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Gelbmann honored for 'Making waves'

Recognized as a “woman of firsts” in the Brainerd lakes area, Cheryl Gelbmann was named recipient of the 2012 Women Making Waves Award.

The award is presented on behalf of the Brainerd Women’s Fund, a committee within the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation committed to creating and supporting programs that empower and enrich the lives of women and girls. Now in its second year, the Women Making Waves Award was spun off from the longstanding Athena Award, given by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, in cooperation with Imgrund Motors, years ago to recognize women making outstanding contributions in the Lakes Area.

Tami Lueck, chair of the Women Making Waves nomination committee, said Gelbmann has made tidal waves in laying the foundation for women in the Brainerd Lakes Area for more than 20 years.

“Not only is Cheryl a wonderful woman, she is also incredibly inspirational in what she has accomplished over the past few decades,” Lueck said in a news release.

In 1987, Gelbmann became the first female president of the Brainerd Area Chamber of Commerce. Since then, she has been active on many chamber committees, business council and teams, including the drive to raise more than $350,000 for the new Chamber Welcome Center on Highway 371 South.

In 1991, Gelbmann and Barb Uppgaard joined then-Commissioner Mary Koep on the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners to constitute Minnesota’s first female majority on a county board. Gelbmann was also named the first woman president of the Brainerd Lakes Rotary when she was elected in 1999.

“Cheryl has definitely been a woman of ‘firsts’ who has helped break the glass ceiling in the Brainerd Area,” said Shelli Urness, who nominated Gelbmann for the honor. “I think this is especially important and makes her so deserving of the award, as we need to inspire women in our area to keep pushing those limits and breaking new ground in business and community scenarios. We also need to list the accomplishments and tell the historical stories of these ‘sisters’ that helped pave the way to more equality.”

Gelbmann is a longtime resident of the Brainerd lakes area and is founder and owner of Impart Educational Associates, a full-service resource for training, conferences and events — serving businesses, associations and government groups. She and husband Jim have also been involved with several nonprofits throughout the lakes area, including the Brainerd Family YMCA, Kinship Partners, Habitat for Humanity, Crisis Line, Rotary, Essentia Health-St Joseph’s Medical Center, Central Lakes College Foundation, League of Women Voters, Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation, and more.

Gelbmann will be recognized and receive her award at an Oct. 13 fundraiser event “An Afternoon in Venice – Encore! Encore!” hosted by the Women’s Fund at Madden’s on Gull Lake.

For more information, go online to, then click on “News and Events” in the upper left corner.

The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (BLACF) is a public charity that attracts and administers charitable funds for the benefit of the local community. Since 1998, BLACF has grown to more than $5 million in assets and awarded more than $2 million in grants to local nonprofits. BLACF is affiliated with the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, which administers more than 550 funds totaling more than $74 million. Learn more at

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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