Access: It can change your life

Danielle Stellner smiling on a roof in St. PaulAs a child growing up in Chicago, Danielle Stellner ’07 heard mixed messages in her community about the importance of education. But in her family–a family of modest means–there was never any doubt that excelling in school was non-negotiable. Her mother made that clear.

Then, at the age of 18, Stellner herself became a mother. She knew her son was a real blessing. She also knew she yearned for something more in life, but she wasn’t sure what.

As she looks back over the years now, she is impressed at how dramatically access can change one’s life and trajectory. Access to college, access to job opportunities, access to mentors.

Stellner stands with her partner above the ruins of Machu Picchu
Danielle and her partner Herbert on a trip to Peru

One such mentor for Stellner was Erik Nycklemoe, an early supervisor in her career whom she sees as the first person to care about her career and life development. He made it possible for her to earn her B.A. from Augsburg, she says, making her the first in her family to earn an undergraduate degree. Access to evening/weekend study at Augsburg’s Weekend College (now Adult Undergraduate program) was a real break for Stellner, who needed to balance studies with being a working mom.

Moving to Minnesota in search of a safer life for Deion, her three-year-old son, Stellner landed an internship at a 24-hour news station in downtown Minneapolis, then moved on to editing, producing, and hosting. This experience helped hone her skills in content creation and delivery, and she later joined Minnesota Public Radio (a “happy accident”), where she now serves as Managing Partner of Business Planning. She sees public radio as more relevant today than ever. “You can trust public radio to rise above the pack and provide not only relevant news without slant, but arts and cultural programming that consumes you,” she says, and then quotes Thomas Jefferson: “…wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government….”

She also found time to complete an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, where she had access to another mentor, Lisa Bittman–a Godsend, and a grounding force through some tough years, she says.

In the whole process, Stellner fell in love with Minnesota and with her now-husband, Herbert Stellner, and they later welcomed two more children into the family, Herbert Stellner IV (9) and Clara Gem Stellner (7).

Stellner poses in cap and gown with her three children
Stellner completed her MBA at the Carlson School of Management

Stellner recalls her student days at Augsburg with gratitude, especially the fantastic lecturing of Dr. David Matz (sociology). In recent years she has reconnected with her alma mater, thanks to Shelby Andress ’56, who introduced her to the Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) group–”the most incredible group of women I’ve ever met,” says Stellner. She is grateful to now be serving as co-chair of the AWE Council.

Stellner also serves on the board of Friendship Academy of the Arts, a blue-ribbon school that serves predominantly African American students, and on the board of Isuroon, an organization committed to self-sufficiency of Somali women and their families. Recently elected board secretary, Stellner is drawn to the organization by its dedication to changing the narrative that is portrayed in mainstream media to one that more accurately reflects the true family values of Somali culture.

Even with a demanding work schedule, Stellner and her family manage to keep a garden, and take delight in eating the fruits of their labors. But they wouldn’t mind some additional time with no agenda–time for family play, reading for pleasure–and perhaps a few extra hours of sleep. During Homecoming this fall, Stellner will be honored with Augsburg’s First Decade Award.

–by Cheryl Crockett ’89

Join AWE for an evening of women in music

Close-up of Riverside Singers performing. Text reads "Augsburg Women Engaged. Join AWE for an evening of women in music. Sunday, March 26 6-9 p.m."Join the Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) Philanthropy Council for an evening of choral music by, for, and about women!

Nancy Grundahl will lead the Augsburg College Riverside Singers in the annual WomanVoice: Voice of Hope choral concert. Women’s choirs from around the area, including the University of Minnesota Women’s Choir and Encore! of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir will join hearts and voices to sing music by, for and about women.

Sunday, March 26, 2017
6-7:15 p.m.    Pre-concert reception sponsored by AWE
                        Oren Gateway Center lobby
7:30-9 p.m.   Voice of Hope choral concert
                        Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, Augsburg College

Space is limited. Parking permits will be provided. RSVP by March 20 to Becky Waggoner, Alumni Relations Program Coordinator, at 612-330-1085 or waggoner@augsburg.edu.

About the Riverside Singers
The Riverside Singers, directed by Nancy Grundahl, carry on the long tradition of treble choirs at Augsburg College. The singers participate with other Augsburg musical organizations in the annual Advent Vespers each Christmas season at Central Lutheran Church. Participating in chapel services several times during the year is an important part of the choir’s mission, as is hosting an invitational treble choir festival each fall.

Nancy GrindahlAbout Nancy Grundahl
Nancy Grundahl is a conductor, composer and soloist and holds vocal performance degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota. In addition to her position with the Riverside Singers of Augsburg College, she is the conductor of the Angelica Cantanti Concert Choir, a youth choir based in Bloomington, Minn. and is the Director of Music at Mayflower U.C.C. in Minneapolis. More than sixty of her arrangements and compositions for choirs have been published by Kjos, Hal Leonard, Augsburg Fortress, Alliance, and Santa Barbara music publishers. She conducts honor choirs throughout the upper Midwest and is active as an adjudicator, clinician, soloist, and guest conductor.

Logo: Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) - Connecting. Learning. Giving.About the Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) Philanthropy Council
The AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council was created in 2015 to function in an advisory and support capacity to Augsburg’s Office of Institutional Advancement. Our goal is to strengthen the culture of philanthropy among Augsburg women of all ages. We focus on ways to educate, engage and celebrate Augsburg’s alumnae donors and women in the community.

AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council: Shelby Andress ’56; Debby Crowley ’76; Rachel Engebretson ’98; Lisa Latham ’83; Joni Marti MAL ’05; Lori Moline ’82; Kris Pearson ’78; Cindy Sisson ‘83; Danielle Stellner ’09; and Lisa Zeller ’81, MAL ’89.

Augsburg Women Engage Philanthropy

AWE logoAugsburg Women in Philanthropy (AWE) is excited to formally create the AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council. The Council functions in an advisory and support capacity to the Office of Advancement. Our goal is to strengthen the culture of philanthropy among Augsburg women of all ages. We will focus on ways to educate, engage and celebrate Augsburg’s alumnae donors.

Just two years ago, a small group of AWEsome women put up a bold goal—to raise $100,000 and sponsor a student study lounge in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. We went on to surpass our goal and to date have raised $126,000. There is still time to be a part of this landmark campaign that will close on December 31, 2015.

This shows what a committed group of women can do. It is no surprise that the secret to making positive and lasting change in the world is hidden in plain sight. In fact, it is more than half of the population. Women vote more, volunteer more, and give more to charities than men. They control more than half of the total wealth in America!

Brick5Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy
This campaign has generated so much enthusiasm and renewed so many wonderful memories and stories of Augsburg legacy. Before the campaign closes on December 31, there is still time to honor a special person, a faculty member, Auggie family members, and classmates. The personalized brick wall will have a prominent space in the new building.

Some inspiring examples include:

Brick4“Thank You, Dr. Norma Noonan” • “Our friendship is a Phoenix: Britt, Wendy, Jen, Tash, Steph, Jodi” • Delta House ’72-’74: Lien, Lus, Tesmer, Turrittin • Mrs. Pete, Teacher, Mentor, Friend” • “Psalm 25:  O Lord … teach me your paths” • “Thank You Augsburg College!”; AWE-Inspired!

There is still time to participate! Visit augsburg.edu/csbr or contact Donna McLean at mclean@augsburg.edu to plan your tribute.

We are women.  We are Auggies.  Leading the way – creating confident, joyful donors!

The AWE-Inspired Philanthropy Council: Lisa Zeller ’82, ’89 MAL • Shelby Gimse Andress ’56 • Kris Pearson ’78 • Elizabeth Tweeton Odegaard ’04 • Rachel Olson Engebretson ’98

Capturing the Imagination

KariLoganWhen Kari (Eklund) Logan ’82 agreed to assist a client in raising public awareness of the value of trees, she decided to hang huge price tags on the trees in the front yard of Minnesota’s State Capitol. The client, the Minnesota DNR’s Division of Forestry, was pleased. In fact, the rush of media attention that followed resulted in the act’s replication by foresters across the country and even other parts of the world.

At CEL Public Relations (Plymouth, Minn.), where Logan heads up the media relations team, capturing the public’s imagination is the norm. With eight years’ prior experience in TV news and programming (WCCO-TV and KSTP-TV), Logan is well-connected and can pull out all the stops (websites, newsletters, TV coverage, campaigns, and numerous other marketing communications) in order to assist CEL clients. Primarily a writer, she especially enjoys the diversity of subjects that cross her desk every day, including CEL’s signature areas of service—education, urban forestry, financial services, and the arts.

Having joined the firm in 1990, when it was only two years old, Logan has helped increase awareness in numerous areas, including pregnancy and infant loss, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and eldercare. She has worked and dined with famous chefs, including Ina Garten and Andrew Zimmern. In 1993 she became a partner in the firm.

Kari Ren Fair-2When she isn’t writing, you may find her singing in a theatrical production. Logan recalls her first visit to Augsburg, as a junior high student, to see Godspell with her older sister, Lori (Eklund) Quello ’77, then a student at Augsburg. That night, Logan knew she “had to be part of Augsburg Theater.” Continue reading “Capturing the Imagination”

Join AWE & the Augsburg Associates for an Augsburg Women’s Event

AWE_Associates-Email-Invite-Header (2)Augsburg women of all generations are invited to a morning of engaging conversation, laughter, and inspiration.

Saturday, May 9
9-9:30 a.m. Registration
9:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Program
Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center at Augsburg College

Cost: $25 per attendee

Add $25 to your registration to sponsor a student

Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) and the Augsburg Associates are teaming up again this year to continue the conversation.  Attendees will get a glimpse into the life stories of Augsburg women through music, art, drama, writing and the spoken word. Together, we will come to a better understanding of how we can find peace and confidence in measuring up amid life’s challenges and rewards.

Auggie women of all ages are invited to attend!

Hear stories from: Kari (Eklund) Logan ’82, Kristin Eggerling ’89, Tara Sweeney, & Becky Shaheen ’11

For more information:

612-330-1085 • alumni@augsburg.edu

Spirituality Event Inspires Learning and Reflection for Augsburg Women

Augsburg Women Engaged. Connecting. Learning. Giving.The recent AWE-inspired event Spirituality: Going Deeper. Insights from Christianity and Buddhism was exactly that – inspiring! St. Thomas Law Professor Susan Stabile shared her spiritual journey from her Catholic childhood in Brooklyn, New York to taking a vow as a Buddhist nun and back to where she is now, a practicing Catholic.

Augsburg Religion Professor Marty Stortz hosted the evening in a room filled with Augsburg alumnae and friends who were eager to learn and fascinated by Susan’s story.

After telling her story, Susan led participants in a Buddhist meditation exercise that she has adapted for Christian meditation, designed to send healing intentions to friends and family members who are suffering. This meditation is found in her book, Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation, available on amazon.com.

Lee Furman ’61 enjoyed the evening and said about Susan Stabile, That woman is dynamite. I hope that she will also work with us for a retreat and of course we will all pay for that. Susan Stabile was just out of this world. I am enjoying her book. So it was just a perfect evening. Thank you.”

The AWE advisory council will explore options on recommendations for a half-day retreat with Marty Stortz and Susan Stabile within the next few months, based on a recommendation from the group.

AWE is a catalyst for tapping the potential for women to connect, learn, and give. We believe all women have knowledge, experience, and resources to share. Therefore, alumnae are invited to make meaningful connections with and for Augsburg’s AWEsome women by participating with an AWE Action Team. We welcome participation in whatever way best suits your interests, circumstances, and availability.  If you would like more information please contact Sara Schlipp-Riedel at 612-330-1178 or schlipp@augsburg.edu.