It’s that time of year where we need you to vote for open positions on the Board of Directors. Each year, the Society selects a portion of its Board of Directors through its annual elections. There will be four Board of Director positions, as well as the offices of President and Secretary open to be elected in the upcoming annual elections. The candidates with the top number of votes will be elected to a 2-year term.
Voting will begin on November 7th and end on November 14th. An email notification will be sent to all members with login information for the ballot. Mailed ballots will be sent to any member without a valid email address.
Below is the slate of members on the ballot for the upcoming election to the chapter board of directors along with a brief biography of each candidate so you can get to know each candidate up for election.
Office of President (1 position open)
Shirleen Hoffman is running for re-election as our societies president. She is a professional genealogist focusing on Minnesota and Wisconsin research. A Minnesota Genealogical Society and Germanic Genealogical Society member and speaker, she has been published in Minnesota Genealogist and the Germanic Genealogy Journal and has studied at several major genealogical institutes. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is the APG Northland Chapter Liaison.
Office of Secretary (1 position open)
Gary Ball-Kilbourne is an experienced researcher, educator, writer, and editor. He has been a member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society since 2014, and a director since 2021, serving on MGS’s Education Committee. Located in Fargo, North Dakota, many of his personal and client research projects involve western Minnesota. Gary is a board-Certified Genealogist®, and serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and as editor of BCG’s OnBoard. He teaches in the Boston University genealogy program and with the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and volunteers on the SLIG Committee as its wordsmith. He has published in Minnesota Genealogist, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and elsewhere. Gary holds a PhD in religion from Vanderbilt University, and in his previous career was a pastor and publishing executive. He enjoys spending time with his wife, two grown sons, three grandchildren, and a feisty Chihuahua.
Board of Directors (4 positions open)
Caroline Cochrane Stroh is a longtime member of MGS and has served as a library volunteer and a current member of the North Star Conference Planning Committee. She has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, but her proudest academic achievement is completing the Boston University Genealogical Certificate Program. She has been employed for 20 years as the production manager of a high school theater program. In that role, she manages scheduling, ticketing, parent communication, and staff, as well as publicity and program design. Caroline is looking forward to bringing her organizational skills and passion for genealogy to the MGS Board. She is most interested in education and programming, as well as the continued excellence of the North Star Conference.
MiaSierra has been volunteering at the library since March of this year. She greatly enjoyed helping out at the library and most recently with the North Star event. She is currently enrolled at Boston University in the Genealogical Research program, as she loves all things genealogy and hope to work professionally in the field. There is plenty to learn about family history and MGS is a lovely and wonderful place, rich and comprehensive in research material. She’s excited to contribute to preserving all that the library has to offer!
Shannon was born in Elmhurst, Illinois and moved up here when she was about 19. As her son grew up she grew more interested in her son’s heritage. Her mother had started on family history in the past and she found it interesting. When her mother took the Ancestry DNA testing along with her dad she was intrigued by the results and took the test herself. Genealogy was a way to use that knowledge she had acquired and acquire more, not only in history, but her family history as well.
This started her down a path that led her to MGS. She didn’t know the organization existed until her son started going to school and one day she stopped in to explore and then joined the next day. When she was speaking with one of the older members, they convinced her to join a committee that they were chair of, and to also volunteer. I was hooked! Since then she has been an active volunteer, served on a few committees, currently serves on the library committee, and also works as the Library Volunteer Coordinator.
She is currently living in Hastings, with her husband and son and his fiance. She also has a beautiful Lhasa Apso/Maltese puppy Pepper and her son’s dog Domino, and their cats. Yes, she loves animals as well.
She hopes to be elected to help make MGS better and help to work on expanding our networks and membership. She loves helping people with their research and seeing the joy on their faces when they find that last piece of information they needed.
Patricia became interested in genealogy back in the 80’s after attending a Community Ed class taught by Paula Stuart-Warren. She was further hooked after attending the 2015 MGS Conference and officially joining the Society. She belongs to the MN Canadian Interest Group and the MGS DNA Interest Group. This past year she worked on the 2022 North Star Conference Committee as the coordinator of the conference door prizes.
Her professional background includes 15 years as a Contract Manager for a local Defense Contractor and 15 years as a Project Manager in the Health Care Insurance industry. Besides genealogy her other passion is gardening with her husband and their Yellow Labrador and Schipperke on a three quarter acre property of oaks, evergreens and other shade loving perennials.