concerns and offer suggestions for building on the history and traditions of the organization. Sarah made extraordinary efforts to include every member who wanted to be part of the process. She also analyzed membership data in order to help members make an informed and thoughtful decision regarding the name change. This included the type of work and businesses that employed the members so that the name change could truly reflect the membership. She also conducted sessions with high school and college students to get their impressions about the organization, and to seek input that might better position the organization for relevance and future growth.

She brought all this information to the board, and the members engaged a professional and impartial facilitator to lead the group through the process of identifying an organizational name that members could support and be proud of. Even when her personal feelings may have differed from the group, or she encountered bumps in the road, she remained a true diplomat and leader – always allowing the group to make the decisions needed. And she did all of this while in the role of organization President, managing her own business, and organizing a move to a new residence for her family. She has also continued to be involved in related tasks in her role as an Advisor to the board.

Sarah also led the initiative to completely operate electronically through our website. Monthly Meeting notices and registration are now conducted within the website with credit cards purchases. Joining our organization or renewing membership is offered through the website as well. While we had some website presence earlier, it needed expansion and more design which Sarah developed with BigRedDog Solutions, after interviewing several possible partners. Sarah was the perfect person to lead this paradigm shift in the organization, as that is how she helps her own clients in her company, Sweet Marketing Success.

One of the members that nominated Sarah, closed their nomination with the following piece, and I’d like to share it with you here:

Eric Fletcher, in his online blog entitled “Marketing Brain Fodder” writes about the traits of a true professional. He says that true professionals take responsibility even when faced with difficulty; possess crystal-clear self-awareness which manifests itself in their honesty, intentional listening, and having a big-picture perspective; they build bridges and deflect personal credit; and they follow-up and follow-thru. Sarah exemplifies these traits and is deserving of the FCS Professional of the Year Award.



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