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'Great childhood' taught Traci Marciniak qualities to succeed

During her childhood, Traci Marciniak and her family wouldn't have known that she would become the president of the Miller-Dwan Foundation, but she did learn qualities making her an effective leader and hard worker.

Traci Marciniak
Traci Marciniak, president of Miller Dwan Foundation. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

During her childhood, Traci Marciniak and her family wouldn't have known that she would become the president of the Miller-Dwan Foundation, but she did learn qualities making her an effective leader and hard worker.

A close relationship with her parents, loving and involved, as well as with her brother, created an encouraging environment to grow up in, helping her develop vital qualities that enabled her to attain her current position.

"Is it bold to say I had a great childhood?" Marciniak laughed, "I had a great childhood."

High school activities, including playing flute in the band, her main priority, and cheerleading at sporting events, along with her parents' ethics and support, all contributed to her success.

"My parents taught my brother and I about hard work," Marciniak said, "They had a huge impact on me and taught me not to take things for granted."

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After high school, she started on a music major at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, but transferred to the College of St. Scholastica to receive a business degree.

"I had intended to stay here in the area," Marciniak said. "I didn't think I'd end up in health care or the foundation world."

After college, Marciniak set her sights on the Miller-Dwan Foundation. Starting as an administrative assistant at Miller-Dwan, Marciniak worked her way up, eventually becoming the president of the foundation.

"She's done every job in between and excelled at all of them," said Patricia Burns, Marciniak's former boss. "She was definitely a clear and confident decision for the board. I've been working at the foundation for 22 years and I'm fortunate to have 15 of those working with Traci."

Marciniak said she feels pretty fortunate. The small foundation, partly because of its size, had a lot of opportunity for her to grow and expand.

"She has what it takes to do the job," Burns said. "The foundation will thrive under her leadership."

In addition to her successful career, Marciniak volunteers around the community in various organizations. The vice chairwoman of the Lake Superior Fundraising Executives group for a couple of years, Marciniak worked on a program celebrating people and businesses that give back to the community. She is also a relatively new member of the Rotary Club.

Marciniak, a self-proclaimed homebody, spends what spare time she has reading, cooking and growing herbs that she uses in her culinary forays.

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"I like to be at home with my husband and my animals," she said, "I'm pretty low-key."

Though her traits don't scream "adventurous," she does have a daredevil side to her, resulting in her swimming with sharks and riding a high and long zip line. Her next escapade she has decided will be skydiving.

In the future, Marciniak has career and personal plans.

"My goal is to continue moving the foundation forward and impacting health care," Marciniak said. "I feel pretty fulfilled and happy in my personal life. My goal would be to make sure that continues and to do what I can to make sure the people I care about feel the same way."

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