Dual roles help Ruzicka become a community leader

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

Amber (Jensen) Ruzicka ’09 has always been someone who gets involved.

It started during her undergrad at Minot State University and working for the University’s public information and marketing departments and the Rural Crime and Justice Center, and has continued to her current position as Operations Manager for the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

So becoming Chairwoman for the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network is no surprise.

“I was lucky at Minot State; I was in student government as a student senator, I was the SGA representative for Staff Senate, and I worked in the public information and the marketing office,” she said. “I was very fortunate to be able to learn from everyone. “When I first moved to Bismarck, attending Chamber events or events like that, it was kind of intimidating, I didn’t feel like I fit in. Being in Young Professionals Network helped me have others around me that were feeling the same way. There is such a strong service aspect to it.”

Ruzicka, who majored in broadcasting at Minot State, began her work with the Young Professionals Network while living in Minot, and moved into an ambassador role before being asked to run for the executive level.

“I was a co-leader with the ambassadors and that was the perfect opportunity to help new people get involved in Bismarck-Mandan. Seventy percent of the new people who join are new to the area,” she said. “After a year, I was asked to run for vice president and became chairwoman in May.”

The combination of United Way and Young Professionals Network is a perfect fit. Ruzicka works with area business leaders in much of the same way with the two entities.

“I’ve been able to help get young professionals built up through my work at United Way; I’ve been able to make some good connections,” Ruzicka said. “It was unexpected that I came into a leadership role with YP, but it has certainly helped me make more connections.”

Those connections helped Ruzicka build Women’s United — a service group within the United Way featuring donors that give $500 or more — from a membership total you could count on one hand to nearly 350.

“It has been really exciting to see it grow,” she said. “I now have a steering committee and a subcommittee that plans our fundraising. It’s all about empowering women. We have worked with the backpack program and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, those are our two big projects. A lot of times women want to volunteer, but just don’t know how to get involved. It’s been exciting to oversee all of that.”

The aspect of giving back to the community is what drew Ruzicka to the United Way in the first place.

“The biggest thing is they are a voice in the community,” she said. “The United Way does so many great things for the community. That was something that was missing for me, an opportunity for connection. There are a lot of business leaders who are involved and it’s inspiring to be a part of that community.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 04/01/19   

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