Mark Knutson, Alumni Leading Our Community

Mark Knutson

Director, Fargo Marathon
Finance and Business Administration

"Leadership is about making sure that once you’re in that role, you’re always taking care of people that are helping you."

How well did MSUM prepare you to be the leader you are today?

One of the very first things I did as a freshman was to join a co-ed business fraternity because those were the leaders on campus. By the time I was a sophomore, I was elected vice president of marketing, which was a unique experience for me. I really enjoyed that, met tons of people and really got to know the campus.

How do you cultivate an environment where people feel free to contribute their ideas?

Listening to and respecting people and their input. I think of our police officer, Dave Boe, who’s been with the marathon since year one. I can ask him a question any time and know that I’ll get good solid feedback from him.

What advice would you give someone preparing for a job interview?

The first thing to do is ask yourself why you really want this job. Is it a resume builder or is it the next step for achieving your long-term goal? And then to make sure you know something about the company—something the general public might not know—that you’re interviewing with.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position?

Work hard. Often times when you get to a leadership position you think that’s the pinnacle, but that’s when the real work starts. As a leader that’s when the pressure is on to put all you’ve learned into play and make it work for you.

How do you help yourself continue to grow as a leader?

It can be easy to fall into complacency. I think it’s important to keep challenging yourself by learning and trying new things to keep the fire going, so to speak.