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WATCH NOW: Rising Star MaryAnne Smith

From the COLLECTION: Congrats to the 2022 Rising Stars Under 40 series
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MaryAnne Smith

MaryAnne Smith

MaryAnne Smith

Age as of Sept. 1: 38

Town of Residence: Plainview, MN

Occupation/Company: Youth Workforce Navigator for Bluff Country Collaborative and Workforce Development, Inc.

Family: I am a single mom to three amazing, independent children, ranging from toddler to grade school, who love adventures to the zoo, state parks, and ice cream shops. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment? 

My proudest professional accomplishment is the honor of being recognized as a Rising Star under 40 for my role in the Bluff Country Collaborative. I am proud of each BCC event and program, big and small. The BCC Career and Technical Education (CTE) Exploration Day serves 550-600 students and 24 local businesses. Developing the BCC CNA program through partnership with Minnesota State College Southeast and BCC schools strengthens the workforce for local skilled nursing facilities and more. Coordinating individual student work experience, job shadows, and mock interviews enables youth to get a taste of the "real world" and employers to mentor and guide the future talent pool. Amazing things happen when great people join forces, and I am proud to be part of the Bluff Country Collaborative. 

Please tell us what community and volunteer activities you’re involved with – and why?

I serve on the SE Perkins Consortium Leadership Board as an advocate of Career & Technical Education (CTE) teachers and programs in the Bluff Country Collaborative. I attend local Chambers of Commerce meetings and individual business events. I appreciate meeting people, hearing local community opportunities, and experiencing the unique culture of each company and community. 

Tell us what inspired you to be a leader in your organization and in your community:

Empowering others. Every person is great at something. For me, it’s about empowering others to see their greatness, be confident in themselves, and find joy wherever life leads them. I have a passion for agriculture, teaching, and the rural lifestyle. I believe in the Bluff Country Collaborative and appreciate sharing my passions. I am inspired by the amazing, smart, committed, and forward-thinking group of school and community leaders in the BCC. 

What advice would you offer younger leaders to aid their success?

My advice to younger leaders is to learn from others’ experiences. Live authentically so at the end of the day you can look at yourself in the mirror with integrity. Don't stop until you're proud. Choose to invest time and energy into what brings you strength and leaves you with joy.

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