If you opened your own business, what would it be? If I was to open a business I would open an indoor market (think Chelsea Market style) that sells goods to support humanitarian causes. Shoppers get unique gifts, art, gear or clothing while supporting causes they are passionate about.

What advice would you give your younger self?  I would tell my younger self that you are beautiful, strong, and worthy...flaws and all. I would tell myself that the challenges you face today will make you resilient and passionate; learn now from these experiences and it will serve you well later.

Exceptional Skills- Strategy, brainstorming, remaining calm in chaos, analyzing data, creativity, understanding the perspective of others.

What makes you feel fulfilled? I’m fulfilled when I give my time and talents in a way that makes others feel fulfilled.

When asked to describe yourself, what’s the first word that pops into your mind? Determined. The surest way to get me to do something is to tell me it can’t be done. I’ve also found that achievement is a big value driver for me; when I’m achieving things, big or small, I feel more fulfilled and settled. Determination serves my need for achievement. Favorite Book- There are so many good books it’s hard to pick just one! The book I finished most recently was The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It was incredibly well written.

What makes your heart race? My heart races when I think about the future. Thinking about possibilities and what could be is incredibly exciting. Everyone should take time to dream about the future. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want for your life and your family? How will it feel when you’ve accomplished it?

Organization or cause near to your heart- The organization closest to my heart is Give Grace, Give Hope, Inc. Our mission is to eliminate the gap between need and access of menstrual products. We specifically address the needs of the homeless, low income, and students in our state. I hope that someday there are pads and tampons in all public restrooms.

What keeps you up at night? My endless to do list keeps me up at night. There’s so much I want/need to do! I have endless books I want to read, projects to complete, people I want to help, and precious family to spend time with. My brain is always thinking up new ideas, so there’s never a shortage of things to do.

What is a belief you once held but no longer do? I used to believe that past life experiences defined me; that I was flawed because of things that were outside of my control. I know now that those things were a gift. A gift to teach resilience and strength. Our past does not have to define our future.

What are you interested in connecting with other women about? I’d love to connect with other women about their story; what made them who they are today and drives them forward? I’d also like to hear people’s perspective on period poverty. Where can I be doing more in our community for this cause?

Melissa Knutson

Vice President, Founder/Executive Director

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