Fargo Business Women’s Circles: Meet the facilitators

Back in April, we filled you in on something exciting and new coming to the Fargo Moorhead community: The Business Women’s Circle. As a refresher, the BWC is made up of two circles: the Executive Circle, and the Owners Circle. Within each circle, 12 women at most come together once a month to share ideas, gain insight from each other, and form lasting friendships, to name a few.

Well now we’re super excited to tell you more about our Fargo facilitators: Jodi Heilman and Tamara Anderson.

jodiJodi Heilman serves as the facilitator for the Executive Circle. Jodi earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences at Fergus Falls Community College. Next she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead. From there, the rest is history. Jodi started out in broadcast journalism, holding a handful of positions with news companies in the FM area. She ended up writing commercials and realized it made sense for her to switch to marketing and advertising. Jodi followed this path to Sundog in Fargo, where she worked for 12 years as EVP of Creative. She then moved to a career as the SVP of marketing for Bell State Bank and Trust in Fargo. Fast forward a couple years, and Jodi has her own business, Coach My Brand. Clients come to Coach My Brand for bold ideas, strategic brand and marketing plans, and unique tactics that sell and compel today’s socially-connected audiences to become their advocates. Jodi is also the creative mastermind behind some of the region’s most successful marketing campaigns, including BOB 95 FM, UCodeGirl and Discovery Benefits, to name a few.

tamaraTamara Anderson is the facilitator for the Owners Circle. Tamara attended The University of North Dakota and earned a degree in marketing & retail management. After college, she found herself working for Lakeshirts, where she ran some of the stores. Through this job, she had an opportunity to attend a Dale Carnegie session. She soon realized she had a passion for Dale Carnegie and their mission. She applied for and was hired as a sales person at Dale Carnegie. Fast forward a few years, and Tamara is now a Dale Carnegie franchise owner here in Fargo. In her position, she works on client relationships, business development and consulting, to name a few.



Eide Bailly: How did you get involved in the BWC?

Jodi: The BWC found me through a common connection through Bell State Bank and Trust in the Twin Cities. I liked the mission of bringing skill and leadership together and combining it with life and home. I also liked the idea of a collaborative environment for women to come together.

Tamara: Jenni Huotari connected me to Lani Basa, the CEO of BWC. I then talked with Lani and got signed up. I was particularly excited to get involved because of the work we could do with small businesses.


EB: What role(s) do you play in the BWC?

JH: We get together once a month and during this time, I help the women set goals, hold them accountable, coach them on how to reach goals and make sure everyone is heard. We all get to learn from each other, make suggestions and share experiences.

TA: I facilitate the business owners circle. At our monthly meetings, I help build traction, develop skill building strategies, and make sure discussions stay focused. I am very excited about goals the women set, and enjoy seeing the women reach these goals I make sure they have a venue where they can talk about business and personal life with other women who understand what they are experiencing.


EB: What part of the BWC excites you most?

JH: First and foremost, I am most excited that women have the ability to access extra training to be successful. I am excited that women have a confidential yet open place to go to discuss challenging issues. It is great that women can feel safe sharing things they usually wouldn’t share with other people. It offers a place to discuss topics you don’t want to bring home at night and gives them someone to talk to that may be going through the same thing.

TA: I am excited to get to know the women and learn about their businesses and why they do what they do. I am excited to help build groundwork for the businesses and to help layout the road map and how to achieve the success they desire.


EB: Do you think that having a small number of participants allowed is beneficial? (Note: 12 is the maximum number of participants per circle.)

JH: I think it is a good number. It allows for enough attention and time. There is more time to focus on achieving goals and getting advice on a one on one basis. Everyone has a chance to speak out and be heard.

TA: There is a large enough amount to provide good dynamic, but it is also small enough to nurture intimacy. It provides women with peers who may understand what each other is going through, but may see it from a different angle and offer unique perspectives. It also allows for the women to form friendships and find cheerleaders and support they be missing.


EB: What is your biggest piece of advice to women in business?

JH: Don’t take things too personally. Step back and take a look at the bigger picture when things seem overwhelming and have perspective. If the problem won’t affect you down the road, let it go and give yourself a break. Tomorrow is always a new day; start new.

TA: Don’t be afraid to take a risk. You can’t plan for everything up front, and you won’t be able to think of everything – but don’t let that deter you. The risk can pay off.


EB: What do you hope attendees take away from this program?

JH: I hope the women are able to take away lifelong confidence and connections.

TA: I hope attendees become more strategic in thinking about growing their business. I hope they find a leadership style that works for them. Lastly, I hope they find a work/life balance and learn how to surround themselves with people who complement their skills.


EB: Why did you want to be involved in BWC?

JH: I would have loved to have an opportunity like this in my own personal career. I’m excited that there will be 3 hours focused on personal growth, mentorship and friends. The bond of women helping women is very appealing to me and I believe it’s very important for women to help other women succeed. I want to help women become successful — whether that’s in the role of president, CEO, etc.

TA: I love the strategy and working on the business. I am excited to see the leadership and individual growth of the women, as well as the different passions each possesses. I want to see women succeed and become business owners. I want to help women see that it’s okay to take a risk.


EB: Why do you think there is value in the BWC coming to Fargo?

JH: It will provide advanced training to maintain or gain momentum in their careers and build confidence and connections to move to the next level. It also provides a new option for training opportunities. Fargo has a lot of advancement opportunities, but women may not feel confident enough to apply. BWC can help build that executive presence and confidence.

TA: It provides a venue for women who own businesses and are in senior positions to continue to grow. Fargo is a vibrant business community, but women’s startups are not known of as much in Fargo.


EB: What kind of impact do you think it will have on the community?

JH: I am hopeful that it will allow more circles to be formed. I hope to see many friendships formed, and more careers propelled forward. I also think it will raise awareness of women helping women achieve dreams and goals.

TA: I think it will bring about faster ramp up and growth. I think word of mouth will continue to grow the program and encourage other women and help them to know they have a support system of other women behind them to support and guide. It would be great if Fargo could be known as a place for women to go to start a business.

To learn more, join us on August 25 at Eide Bailly.


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