Class of 2007
Sandy Bromenschenkel helped launch text messaging in the St. Cloud area as vice president of consumer solutions for Northern PCS.
What are you doing now?
I am general manager for a Minnesota-owned home care company, Home Instead Senior Care. I am responsible for operations of two locations: Waite Park and Andover. We focus on helping seniors with their daily activities of living, so they are likely to remain in their own homes.
How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?
Being a 5 Under 40 award recipient is an honor and was a very humbling experience as well. Since receiving the award, I have become much more focused and intentional about how I spend my time, allowing me to have a greater impact on fewer things, rather than a little impact on many.
Other big changes since you received the award?
Just after receiving the award, the locally owned and operated company I was working for was acquired. Due to the acquisition, my position was eliminated. Since then, I've been focusing on what I want the next chapter in my life to be. I am very happy, healthy and continue to be a work in progress.
What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?
Optimism and focus on self-improvement. These are the things that we can personally control as individuals to make the community and the world a better place. As we improve ourselves, and focus on what WE can do to make a difference/impact, everything else seems to play out.
Originally ran: January 1, 2008
Sandy Bromenschenkel could have been a motivational speaker in another life. The former vice president of consumer solutions for wireless company Northern PCS is moving to the next phase of her career.
Bromenschenkel focuses on the triumphs of her last position. She led a team that helped launch text messaging in Central Minnesota, and that competed heavily and aggressively as a little fish in a big pond of nationally recognized mobile device companies.
Bromenschenkel also helped develop Northern PCS as an employee-friendly company that's involved in the community. Northern PCS was acquired by Sprint and downsized earlier this year. Bromenschenkel will start working Jan. 1 with Waite Park-based Summit Strategy Group, a wealth management firm, and plans to bring the same enthusiasm, passion and dedication to her new position.
Family: Husband, Brad; sons Zach and Aaron; daughter, Haley.
Education: Degrees from St. Cloud Technical College in advertising and Metropolitan State University in marketing.
Ring tone: A song by Pink.
Favorite Movie: "Shawshank Redemption."
Favorite Book: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Franko.
Favorite color: Green.
Favorite place in your home: The path by the pond in the back yard.
What would you have been voted as during high school?
Most optimistic. I have a hard time dwelling on negativity. I don't like the way it feels to feel negative. In high school ... my friends would always come to me and ask for advice. People in general have a tendency to focus too much on the negativity in the world. There is so much positive that isn't noticed.
You got laid off earlier this year. How did you stay optimistic in a stage like that?
Part of it is staying healthy. I had quite a bit of time to prepare for this. Being in the industry, I knew it would probably happen eventually. But I've had some ups and downs in my life and have always pulled through. I do have a great deal of faith in the Lord and he has always brought me through times of challenges. The way I look at it is the only way to be is positive, because I don't like the alternative and I choose not to go there. There is so much opportunity in this community.
What will you take away from your experience at Northern PCS?
We were really a family. I went to work every day and (was) excited to be there. I had my daily routine; I was excited to see my colleagues; I was excited to see my family. We laughed a lot. There was so much laughing in our office. That's what I'm going to miss the most — the laughing and the celebrating when all our hard work paid off. We worked really hard, but we also played really hard. That's one thing I'll take away from there. I will always be somewhere that's fun because life is just too short.
How did you contribute to that fun-family culture?
People were just themselves. It always seemed that everybody was real accepting. The president of the company said that he wouldn't want to work with people who never did anything wrong, because the company would never get anywhere or grow. The only way we learn is from making mistakes.
How do you think that philosophy has made you a better leader?
I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to admit if I'm wrong or if I've made a mistake, because I know I'm human. Sometimes, we get a little too caught up in what other people think. You can only be who you are, and anything else is selling everybody short, including yourself.
What challenges you?
Figuring out what to focus on. I'm interested in so many things. I know how short life is. I don't want to miss out on anything, and that's where it gets hard. We only have 24 hours in a day, and how do you fit everything?
What kind of leader are you?
I'd like to think I lead by a good example. I'm friendly and I just love people. When I had my team at Northern, there is something about seeing the passion and excitement on people's faces. Not by something that I did, but because of something they achieved.
I love seeing people succeed, and I like to see other people win.
How do you think you helped your employees succeed?
That was something I have to give (former president of Northern PCS) Bill Casto. I learned from him about allowing people to make mistakes. My natural tendency is that if someone has a problem or (is) trying to work something out, I do it for them. I've had to work hard not to, and over the years, I've been able to do that. Just allowing people to make their own decisions is really important, so that when it's a good decision, we celebrate that. And if it's not so good, learn from it. That's why we have teams.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Be a good person in everything you do, and things in life work out eventually.
What do you hope to find in your next job?
Challenge. Other optimistic people. I'd like to find that closeness again that I had with my co-workers and friends at (Northern PCS). Passion.
What would you like people to know about you?
I really love life. I just embrace it. Every day there is something new to notice.
What would people be surprised to know about?
I really like to get my hands dirty — physically. I'm not a girlie girl. I am more so one of the guys. I just like to play hard and I'm not real fussy about primping.
Did you know?
Bromenschenkel is the chairwoman for the United Way board of directors. She also helped jump-start the Imagination Library program, a national program that provides a free book monthly to children from birth to age 5, in the St. Cloud area.