2023 Be Bold UND Women in Leadership Summit
This conference will provide a thought-provoking discussion regarding women in leadership and inspire us all to be bold and become a fearless, determined, leader.
A panel discussion of distinguished UND alumnae and distinguished leaders will kickoff the event, followed by a keynote presentation delivered by Missy Heilman, Founder & Executive Director, BIO Girls.
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Mary Fischer, Director of Sponsorships, UnitedHealth Group
Mary Fischer is Director of Sponsorships for UnitedHealth Group. In her role, Mary is responsible for developing and leveraging strategic partnerships to facilitate business growth and brand advancement. She has provided strategic oversight for hundreds of sponsorships and enjoys being able to combine her love of sports with her business expertise.
Mary serves on the board of Sports Minneapolis and has served on the alumni board of the University of North Dakota School of Business s. In addition, she mentors UND students and is an avid cyclist. She earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of North Dakota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
Cassie Gerhardt, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, UND
Cassie Gerhardt currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of North Dakota. In this role, Cassie provides vision and leadership for student engagement and retention initiatives facilitated by the Memorial Union, Student Involvement & Parent Programs and Wellness & Health Promotion. Cassie also advises Student Government and serves as a liaison with the UND Alumni Association & Foundation in support of the division’s development initiatives.
Cassie graduated from UND in 1996 with Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and Secondary Education. In 1999, she earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Student Personnel from Oklahoma State University and in 2008, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Educational Leadership from UND.
Prior to beginning her current position in 2020, Cassie served UND in various professional positions beginning in 2002 as the Coordinator of Greek Life. Cassie began her professional career at Arizona State University as the Sorority Advisor from 1999 - 2002.
Cassie is an active volunteer for her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and currently serves as a National Vice President and Trustee. She is also actively involved in NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Association of Fraternity | Sorority Advisors.
Cassie is married to Brad Parrish and has two sons, Jack (a freshman at UND) and Alex (a junior in high school).
Sophia Priem, Senior Product Analyst, Optum
Sophia Priem is a Senior Product Analyst at Optum where she focuses on driving growth, sales, and development for Medicare health insurance plans. On a typical workday you can find her collaborating with her colleagues, networking, or working alongside her pug. Before this role, she spent two years in UnitedHealthcare’s Sales Rotational Program.
While Sophia is happy to be living in Minneapolis and away from the Grand Forks wind, she does like to reminisce on her time at UND. She graduated in 2019 from the Nistler college of business and spent her college years involved in Delta Gamma Sorority, DECA, and Marketing Club. She also credits her internship experiences at Bright Health, Nistler College of Business, and UnitedHealthcare with helping her get started in her career.
Outside of work, Sophia does not like to sit still. She enjoys fitness classes, trying new restaurants in the North Loop, and traveling.
Nicole Poolman - COMING SOON!
Missy Heilman, Founder & Executive Director, BIO Girls
A dream to be a mentor for young girls blossomed into thousands of girls increasing their self-esteem annually. Even in her wildest dreams, Missy Heilman could not have predicted the growth and impact BIO Girls continues to have across the Midwest. With a diverse background in business management and marketing, Missy owned her own marketing technology consultancy for 7 years prior to taking on the role of Director of Marketing in 2014 for a fast-growth professional services organization. In 2017, Missy left her full-time (paid) job and started focusing her time on growing BIO Girls.
As the Executive Director of BIO Girls, Missy works to ensure all decisions are mission-centric, serves as the chief program architect, and directs the vision of the organization. Yet her favorite role continues to be Site Director where she works directly with young girls to find their inner worth. Having impacted 10,000 girls in 10 years, BIO Girls has created a movement to provide preventative mental health programming to adolescent girls across the upper Midwest.
A mom to three girls and wife to husband, Tom, (the thrill-seeking, mountain biking aficionado who pushes Missy outside her comfort zone anytime they are on two wheels), Missy balances her time with family duties and a love for adventure. Whether it is traveling (the mountains are calling), mountain biking, running, competing in triathlons or cheering her kids on in their activities, Missy tackles it all with enthusiasm (oh, and she loves 80’s music and a theme party). Missy is a graduate of the University of North Dakota where she competed in Track and Field and earned degrees in Exercise Science and Nutrition. As a recipient of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, Missy went on to earn an MBA from NDSU. Often described as 'fearless', Missy's favorite piece of advice for the young and old alike is not to fear failure.
Favorite Quote: “She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.” — Proverb 31:25