North Dakota Change Network cohort announced

Three Minot women selected to participate

Three Minot residents were selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of North Dakota Change Network, a program created by the Bush Foundation to enable North Dakotans to build their self-awareness, leadership abilities, and systems-change skill sets. Jessica Ackerman, Pam Karpenko, and Shannon Schmidt will join 12 other North Dakotans to complete the year-long program.

Ackerman describes herself as a community advocate, passionate volunteer, and positive leader. As managing partner of Aksal Group, LLC, she is embarking on a property redevelopment effort to promote downtown Minot as a core place to live, work, and play.

Karpenko is a longtime Minot resident with roots in the community. As the owner of Mainstream Boutique, she has been able to exercise her passion of strengthening, serving, and celebrating women.

Schmidt is the founder and executive director of Caleb’s Clubhouse, a nonprofit center that was created to serve children of all abilities and their families. Schmidt has a passion for helping others and has made it her personal mission to serve as many children and families as possible through Caleb’s Clubhouse and its one-of-a-kind services.

Through a partnership of National Arts Strategies, Strengthen ND and Vision Maker Media, Change Network will provide a supportive environment to learn the skills needed to enable participants to lead change in a more equitable and inclusive manner. All Change Networks will have access to a $5,000 grant to implement an action plan or support a related ongoing project.

The application period for the second cohort of North Dakota Change Network opens on April 1, 2018. More information about Change Network can be found at