Mother and daughter weave family values, leadership into their livesFARGO - Tap into the Corwin-Hasbargen gene pool and you will likely find leadership embedded in the DNA. Patty Corwin and her daughter Katie Corwin Hasbargen wove their family principles into nearly every aspect of their personal and professional lives.
By: Merrie Sue Holtan, INFORUM
FARGO - Tap into the Corwin-Hasbargen gene pool and you will likely find leadership embedded in the DNA.
Patty Corwin and her daughter Katie Corwin Hasbargen wove their family principles into nearly every aspect of their personal and professional lives.
Corwin, a senior lecturer in the Sociology Department at North Dakota State University, and Hasbargen, the senior communications manager at Microsoft in Fargo used their support network and strong principles to lead a balanced life.
Those principles include:
• Always do the right thing.
• Make the world a better place
• The harder you work, the luckier you get.
• Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.
Corwin’s journey – ups and downs
Corwin estimates she has taught more than 50,000 students since 1979. Prior to teaching, she served as a police detective working with juveniles in the Fargo Police Department. As a popular motivational speaker and consultant, Corwin blends research-driven strategies with storytelling and covers topics in business and personal development.
Her mother and role model, Mildred Arneson, a teacher by profession, also taught her family to be responsible citizens.“Our early American culture was based on the twin principles of individualism and community, and over the years we’ve lost some of our sense of community,” says Corwin. “We need to remember the importance of community.”
A service-learning philosophy provides a foundation for Corwin’s NDSU classes. In 1990, she arranged for volunteers from her sociology class to assist at the Salvation Army. Overwhelmed with volunteers, she found additional sites, and she soon became one of NDSU’s strongest promoters of service learning.
NDSU students now complete up to 80,000 hours of service per semester. Corwin earned several awards including Blue Key Doctor of Service and the 2011 Great Plains Sociological Association Award for Excellence in Service. In 2006, she was named one of the 40 most powerful women in Fargo as part of a Forum series.
But the road hasn’t been without bumps for the Corwin family. She needed all of her courage and creativity when she divorced and became a single mom to Katie, then 5, and her son, Ben, then 3.
“I’d like to call it ‘creative deprivation,’ ” Corwin says. “We were left with limited financial resources. We began by living frugally on my teaching salary, while I became a motivational speaker and corporate trainer.”
“I always referred back to family principles,” Corwin says. “I knew I wanted to raise healthy children, with a lot of love, attention and limits. I have to give my kids credit. They didn’t complain and learned how to save versus spend.”
Hasbargen’s journey – carrying the torch
“That’s probably why I’m not a shopper and hardly know my way to the mall,” jokes Katie Hasbargen, wife to Matt Hasbargen, who farms near Breckenridge, Minn., and mom to Alexander, 9, and Nicholas, 7.
In elementary school, Hasbargen took music lessons, read like crazy and organized the neighborhood kids on the playground, Corwin says. By ninth grade, Hasbargen started to hit her leadership stride and was named the most Outstanding Ninth Grade Girl by her teachers. As a senior at Fargo North, she received the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Best Citizen Award and the Most Outstanding Leader award. Her activities included speech and debate, varsity basketball and tennis.
“A focus on academics and solid family and faith-based principles were important influences on my life,” Hasbargen says. “A college education was a given, not an option.”
After high school, Hasbargen chose Concordia College and didn’t consider NDSU because she says “everyone, and I mean everyone, knew my mom at NDSU.” She received a Concordia Faculty Scholarship and majored in communication and business administration, with a minor in English writing. She didn’t slow down and took on more leadership roles.
“Concordia gave me opportunities, and I focused my energy on student government and served on various planning committees,” she says. “I was lucky to have friends who cared about academics and leadership.”
Her brother Ben, who lives in Fargo, also attended Concordia and is now the North Dakota representative at IBM.
In 1995, General Electric Capital Fleet Services in Minneapolis hired Hasbargen, where she worked for three years. Hasbargen met Matt, also a Concordia graduate. When they decided to get married in 1998, she accepted a job with Great Plains (now Microsoft), and they moved back to Fargo. Life didn’t slow down.
“Since Matt farms in the summer, I am the go-to parent from April through November.” Hasbargen says. “The boys have been in day care since they were each 5 months old. It truly does take a village. My mom is a very involved grandma, and everyone pitched in when I began my Ph.D. (at NDSU). I earned it in 2011 and wouldn’t have been able to do it without friends and family.”
In her spare time, Hasbargen cooks and gardens, and is an involved community member. She serves on a number of boards including the YWCA, Historic Fargo Theatre and the FMWF Chamber of Commerce. She received the Microsoft Business Solutions Leadership Award in 2010 and is grateful to work for a company that values community service.
“I take my kids with me to volunteer whenever possible,” says Hasbargen “They ask lots of questions, and it’s important to us that they grow up being aware and giving back.”
In the Hasbargen house, The Forum sits open on the kitchen table. The family looks at articles together every morning discussing local, national and global stories and issues.
“Parenting is making good use of those ‘teaching moments’ that happen all the time,” Hasbargen says.
She credits much of her success to her mom, who is her best friend and role model.
“It’s been so fun watching Ben and Katie grow up,” Corwin says. “It takes a support network and strong principles to create a balanced life. As my grandmother said, ‘If you don’t try to make the world a better place, in the final analysis your life won’t mean as much.’ ”
Merrie Sue Holtan is a regular contributor to SheSays. She lives near Perham, Minn., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.