Meet Sara Dziuk, our new President & CEO

What do you like to do when you are not working?
I am married with three young children (Addie 8, Sully 6, and Ellie 1), so I live a full life outside of work. We are currently working through our Dziuk Summer of Fun list and find ourselves on outdoor adventures often. Lately, we have been geocaching. This has been a perfect way to explore new parks and trails, stay active, and offers the incentive of a “treasure hunt” to keep the kids motivated.

Why did you return to Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest?
I have always felt connected to the mission and work of JA. When I lived in Mankato after college, JA was my first volunteer experience. After that, I joined the Mankato board and when I moved to the metro, I spent four years working in the organization overseeing JA BizTown, JA Finance Park and all classroom programs. I love that our model incorporates hands-on experiences, leverages the power of community volunteers, and teaches important life lessons for students.

What’s your top priority this coming year?
My top priority will be to embrace our entrepreneurial spirit as an organization and be innovative in our virtual program delivery and volunteer engagement. It is important that we are an equity-focused organization that shares relevant programs with all students, regardless of school or community, and that we meet our students, teachers and volunteers where they are at, especially this year.

What one word best describes you?
I’ll use five to give a better picture of me – Ambitious, Determined, Empathetic, Passionate, Thoughtful

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Integrity. This is the foundation of strong relationships and trust. Doing the right thing for the organization, the team, and the community is always the right answer.

Do you have a mantra or saying that guides your actions?
One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This guides me in my personal and professional life, as I always want to make sure that my actions and words align with the way I value and care for others.

What is something about you that we’d be surprised to know about you?
I’m quite an Escape Room artist – over the past couple years, I have done twenty escape rooms in the Twin Cities. The only room I didn’t escape was one with other executives from my organization (too many cooks in the kitchen). The combination of puzzles and a competitive environment suits me well!

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