Kelsey Bolton is a member of the 2021 Rising Stars Under 40 recognized by the 7 Rivers Alliance and the River Valley Media Group.
Age as of Sept. 1, 2021: 30
Town of residence: La Crescent
Occupation/company: Continuing Medical Education, Gundersen Health System
Family: 2 beloved rescue dogs, Wesley and Georgia
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I am proud of any time I have been able to take action in the very moment it’s needed and lift others up. Currently my proudest accomplishment is facilitating education about the Afghan refugees who have come to our community and how we, at Gundersen and beyond, can be of service to them.
Please tell us what community and volunteer activities you’re involved with – and why?
I serve on my local library board, support local dog rescues and volunteer on a national professional awards panel in my industry. Recently I have been pursuing opportunities to volunteer with the refugees and attending sessions for the La Crosse Waking Up White Collaborative. I have a hunger for learning, meeting interesting people and becoming a better person. Community involvement and volunteerism are excellent opportunities to do all of those things.
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Tell us what inspired you to be a leader in your organization and in your community.
Since childhood, I have had what my mom calls “an overwhelming sense of justice.” I have a need to find what’s wrong and learn how to fix it, but learned in my youth I’m incapable of doing so on my own. Positive and impactful change happens only through relationships, empathy, and learning from each other, so getting involved in my community was a natural step. Leadership and service are interchangeable.
What advice would you offer younger leaders to aid their success?
Never grow up, in context of the phrase, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You get to keep choosing and evolving that answer, and what’s right for you today may not fit 10 years from now. Personal growth is the key to successful, compassionate leadership.
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