20 Under 40: Abigail Mlinar
Abigail “Abby” Mlinar
Occupation: Feminist activist/marketing consultant/event producer
What do you actually do? I do freelance marketing for various Northland clients. I’m co-producing a first-time festival for feminist empowerment, and I founded and facilitate a feminist nonprofit, For Events and Marketing Needs (FEMN).
Years in your job: One
Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Family: I have the best people around me — a family, for sure — but no spouse or kids of my own.
Community involvement: In addition to my job-like community involvement, I’m also involved in Community Development Commission with the city of Duluth, Leadership Council for Fuse Duluth with the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, co-managing a school board at-large campaign, executive board for the Duluth DFL, American Association of University Women member, Girl Power volunteer, and Feminist Action Collective committees and campaigns.
Native of the area? No
What drew you here? The city! I did go to UMD, but I chose it because I wanted to live in Duluth — the charm, the lake, the ambiance. I chose this home. Again and again. I moved away a couple times for work and for experience, and came back for the same reasons.
Favorite place in the Northland: Park Point. The longest freshwater peninsula — perfect sand and shoreline — it never gets old. This is where I go when I get back to town after being away, and where I go when I have stray thoughts of moving.
How do you spend your free time? With my people. Go for hikes/walks and enjoy the natural world of Duluth. Take trips, enjoy music and refine my library. Dance "like no one’s watching" in my apartment.
How can the Northland retain younger people? Furthering our reputation of progressive values, strengthening our arts community, encouraging business development and getting more press — young people like hip (read: instagramable) places.
Influential person in your life: I have so many influencers and role models, but the most inspiring people of my last year are my Feminist Action Collective team members. These women weren't a part of my life before Nov. 9, 2016, and I owe them so much now.
What is your biggest accomplishment? Accomplishment, for me, is strange. The moments of my life that I'm most proud of are things I never had expected would happen — things I "accomplish," but nevertheless feel like accidents. A few of these are: the creation of the Feminist Action Collective, when Tall Ships Duluth was featured in Snapchat's news, making my favorite musician laugh, Don Ness giving me a high five at Homegrown, being on the Take It With You podcast, surviving a kayak flip in rapids, climbing a volcano through mud and getting the highest honor at my high school’s dance team camp.
Three people – dead or alive – you’d like to have dinner with: Prince, Hillary Clinton, my mom.
Five-year goals: Help great women get elected. Make the Twin Ports even more gender equitable. Always feel like I'm growing.
Where do you see the Twin Ports in the next five to 10 years? Living up to it's history of nationally renowned feminist achievement. Continuing to flourish through maintaining investment in public arts. Attracting even more young professionals via growing the private sector. Being a national leader in homelessness prevention by persisting to improve our housing market.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently? Embarrassingly, I only just read “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For folks who don't know this book, I'm embarrassed because since it was published in 2014, everyone in the feminist community dubbed it a "must-read," which I believed to be true, but didn't act in an appropriately prompt fashion. These claims were 100 percent accurate. It’s seriously the best explanation of the cause I've read in awhile. And it's extremely short. There’s no excuse to wait three years once you see it in person. Now, I've re-read it a few times, and I never re-read anything. I want to memorize it so I can more easily respond to every curious feminist (or hopeful feminist denier) I encounter.
Social media: @femn_abmli on Instagram and Twitter