Executive Leadership

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Norman Leslie

President

  • 30+ years of Hospitality Experience
  •  Grew up in the hotel business, working in positions from the bottom up
  • Serves on a variety of regional and national boards

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Sarah Koustrup

Chief Strategy Officer

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management
  • Master Certification from Cornell in Hospitality Management with a focus on Financial Management and Hotel Revenue Management
  • 12+ years of Leadership and Human Resources Management Experience

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Kelly Haas

Director of Training and Development

Kelly was born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She began waiting tables at a local restaurant, then supervisor and marketing director which kindled a passion for customer service. In 2012 Kelly graduated with honors from the University of Houston’s Hilton College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management & Marketing. Since 2013 she has worked front desk, housekeeping, operations and into an Area General Manager role developing a penchant for organizing and opening hotels. Kelly resides in Richmond with her pets, Thor, Ginger and Sugar.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management & Marketing from University of Houston’s Hilton College
  • 10+ years of hospitality operational experience
  • Experienced in aligning systems and processes across diverse portfolios
  • Passionate in opening hotels and developing team building and engagement
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Jenny Kleinwachter

Senior Executive Assistant

  • 15+ years of Business Administrative and Customer Service Experience
  • 5+ years of Office Management Experience
  • Graduate of Rasmussen Business College
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Crystal Heimark

Office Manager

Bio

  • 10+ years of Customer Service Experience
  • 8+ years of Office Administration
  • 2+ years assisting with Accounts Payable

Operations and Sales

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Clare Albrecht

Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Clare grew up in small town, Forman North Dakota. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and during that time she started her first position in hospitality as an intern for National Hospitality Services. Clare currently resides in East Grand Forks, MN with her husband, Dexter and two little girls, Addison and Ava.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communications and Business Minor from Concordia College, Moorhead
  • 10+ years of hotel sales experience
  • “Vision Award” nominee for Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal
  • Major Brands experience including Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Radisson, and Wyndham
  • Experience in full-service, limited service and extended stay brands
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Ousman Conteh

Vice President of Operations - Full Service

Bio

Sandi was born and raised in Charleston, WV. She later moved to South Carolina to and began her career in the hotel business working different line level positions up to management. She earned her Hospitality Marketing Business Degree from Horry-Georgetown Tech in Myrtle Beach, SC. The hotel industry presented her with a new opportunity after college, relocating her to Virginia. Sandi now resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

  • 25+ years of hotel operations experience
  • Multi-brand experience including Wyndham, Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Casino, and independent hotel
  • Serving on the IHLA Board of Directors since 2001
  • Board Member of the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce since 2022
  • Board Member of the Chicago NorthShore Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2002
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Drew Lynch

Regional Director of Operations

Bio

Drew Lynch was born and raised in St. Peter, MN. Drew started his travel/hospitality career working with Hertz Rent-A-Car before moving into the hotel industry. He currently resides in St. Michael, MN. with his wife Elie and their two sons. Drew spends his free time watching movies and watching his boys play sports.

  • 12+ years of experience in Hotel Management
  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from St. Cloud State University
  • Experienced in Select Service and Extended Stay properties
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John Woody

Regional Director of Operations

Kelly was born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She began waiting tables at a local restaurant, then supervisor and marketing director which kindled a passion for customer service. In 2012 Kelly graduated with honors from the University of Houston’s Hilton College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management & Marketing. Since 2013 she has worked front desk, housekeeping, operations and into an Area General Manager role developing a penchant for organizing and opening hotels. Kelly resides in Richmond with her pets, Thor, Ginger and Sugar.

  • Certified Hotel Administer
  • 20+ years hotel General Manager experience
  • 4 years Military Service in the Air Force
Alycia Bilbrey

Alycia Bilbrey

Regional Director of Operations

Kelly was born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She began waiting tables at a local restaurant, then supervisor and marketing director which kindled a passion for customer service. In 2012 Kelly graduated with honors from the University of Houston’s Hilton College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management & Marketing. Since 2013 she has worked front desk, housekeeping, operations and into an Area General Manager role developing a penchant for organizing and opening hotels. Kelly resides in Richmond with her pets, Thor, Ginger and Sugar.

  • 20+ years of management experience
  • Accomplished in Extended Stay Limited Service and Boutique Hotels
  • 6 years Combat Engineer North Dakota Army National Guard
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Daniel Coffin

Regional Director of Sales

Bio

Ashley was born and raised in the small town of Prattville, Alabama. She earned a dual Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Auburn University Montgomery. She worked in various sales management roles throughout her career prior to entering the hospitality industry in 2016. She currently resides in Millbrook, AL with her husband, Bryant, young son Braxton, and their two dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with various organizations within her community.

  • Bachelor’s of Science, Indiana State University
  • Sandler Sales Training
  • 10+ Years of Hotel Management Experience
  • 10+ Years of Sale & Sales Management Experience

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Kara Naylor

Regional Director of Sales

Bio

Ashley was born and raised in the small town of Prattville, Alabama. She earned a dual Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Auburn University Montgomery. She worked in various sales management roles throughout her career prior to entering the hospitality industry in 2016. She currently resides in Millbrook, AL with her husband, Bryant, young son Braxton, and their two dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with various organizations within her community.

  • 20+ years in Hospitality with heavy focus in Sales and Revenue Management
  • Multi-Chain experience including Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Choice and Independent brands in select service, full service and extended stay
  • Hilton MVP Winner
  • Hands-on leader who is committed to driving results

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Angie Benz

Regional Director of Sales

Bio

Saul Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of Houston Downtown he started his hospitality career beginning in Engineering and working his way into managing Hotel Operations. Excelling in working within diverse environments he has successfully lead award winning teams. Now residing in Katy, Texas, Saul enjoys playing soccer, learning new cooking recipes, watching Marvel movies with his favorite Superhero, Spider-Man and spending time with his family including his dog named Happy.

  • 6+ years of hospitality experience
  • Extensive background in Marriott, select service and extended stay
  • Master Connections Certified in Optimizing Strategic Sales

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Saul Hernandez

Regional Director of Facilities

Bio

Saul Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of Houston Downtown he started his hospitality career beginning in Engineering and working his way into managing Hotel Operations. Excelling in working within diverse environments he has successfully lead award winning teams. Now residing in Katy, Texas, Saul enjoys playing soccer, learning new cooking recipes, watching Marvel movies with his favorite Superhero, Spider-Man and spending time with his family including his dog named Happy.

  • BBA in Supply Chain Management 
  • 6+ Years of Hospitality experience working with different brands from Hilton and Marriott Hotels
  • Experienced in Extended Stay Properties 
  • Strong multi-brand compliance and standard allocation among hotel portfolios
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Derek Harper

Senior Task Force General Manager

Bio

Saul Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of Houston Downtown he started his hospitality career beginning in Engineering and working his way into managing Hotel Operations. Excelling in working within diverse environments he has successfully lead award winning teams. Now residing in Katy, Texas, Saul enjoys playing soccer, learning new cooking recipes, watching Marvel movies with his favorite Superhero, Spider-Man and spending time with his family including his dog named Happy.

  • CHA Certified
  • 20 years in Hospitality
  • Bachelor’s degree in Music Education
  • Multiple brand experience with IHG, Marriott and Hilton
  • IHG Certification in Operations and Sales
  • New build and opening experience
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Marquis Armstrong

Task Force General Manager

Bio

Saul Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of Houston Downtown he started his hospitality career beginning in Engineering and working his way into managing Hotel Operations. Excelling in working within diverse environments he has successfully lead award winning teams. Now residing in Katy, Texas, Saul enjoys playing soccer, learning new cooking recipes, watching Marvel movies with his favorite Superhero, Spider-Man and spending time with his family including his dog named Happy.

  • 16 years in the hospitality industry including sales and operations
  • Multi-brand experience including IHG, Marriott and Hilton
  • Accomplished hotel transitions & major renovations
  • Certified IHG General Manager & Sales Director

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Toby Lund

Task Force General Manager

Bio

Saul Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management from the University of Houston Downtown he started his hospitality career beginning in Engineering and working his way into managing Hotel Operations. Excelling in working within diverse environments he has successfully lead award winning teams. Now residing in Katy, Texas, Saul enjoys playing soccer, learning new cooking recipes, watching Marvel movies with his favorite Superhero, Spider-Man and spending time with his family including his dog named Happy.

  • 10 + years in Full-Service Hospitality Industry
  • Focused experience in multidisciplinary sales & operations
  • Experience in Marriott, IHG & Wyndham properties
  • ServSafe certified
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Deon Smith

Task Force General Manager

Bio

Dane Johnston was born and raised in West Fargo, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in December 2016. When Dane is not working, he enjoys spending his time outdoors or with his friends at Old Chicago.

  • 15+ years of Hotel General Management/Human Resources experience
  • Multi-brand experience including Marriott, Wyndham, IHG, Radisson, Hilton
  • Mastered new construction, major renovations and acquisitions
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Tony Balderas

Area Chief Engineer

Bio

Dane Johnston was born and raised in West Fargo, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in December 2016. When Dane is not working, he enjoys spending his time outdoors or with his friends at Old Chicago.

  • 7+ Years of Hospitality experience working with different brands including Hilton and Marriott hotels
  • 7+ years of management experience with the position of Chief of Operations and Chief Engineer for hotels
  • Certified Pool and Spa Technician
  • Certified Welder
  • 3+ years as a Volunteer Firefighter
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Dane Johnston

Senior Business Performance Analyst

Bio

Dane Johnston was born and raised in West Fargo, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in December 2016. When Dane is not working, he enjoys spending his time outdoors or with his friends at Old Chicago.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics
  • 2+ years in the hospitality industry
  • Member of the Society of Actuaries
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Cameron Carlson

Marketing Specialist

Cameron Carlson grew up on the north side of Fargo, ND and is now raising his family in the house he grew up in. His growing family includes a dog, his two-year-old son, his partner, Lauren, and a newborn expected in September of 2021. Cameron has spent the past 5 years as a restaurant General Manager in charge of day-to-day operations, marketing, and management of the business. In his spare time, Cameron enjoys spending as much quality time as possible with his family, traveling, and managing his photography business, ``Key Photography.``

  • AAS in Management, Marketing and Sales
  • 10+ years of customer service experience
  • 5+ years of management experience

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Kurt Baumann

Area Chief Engineer

Bio

Dane Johnston was born and raised in West Fargo, ND. He graduated from North Dakota State University in December 2016. When Dane is not working, he enjoys spending his time outdoors or with his friends at Old Chicago.

  • Certified Pool and Spa Technician
  • 10+ years maintenance experience

Food and Beverage

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Colin Gilbert

Task Force - Food & Beverage

Bio

  • 8 Years of Hospitality Experience
  • 4 Years of Food and Beverage Management Experience inside of Hospitality
  • Experience in both Ramada and Marriott Properties

Accounting and Finance

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Tyler Liebl

Vice President of Accounting and Finance

Bio

Melissa Welter-Jahnke was born and raised in Rush City, MN. Melissa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Rasmussen College in Fargo, ND and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Benedictine University, Chicago, IL. Currently Melissa resides in Casselton, ND with her husband, 5 kids, and three dogs.

  • Dual Bachelor’s in both Business Administration and Finance from NDSU
  • COSO Internal Control Program Certified
  • Member of the AICPA
  • Expertise in Accounting & HR software integration, implementation and transition
  • Track record of process improvements to promote efficiencies and increase stakeholder value
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Kevin Kragnes

VP of Capital Services

Bio

Melissa Welter-Jahnke was born and raised in Rush City, MN. Melissa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Rasmussen College in Fargo, ND and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Benedictine University, Chicago, IL. Currently Melissa resides in Casselton, ND with her husband, 5 kids, and three dogs.

  • 30+ years in banking
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Graduate of Commercial Lending School and North Dakota School of Banking
  • Served in various local community organizations including President of the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and West Fargo Exchange Club
  • Licensed in Property Casualty and Life and Health Insurance
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Melissa Jahnke

Treasury Controller

Bio

Melissa Welter-Jahnke was born and raised in Rush City, MN. Melissa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Rasmussen College in Fargo, ND and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Benedictine University, Chicago, IL. Currently Melissa resides in Casselton, ND with her husband, 5 kids, and three dogs.

  • MBA with a concentration in Finance & Accounting
  • Over 25 years of Accounting Experience
  • 5+ years Payroll Processing Experience
  • Skilled in all aspects of Treasury, Accounts Payable and Cash Flow Reporting

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Elisabeth Jastram

Senior Corporate Accountant

Bio

Elisabeth grew up in Hawley, MN with her four brothers and four sisters. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota. Elisabeth now resides in Fargo, ND. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting
  • 8 years of accounting experience in the hospitality industry
  • 11 years of overall accounting experience
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Alex Anderson

Senior Accountant

Bio

Alex Anderson grew up in Gwinner, North Dakota with his parents and five younger siblings. Alex graduated Magna Cum Laude earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Alex now resides in Fargo, North Dakota and spends his free time with family and friends.

  • 3+ years Accounting Experience
  • Member of Beta Gamma Sigma’s “Best in Business”
  • Experience in Accounts Receivable and varied accounting systems
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Hayley Schiefelbein

Senior Accountant

Bio

Hayley grew up in a small town, Kimball MN. Her parents raised her and her 2 brothers and 4 sisters on their family’s beef farm. She moved to Moorhead to graduate from MSUM with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In Hayley’s free time, she loves being outside in the summer.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting
  • 8+ years in overall accounting experience
  • 4 years of accounts payable experience
  • 4+ years of accounting experience in the hospitality industry

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Sheila Olson

Accountant

Bio

Sheila Olson was born in St. Paul, MN and raised in Eckelson, ND. She graduated from Valley City High School and from NDSU with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Sheila resides in West Fargo, ND with her husband Brad. Sheila has two children, Jared who is married to Sarah, and Cassidy who is a student at NDSU. Sheila also has one granddaughter Taylor who is 9 years old. Sheila enjoys spending time with her family and time at their lake cabin.

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from NDSU.
  • 15+ years of experience in the hospitality industry.
  • 9 years as a Sales Tax Specialist
  • 6 years as a Hotel Accountant
  • Knowledgeable in both Hilton and Marriott systems

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Eric Becker

Accountant

Bio

Eric Becker was born and raised in Valley City, ND and currently resides in Fargo, ND. In his free time, he enjoys catching up on and watching sports, as well as spending time with friends and family.

  • 14+ years in the hospitality industry
  • Experience in Accounts Payable, Sales Tax, Fixed Assets and Development Accounting
  • Knowledgeable in varied accounting systems/software
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Jennifer Strankowski

Accountant

Bio

Madison is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in Washington D.C. where her parents raised her and her two siblings. Madison now lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her boyfriend, Kevin his daughter, Kayli, and their dog, Lexi. When Madison is not working she enjoys crafting, baking and hanging out with her family.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Over 15 years of Accounting Experience
  • 10+ Years in the hospitality industry

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Brandi Holmes

Accountant

Bio

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting
  • Experience in Tax Accounting
  • 10+ Years in Customer Service Experience
  • Working Towards CPA Designation
Nicole Christianson

Nikki Christianson

Accountant

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from MSUM
  • 5+ years of accounting and bookkeeping experience
  • 10+ years of customer service experience including hospitality
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Ryan Lund

Treasury Accountant

Bio

Madison is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in Washington D.C. where her parents raised her and her two siblings. Madison now lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her boyfriend, Kevin his daughter, Kayli, and their dog, Lexi. When Madison is not working she enjoys crafting, baking and hanging out with her family.

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • 10+ years of experience in various accounting roles
  • 7+ years of experience in customer service
Britta Sather

Britta Sather

Treasury Accountant

Bio

Madison is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in Washington D.C. where her parents raised her and her two siblings. Madison now lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her boyfriend, Kevin his daughter, Kayli, and their dog, Lexi. When Madison is not working she enjoys crafting, baking and hanging out with her family.

  • Associate Degree in Human Resources
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management (Spring 2023)
  • Has been a student treasurer for several organizations
  • 5+ years of customer service

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Madison Truby

Area Accountant

Bio

Madison is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in Washington D.C. where her parents raised her and her two siblings. Madison now lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her boyfriend, Kevin his daughter, Kayli, and their dog, Lexi. When Madison is not working she enjoys crafting, baking and hanging out with her family.

  • 8+ years in the Hospitality Industry
  • 2+ years of Accounts Payable experience
  • 5+ years of Hotel Management
  • 10+ Customer Service
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Adele Leslie

Accounting Assistant

Bio

Raised in St. Paul, Virginia; Adele attended Radford University in Radford, VA.

  • 25 years in the Hospitality Industry
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Karen Trautman

Accounts Payable

Bio

Experience in various accounting software Trautman grew up in Jamestown, ND. She currently works and lives in Fargo, ND. Karen likes to spend her free time watching football, movies, and spending time with friends and family.

  • 20+ years of Customer Service
  • 10+ years of experience in Accounts Payable

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Ryan Kinzler

Accounts Payable

Bio

Ryan Kinzler was born in Tucson, AZ. He currently lives in West Fargo, ND with his wife Jenna and son James. Ryan graduated from Minnesota State Community & Technical College with a degree in Business and Criminal Justice. When he isn’t working, he enjoys traveling, watching sports, and spending time with friends & family.

  • Associates Degree in Business Management
  • 15+ years of Customer Service
  • 5+ years of Accounts Payable Experience

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Human Resources

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Jenn Lang

Human Resources Director

Bio

Jenn was born in Nuremberg, Germany while her father served many years in the Army. At a young age they made their way back to Moorhead, Minnesota where Jenn grew up and attended school. She currently lives in Fargo, ND with her domestic partner Mark and their blended family of 3 boys. When Jenn is not working, she is usually watching one of the many sporting events the kids partake in. She also enjoys traveling, crafting, and spending time with family and friends at the lake or on a patio somewhere.

  • 13+ years of HR experience
  • SHRM-CP Certified Professional
  • Successfully completed several continuing education courses
  • Working towards SHRM-CP Certification
  • Serves on the following committees, FMHR, SHRM, Women’s Connect, and United Way of Cass Clay – Emerging Leaders
  • Actively volunteers in the community with several organizations such as, United Way of Cass Clay and Great Plains Food Bank
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Andrea Leedahl

Senior HR Business Partner

Bio

Sarah was born and raised in Staples, Minnesota. She has attended 4 colleges (Central Lakes College, North Dakota State University, Mayville State University, and Bemidji State University) to obtain her three degrees. She now lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband, Chase, and their two cats, Mocha and Luna. She spends her free time hiking, painting, and visiting her parents, sisters, and niblets (commonly known as nieces and nephews) back home.

  • B.S. Hospitality and Tourism Management Degree from NDSU
  • 4+ years of Human Resources experience
  • Board of Visitors Member for 6 years with NDSU College of Human Development and Education
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Julia Lovell

HR Business Partner

Bio

Sarah was born and raised in Staples, Minnesota. She has attended 4 colleges (Central Lakes College, North Dakota State University, Mayville State University, and Bemidji State University) to obtain her three degrees. She now lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband, Chase, and their two cats, Mocha and Luna. She spends her free time hiking, painting, and visiting her parents, sisters, and niblets (commonly known as nieces and nephews) back home.

  • 8+ years of Office Administration, including Executive Assistant and Human Resources Assistant
  • Working towards SHRM Certification
  • 10+ years of Customer Service experience
  • Member of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Fargo-Moorhead Human Resource Association (FMHRA)
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Philip Allen

HR Business Partner

Bio

Sarah was born and raised in Staples, Minnesota. She has attended 4 colleges (Central Lakes College, North Dakota State University, Mayville State University, and Bemidji State University) to obtain her three degrees. She now lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband, Chase, and their two cats, Mocha and Luna. She spends her free time hiking, painting, and visiting her parents, sisters, and niblets (commonly known as nieces and nephews) back home.

  • B.A. Management – Organizations & Human Resources
  • SHRM-CP Certified Professional
  • 11+ years of HR experience
  • Previous memberships included: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Fargo-Moorhead Human Resource Association (FMHRA) and Lakes Area Human Resource Association (LAHRA)
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Jasmine Gibson

Talent Recruiter

Bio

Sarah was born and raised in Staples, Minnesota. She has attended 4 colleges (Central Lakes College, North Dakota State University, Mayville State University, and Bemidji State University) to obtain her three degrees. She now lives in Fargo, North Dakota with her husband, Chase, and their two cats, Mocha and Luna. She spends her free time hiking, painting, and visiting her parents, sisters, and niblets (commonly known as nieces and nephews) back home.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Sales Management
  • 3 years of Human Resources and recruitment experience
  • 7+ years of leadership and team development experience
  • 8+ years of customer service experience

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