Courage & Arctic Exploration: Reflections from the 2018 Women’s Leadership Health TRUST Forum

This year, I attended my first-ever Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Forum, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Wednesday, April 11, along with my colleague and TRUST member, Hyedi Nelson. The TRUST is a highly-regarded professional network for women in health care, which was founded in the Twin Cities nearly 40 years ago. The Forum is a celebration of TRUST members’ hard work over the past year, and honors many of the incredible women in the local health space. This year’s theme was courage, a topic that is fresh in women’s minds as our society grapples with issues around gender equality.

Immediately upon arriving at the Forum, I was blown away by the sound of hundreds of women conversing, networking, sharing in each other’s goal and challenges echoing throughout the space. This was just the beginning of the inspiration flowing throughout the event.

After everyone sat down and shared a meal together, the evening’s keynote speaker, Ann Bancroft, took the stage to share her incredible life’s journey as an Arctic and Antarctic explorer. All along the way, people have questioned why she’s interested in going on such wacky adventures, and yet she had the courage to never waver from pursuing her passion and interests.

Ann has successfully broken records and barriers as the first female Arctic explorer, and has worked tirelessly to educate and inspire a new generation of explorers. She recently co-founded the Access Water initiative with fellow explorer Liv Arnesen, bringing awareness to water quality and social issues by traveling along rivers on six continents, engaging with local communities along the way.

A few key takeaways from her speech include:

  • Use everything at your disposal — all of your talents, skills, interests, passions and experiences — in your day-to-day work: you never know when it will come in handy.
  • Sometimes blazing a trail is a difficult endeavor, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it.
  • There is great freedom in teamwork: everyone is working together toward a shared goal, but they don’t all need to arrive at the finish line in the same manner.

The theme of courage is also apparent in our work every day as women in the Minnesota health industry. In our changing landscape, stepping up and having our voices heard is more important than ever. I am proud to be a part of our state’s health community and am excited to see what we will accomplish together before the next TRUST Forum in 2019.

Johanna Holub is a member of the Bellmont Partners Health Practice Group. For more information about the Health Practice Group, visit

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