The Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation is accepting applications for its 2019 Leadership Program. This is an intense, skills building opportunity for anyone who wants to communicate more effectively with others, whether professionally or socially. The networking opportunities developed through relationships with fellow participants, as well as active members in the community are invaluable. We’re sharing our experiences to encourage other community members to sign up for the 2019 cohort.


Ashley Filipovich: The theme of our first Leadership Tomorrow session was “What’s My Style.” We completed a performance preference test and I was categorized as a “relator.” Examples of the “relator” trait are being expressive, communicating and enjoying personal connections. There were some laughs when we separated into tables based on our performance preference because I’m an accountant and was only one of three people at the “relator” table.

Looking back on the 2018 Leadership Tomorrow Program, I have had the privilege of getting to know other members of the cohort more and more each month, as well as meeting community leaders. As a “relator,” this has brought me so much joy, and I have appreciated making these connections. The program has been the main factor in my increased involvement in the community, joining my first nonprofit board, as well as the White Bear Rotary Club. The communication and leadership skills we have learned are tools that I can use in my future endeavors personally and professionally.


Mary Wingfield: The first day of law school our professor said that despite the next four years of classes, our education would continue the rest of our lives. How salient he was. The skills we learned in school are important tools, but without learning the art of team-building and good communication, those tools are devalued. 

I was mayor in Birchwood in the mid-1980s. It was an uneventful term with a group of five people who met once a month to manage the city. It was a long time ago, but I recall the five members stating their thoughts. The majority prevailed. There were no team-building workshops, and consensus building was not mentioned or implemented. Majority ruled, and then we were on to the next issue.

Fast forward 25 years. I was back in office, and we had a number of emotional issues to handle. The decisions were rarely unanimous, and the work was difficult. Again, team-building was not in anyone’s vocabulary. A few years later, I had the privilege of working with a council that had the ability and experience to work through to solutions collectively. The process made our city better and stronger. The issues weren’t any easier than other years, the group just focused on working together first and foremost.


The need for good communication in the workplace or in civil involvement is more critical than ever today. In attending the Leadership Tomorrow program, we have benefited from learning a comprehensive approach to making decisions as well as meeting other community leaders. This networking opportunity has given us a foundation for future endeavors. The program supplies valuable tools for anyone who seeks to improve the value of their community. Please consider joining the 2019 Leadership cohort. You won’t be disappointed. The deadline for applications is Nov. 28. Apply at


Ashley Filipovich is a CPA with Ramsay & Associates, Mahtomedi. Mary Wingfield is mayor of Birchwood Village. For further information, please contact Jackie Reis, 651-408-5412 or


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