Interview by Brittany Hustad
Courtney Bergey is the Director of Advancement for Lanesboro Arts, a nonprofit arts organization in Lanesboro, Minn. We wanted to get to know her better, so we asked her a few questions!
What was your first job? Feeding baby calves on the farm where I was raised. I got paid in Gymboree leggings and M&Ms.
What has been your greatest career success? In September 2014 we threw a big community festival to celebrate the completion of our $850,000 Lanesboro Arts Campus campaign, a project aiming to weave the arts into the social and municipal infrastructure of our small town. After intense city council meetings, high pressure grant deadlines, a stressful community planning process, and countless hours of work, seeing the community come together with such pride in our work was the highlight of my career to date!
Describe YNPN in just a few words. It's like a super friendly support group showed up at the nerdy table in a high school cafeteria and they all threw a party (that they planned, fundraised, and marketed themselves, thank you very much).
Have an idea for YNPN? Working in out-state Minnesota, I think it would be great to bring resources and events to different parts of the state outside the metro. I'm one of only a few young nonprofit professionals in my county, so it can be a little isolating. I think urban and rural can learn a lot from each other, so having a connective tissue between the two would be mutually beneficial.
What’s your party trick? You know, that one weird thing you do to impress people … I don't have a party trick, but I really like to play my 1970s country music records when I'm hosting a party. No one makes you feel more welcome than Dolly Parton, in my opinion.
Best advice someone has given you? "Don't fall in love with your own words.” In high school I was a journalism intern at my local newspaper, and my editor uttered this handy phrase to me when I was stuck one day — I had written a sentence that wasn't leading anywhere, but it sounded so good I couldn't bear to delete it. As a grant proposal writer and publicity gal, I've used this advice to avoid getting caught up in the jargon.
Favorite restaurant? The Spud Boy Diner in downtown Lanesboro. It's a vintage 1920s railroad diner car serving up crispy-on-the-outside-juicy-on-the-inside cheeseburgers and homemade pie. It only seats 18 people, but my grandpa and I find room for ourselves to eat lunch there together about once a week in the summer.