Finding Herself at Home
Stephanie Hoff's life was on pause. She returned to her hometown, but what she found was more than breathing room. She found friends. She found family. She found her memories and her future alive and well in Fergus Falls.
"It wasn't in our life plan to move to Fergus Falls," she says. “But, I rediscovered a community aligned with the life I want to live."
She wanted to know her neighbors, recognize the faces at the grocery store. An opportunity came with the area Chamber of Commerce, and Hoff became the new executive director. Then, a few years later, she assumed a role in communications with Otter Tail Power Company, headquartered in Fergus Falls. Today she serves on the executive team as Director of Communications.
There was something unique about Hoff. She was a woman succeeding in fields dominated by men, and that made her a mentor to other women seeking help to balance work, life, and personal passion projects. Many of these women had hit a wall and needed direction. Big ideas always ended with the question, "How are we going to do this?"
"It's scary." Hoff says, "Especially if you don't know how to answer those questions."
To bolster her mentorship, she enrolled in a professional coaching course on her personal time, spending 10 months and hundreds of hours learning how to ask questions that fostered introspection, that encouraged taking time to understand the person in the mirror rather than a prescribed recipe for success. Meanwhile, the isolation of the pandemic left many alone to their thoughts, and Hoff says some responded to the disruption by working harder than ever.
"All they knew was that running hard and fast felt safer and easier than doing nothing and not knowing – so they kept running."