Servant Leader

We periodically share interviews of our artists and volunteers, believing our readers will enjoy getting to know our organization through the stories of those who help us advance our mission. The volunteer and board member we are profiling today epitomizes the concept of a ‘servant leader,’ someone who leads collaboratively, and who is focused on the well-being of everyone in the group. Kathy Marker is all about connections and ensuring that people’s needs are met. Her quiet leadership makes a big impact and we’re lucky to have her involved with the Marine Mills Folk School!

What led you to a small town in Minnesota? Originally from Indiana, I did an internship at an environmental education center in northern Minnesota during college. I returned to Minneapolis after graduating to work with the YMCA organization. I knew about the Marine area through some campers I guided, I’d come out to canoe the St. Croix River when I needed a nature ‘fix’. When it was time to raise our family, my husband and I wanted a community where we would know our neighbors, and Marine was our choice.

What made you stay in the area? Well, living in a small rural community requires a commitment, but it has been worth it. We had big commutes but we found excellent day care and have loved seeing our kids form roots, connecting with friends and at school. This community is our family.

Why do you volunteer? It’s part of me! My parents were not big at volunteering but ever since I was a kid I’ve enjoyed helping others. If I see a need, and if I have an interest in the organization or feel a connection, I want to help. I gain from the connections I’m making, and I like knowing I’m helping an organization make an impact.

What in our mission and vision resonates with you?
To support our community and strengthen connections by inviting all people to discover the joy of creating together through traditional arts and crafts.
I’m all about connections and keeping our area strong and vibrant. It was so difficult when the local school district closed our elementary school – that motivated me to join the MMFS board. We want to bring people and families to this great community because once visitors understand how neighbors here watch out for each other and support each other, they’re never going to want to leave.

Irrational fear – darkness (but I’m not too fond of mice, either)
What inspires you – family, friends, community
Favorite breakfast – eggs over easy, hash browns & toast
Recommended book – The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See

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