BISMARCK-North Dakota's first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum has been named one of seven new members to the board of directors of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
Helgaas Burgum's priority is supporting and developing initiatives for fighting addiction in North Dakota's communities. In long-term recovery for 15 years, she has been using her personal experience to help others battling addiction and to address what she believes is a statewide crisis.
"We are excited to have such talented, experienced and diverse individuals joining our board, all of whom are committed to our mission of helping individuals, families and communities overcome addiction," said Mark Mishek, president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the nation's leading nonprofit provider of addiction treatment and recovery resources.
"Our new board members represent a great cross-section of expertise, professional backgrounds and geography, and we are grateful to have their leadership."
Helgaas Burgum is working to erase the social stigma around addiction and spread the word that it's a chronic disease, not a character flaw. The second youngest of four children, she grew up in Jamestown, where her family was in the John Deere business for more than 35 years. She held her first job at the family business working in the parts department.
Helgaas Burgum is chairing a seven-member advisory council that will guide the efforts of a new Office of Recovery Reinvented, launched recently in North Dakota. This office, which was created through an executive order, aims to promote "strategic and innovative efforts to eliminate the shame and stigma associated with the disease of addiction."
Earning her undergraduate degree in retail business at Arizona State University, Helgaas Burgum also has a Master of Business Administration degree in human resources from the University of North Texas.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's 25-member board meets quarterly to provide governing oversight for the organization's wide-ranging activities. Its first meeting of 2018 was Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
New board members
Seven new members, including North Dakota's first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, have been named to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's 25-member board. Here is a snapshot of the other six new board members:
• Ruth Barker is a small business owner in Dedham, Mass., an active leader in a variety of civic and cultural organizations, and a former employee and longtime leader and supporter of FCD Prevention Works, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's prevention arm based in Boston.
• Thomas A. Bradley recently retired from Allied World Assurance Company Holding, AG in New York City, where he had been the chief financial officer and executive vice president since 2012.
• Paul W. (Bill) Parker is the vice chairman and chief risk officer of U.S. Bancorp, where he has worked since 1984. Parker also serves on the boards for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Como Friends, both in St. Paul, and Summit Academy in Minneapolis.
• John Power Sr. is a founding partner of Farley White Interests, a commercial real estate investment and development firm based in Boston. He has served on numerous boards, including as trustee of Merrimack Repertory Theater and board co-chairman for The Lowell Plan, a nonprofit focused on economic development.
• Robert (Rob) E. Reifschneider is the retired senior vice president of Manchester Tank & Equipment Co., a company owned by his family since 1946. Reifschneider founded the Sigma Chi/Betty Ford Alliance and has provided leadership to Betty Ford Center activities in various capacities since 2005.
• Quint Studer is the founder of the Studer Community Institute, a nonprofit research-based entity committed to improving quality of life, and one of the leading thinkers and strategists in the health care field. Studer serves as "entrepreneur in residence" for the University of West Florida, and his institute is focused on early brain development, small business growth and community engagement.