Our Team

We have a top-notch team at Women’s Impact. Meet the team members here:


Our Beautiful Founder – Cris Linnares

International Author, renowned Brazilian Psychotherapist, and successful Emotional and Weight Loss Master Coach, Cris Linnares has quickly become one of the most passionate voices for women and teen wellness and empowerment.

In her personal life, Cris Linnares is the happy, yet imperfect CEO of her family. She is delighted to hold a certification as a “Proud Amateur Mom and Step mom”. In her professional life, she is the Founder and President of Women’s Impact™ and creator of the acclaimed Diva Dance® that has been inspiring women all over the world. Author of several books including Cinderella on the Couch and the award-winning book and social project Beautiful Women of North Dakota™her amazing life story and pioneer work has been featured in Marie Claire, Shape, Women’s Health and other publications.

Read how Women’s Impact began here.


Our Inspiring Director of Operations – LaurelLee Loftsgard

LaurelLee is a passionate and hard working woman from small towns in both North Dakota and Minnesota.

She became involved with Women’s Impact through the help of founder Cris Linnares and it has turned into so much more ever since. Being able to see the foundation from almost it’s start and watching/helping it grow into so much more has been amazing and an honor to be a part of. LaurelLee has been trying to uphold the mission of this empowering organization and pave the way for women to connect and provoke social change in the world.

LaurelLee oversees the operation of Women’s Impact including the website.




Our Sweet Administrator – Allison Leslie

Allison grew up in Kindred, ND. She currently resides in Fargo, ND with her fiancé and Boxer dog, Kaiser. She currently works at The Forum.

In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, decorating her home, art, drinking coffee, and relaxing at the lake.

She has a passion for helping others in times of need or when they just need an extra hand. She lives her life with compassion, kindness, and love. By keeping your head up and heart open you are able to accomplish great things.




Our Extraordinary Designer – Nicole Welle Nere

Nicole joined the WI team in November 2012 as the head blogger of our blog. She loves brainstorming with the other women in the foundation and seeing their dreams come to fruition every time another woman in the community shares how her life was impacted by Women’s Impact. She has since helped with design elements of the new look of Women’s Impact.

Nicole grew up in small town North Dakota and has lived in the Fargo area for the past seven years. She and her husband Christopher have two young sons. Her professional background is in marketing and public relations.

Nicole believes whole0heartedly that Women’s Impact contributes greatly to the solution of empowering women to understand and exercise their own power in a healthy way.  She is always eager to share stories and ideas on the blog, so please contact her at nicole.welle@hotmail.com if you have any inspiration to give.



Our Astonishing Editor – Heidi Shaffer

Heidi lives in Fargo, N.D., where she is a wife and journalist.
The desire to help empower and educate women lead to Heidi’s involvement in Women’s Impact. Through her work as editor of Women’s Impact Magazine, she wants women to realize their skills and abilities and help others achieve their full potential.
Heidi is the Features Editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, where she oversees the women-inspired content of SheSays. She graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a mass communications degree in print and photojournalism. Heidi’s interests include travel, gardening, photography, fashion and pets.



Our Lovely Writer – Kirsten Stromsodt

Kirsten is a wife and journalist living in Fargo.

The chance to help other women reach their personal and professional potential is why Kirsten became involved in Women’s Impact. She understands that sometimes everyone needs a little help or even just a lucky break, and that little acts of kindness pay off big in the now and in the future.

Kirsten is the Deputy Editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. She is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and a native of Mekinock, N.D. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys watching her friends cook and cheering on the UND hockey teams. She also enjoys traveling and gardening with her dad.


Our Beautiful Content Director – Mary Jo Hotzler

Mary Jo is a wife, mom and journalist living in West Fargo, N.D.

The idea of inspiring change and empowering others, especially other women, is what led Mary Jo to Women’s Impact. She has enjoyed working with Chris Linnares on several projects in recent years, including on the Beautiful Women of North Dakota book and newspaper series, and has seen first-hand the powerful impact of women connecting with and supporting other women in our community.

By day, Mary Jo is the director of Forum News Service, a regional news wire service provider housed at Forum Communications in Fargo, N.D. Previously she was the editor of the Grand Forks Herald in Grand Forks, N.D., and worked for more than a decade in various roles at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Mary Jo also worked for Simon & Schuster as a publishing associate for the company’s paperback book division  in New York City prior to finding her way into the North Dakota newspaper world.


Our Amazing Magazine Advertising Director – Amy Fredrickson

Amy lives in West Fargo with her husband Brady and 4 year old son Brenner. Amy is the multi media sales operations director for Forum Communications. She graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a mass communications degree.  Amy enjoys her involvement with Women’s Impact because of her desire to help women succeed and continuously grow and evolve in their lives and careers.




Our Witty Writer –  Tracy Briggs

After working in television and radio for nearly 20 years, Tracy Briggs became the digital content development director for Forum Communications in 2010. In that role, she helps generate blog and video content for FCC’s 40 plus news websites across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Her love of “not camping” led to the development of her own web show, “The Great Indoors with Tracy Briggs” where she celebrates the finer things between 4 walls including cooking, entertaining, decorating and more.

She finds Women’s Impact intriguing because it celebrates the power of connections. Women like to help each other succeed and when a need is made known, the results are inspiring for everyone involved.

In her free time, when she’s not hanging out with her husband Mark, her daughters Laura and Jordan and her crazy dog McKenna, she’s aspiring to either be Carrie Bradshaw or the Dowager Countess of Grantham.


Our Social Media and Community Connection Queen – Vanessa Bourgeois

Vanessa hails from New Orleans, where she once worked for USA Today and owned a downtown deli which she operated before and after Hurricane Katrina. She then moved to Charlottesville, VA with her husband Fred and shared her joie de vivre with Beer Run, a craft beer retail shop, bar and restaurant that was awarded a place on America’s Top 100 Best Beer Bars in 2014. Vanessa cooked, bartended, and hosted events like Mardi Gras for the downtown local favorite. She still pens their newsletter and press releases.

In the summer of 2013, Vanessa moved with her husband to Fargo, ND and has been our social media queen and incredible jack-of-all-trades volunteer since. She brings southern life to our parties and makes a killer gumbo. On the side, Vanessa loves to garden and dreams about it all winter long until summer comes again.


Our Enthusiastic and Incredibly Bright Volunteer – Roz Randorf

At the age of 48, Roz has already  been a wife, a mom, a sister, a daughter , a business owner and a widow.

After meeting Chris Linnares, she was drawn to the Women’s Impact Foundation.  What connects Roz to the WI mission is her passion for the simple idea of giving back – focusing one’s energy and talents for the good of others.  Through her own experience of great joy, heartache and tremendous loss, Roz can empathize and relate with those who are struggling. If, in some small way, she can lift another person’s burden, she will try.

Roz enjoys raising her two sons and and teaching them to, above all else, be kind and always brush their teeth.

Roz has worked in the newspaper industry for over 24 years and is the Advertising Director for Forum Communications in Fargo, N.D. She previously worked as the Advertising Director for the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, MN.


Our Stunning and Animal Loving Volunteer – Jaclyn Hollands

Jaclyn grew up in Frazee, MN. She currently resides in rural Mapleton, ND with her husband Spencer, two dogs, two goats and a small flock of laying hens. Horses will also be joining the farm in the Spring.  She is the Multi-Media Sales Manager at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, friends and animals.  Jaclyn also loves thrifting, auctions and re-purposing junk!
She strongly believes that women can control their own destiny, but that a little help and guidance along the way is key. One small moment in life’s journey can alter its course.  Jaclyn joined Women’s Impact because she loves that WI can be the “small moment” that someone needed to change their life forever!



Our Adventurous Multimedia Journalist – Megan Havig

Megan was born in Minot, ND, and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with her Bachelor degree in Mass Communications in May 2013. She has lived in Peru, California, Kansas City and visited Costa Rica, Italy and Greece. On her agenda for 2014 is a work trip to the Philippines with the nonprofit Unseen Ministries and a whimsical adventure to Ireland with her five best friends (who happen to be her roommates). Megan will try any food put in front of her, and loves hearing and telling the stories of people from all around the world.

Megan began working for Women’s Impact Magazine in college and was drawn to the mission of lifting up women. She has learned that everyone has something to give and something to receive, no matter what season of life they may be in. She looks forward to seeing women lifted up for the betterment of the world.



Our All-Powerful Partner – God

We believe the idea of this foundation and every step taken to bring it to fruition is under the guidance and leadership of God. We praise him for bringing our mission to life!