Annie Harala, 35, Duluth MN

What do you do? (job, community involvement)

Jobs: Public Information Coordinator for the Superior Street Reconstruction, Northeast Minnesota Regional Coordinator for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Involvement: National Trainer Vote Run, lead board chair First Witness Child Advocacy Center, board chair Duluth Community Schools Collaborative. I'm a former member of the Duluth School Board.

How do you spend your free time?

My husband and I practice the art of hygge as often as possible. We love gathering our family and friends in our home to spend time being cozy and connected. I love to cook for the people that I gather or just for us at home. I enjoy taking my dog, Rorygirl, to local dog parks or to the beach. I love to travel, whether it's to Denmark to visit my in-laws or to find a new spot up the shore to explore, I love seeing and experiencing new places. And I love as much time as possible with my niece and nephew.

Tell us about an influential person in your life.

I stand on the shoulders of generations of women that have been bold and have built networks of strong women to support one another. One particular woman was my high school theater director, Liz Larson. Beyond my amazing mom, Liz was one of the people I look back at my formative years and can recognize that she truly saw me for what I was capable of and encouraged me to step out. I learned from her to not hide my voice, to be committed and loving in relationships, to never downplay your age but to rise above expectation through hard work and hustle, and how to speak confidently — even in the face of fear of rejection. Liz invested in so many people in our community, and it is great to see a number of other people leading in our area from her wonderful teaching.

What keeps you in the Twin Ports?

The deep connections I have to the phenomenal people here is why I stay. I love that my family is nearby and that I have built a chosen family of other people committed to living lives centered on hope and justice.

What words of wisdom do you live by?

It's not joy that makes you grateful, it's gratitude that makes you joyful. "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything." — Rainer Maria Rilke