Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Why We Go Red" by Kate Howe


The International Pageant’s official platform is the American Heart Association’s GO RED FOR WOMEN campaign.  The red dress has become the iconic symbol of the battle against heart disease and stroke in women.  When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, change can be the cure and February is American Heart Month.  Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S., causing one in three deaths among women each year. 

Education is key!  Over 80% of cardiac and stroke events can be prevented with education and action.  Below is a list of the five things you can do to help prevent heart disease:

(1)    Know your numbers – understand your numbers so you know your risk and can measure your progress as you take steps to change your odds.

(2)    Follow doctor’s orders – whether it’s a prescribed medication or regimen, you should follow your doctor’s orders.

(3)    Get a move on – exercise is one of the most important things you can do change your odds.  Simple changes like walking and taking the stairs can make a huge difference.

(4)    Tweak what you eat – make every bite count!  Choose small portions of lean protein, fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain instead of crash diets and junk food.

(5)    Quit smoking – even if you’ve been a heavy smoker most of your life, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by quitting smoking.

Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain.  Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women.  They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress of simply feeling under the weather – which could put their lives in jeopardy.  Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, which is why it is so important to know the warning signs. 

I have had the opportunity to attend many American Heart Association events throughout my year including black tie galas, walks and luncheons.  At every event you hear incredible stories that touch your heart from the little girl who had open heart surgery at 2 weeks old to the surgeon who chose that line of work because they lost their parents to heart disease. 

Go Protect that Heart and Share the Warning Signs!

Your 2015 Mrs. Minnesota International

Kate Howe


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Platform Tips" by Kate Howe

The International Pageant System is all about the platform.  That is what makes our system so unique and impactful.  We are looking for women who are serious about making an impact about a cause close to their heart.  With the pageant right around the corner, I wanted to pass along some tips I have learned!

Starting with the name, make the title of your platform catchy.  For instance, I named my ‘Ignite the Imagination with Books’.  You want it to be something that the judges will not only remember, but also know what it is about at a high-level.  You want to grab their attention with your title and stand out as much as possible.  Often I would add “Access to New Books for Children in Need” on my paperwork so the judges knew actually what my platform was about. 

Have a 30-second elevator pitch.  You will be asked about your platform in many different settings by many different people.  You want to be able to tell someone in 30 seconds or less what your platform is, why it is important not only to you but also to them and what you are doing to support your platform.  Nothing longer than 30 seconds though.  Spend some time crafting that elevator pitch and memorize it so you can repeat to anyone at any time.  Stats, stats, stats!  Have a list of 10 statistics that you memorize and can pull into any conversation you are having about your platform.  Add a couple statistics to your elevator pitch and you will sound very knowledgeable about your platform. 

Blog…social media…blog…social media…repeat!!  You have to show the judges how serious you are about your platform.  Starting as soon as possible if you haven’t already get on social media, create your own website and start promoting your platform.  I was blogging about twice a week, six months out before the pageant last year.  I blogged about events I was doing to support my platform, statistics about my platform, ways to support my platform, basically anything related to my platform.  You want the judges to be able to look at your social media accounts and website and know in two seconds what your platform is and how serious you are taking it.  Creating a website isn’t as overwhelming as it seems at first.  I knew nothing about creating websites and I created my entire site myself.  It was a lot of work, but so much fun and extremely rewarding when it was complete. 

Have a game plan that includes a strategic marketing plan and be unique!  Have a very specific plan as to what you want to accomplish if you were given the opportunity to be Mrs. Minnesota.  Be specific!  When you list fundraisers you are hosting, give all the details possible – where, when, sponsors, etc.  If you are traveling and speaking out on your platform, list when and where those events will be held.  List all the contacts you are making and what they will be doing to help your platform.  Create something unique that stands out.  For instance, I created a mascot to come with me when I distribute books to kids and developed a smart phone application for parents that promoted the importance of literacy in the first five years. 

You love your platform and it is near and dear to your heart for a reason.  Know that why and get it out as much as possible.  The more the judges know how important your platform is to you the more they will know how serious you will be about sharing it with the world.  Partner closely with your non-profit, get to know them and what their goals are and align them with you.  Working your platform is incredibly rewarding and fun – the sky is the limit…go make your impact!!


Your 2015 Mrs. Minnesota International

Kate Howe











Monday, January 18, 2016

" Magic for Kids" by Kate Howe


I was invited to support the Shriners Hospital for Children by being the main act in a magic show that was part of a fundraiser.  Since 1923, Shriners Hospitals for Children has been providing specialized care to children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, and spinal cord injuries regardless of a family’s ability to pay.  Recognized as one of the world’s greatest philanthropies, Shriners Hospitals for Children has evolved into an international hospital system recognized for its devotion to transforming the lives of children through expert care and research. 

I was paired with the great Patrick Wallace, for the magic show.  Since 1994, Patrick has been entertaining audiences around the world with his magic.  He has helped support such organization as Relay for Life and March of Dimes.  Patrick was extremely entertaining and everyone loved him.  My little boys kept saying ‘wow’ after every act.  After the show, Patrick gave them a book on magic tricks so they can impress their friends someday. 

Patrick and I had to practice before the show.  I was part of the main act where I was going to be cut in half!!  The practicing actually took a while.  It was tricky to figure out how to get in and out of the box, hold my body a certain way and move on certain cues – it was harder than I thought it was going to be!  The best part about it was being sworn to secrecy on how the trick was done and I had many people asking after the show.

The event was a great success and we all ate ice cream afterwards.  I love partnering with the Shriners Hospital and hearing about the children they have helped over the years.  They have been very creative over the years with fundraisers and I am so happy I could help and get cut in half – ha!


Having So Much Fun,

Your 2015 Mrs. Minnesota International

Kate Howe











Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Speaking at Lake City Spark meeting" by Nicole Doyle

I was so happy to be invited to attend the Lake City women’s Spark club meeting to speak about Juvenile Arthritis. It was an honor to share my story along with what I do through out my year as Miss Teen Minnesota International 2015.


Here is a photo of Liz the event organizer and I.


Have a great day,

Nicole Doyle

Miss Teen Minnesota International 2015

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Snowmobiling in the Backcountry" by Nicole Doyle

I am currently having a blast in Colorado, my family and I are staying at our cabin in Grand Lake Colorado. We were lucky enough to have my uncle who lives out here take us on a snowmobile ride! It was so much fun and a total different experience compared to Minnesota snowmobiling!



Happy Holidays,

Nicole Doyle

Miss Teen Minnesota International 2015


Sunday, January 3, 2016

"A White Christmas" by Micole Doyle


Unfortunately most of Minnesota had a not so white Christmas, bringing you joy and A Lot of snow from Colorado!


 Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy Holidays from Miss Teen Minnesota International and Family.



Nicole Doyle

Miss Teen Minnesota International 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

"Happy Holidays to All" from Lillie Imm

I hope you are enjoying this lovely time of year!  I love all the lights, Christmas music and holiday cheer.  The season began back in October for me with rehearsals for “The Nutcracker” ballet.  It was a magical experience and I was amazed at all the beautiful costuming, props and dancers.  But the best part for me was that for the first time my brother, Andrew, and I were in a production together.  I am grateful for the fun memories.

For the past 3 years, I have been organizing a group of students ages preschool through middle school to go Christmas caroling at Gracewood senior living.  Gracewood is an assisted living community and a memory care center.  Many of the residents love to sing along to the songs they know.  I think the crowd favorite is “Angels We Have Heard on High”.  The Christmas caroling always lights up everyone’s spirits and after caroling we all love to eat delicious cookies.  Who doesn’t like a little sugar!  Everyone had tons fun and I can’t wait for Christmas caroling again next year! 

Have a lovely holiday season everyone!

Lillie J

Lillie Imm, Miss Pre-teen Minnesota International 2015




"First Book & DC" by Kate Howe

While out in DC I had the opportunity to stop by First Book’s headquarters.  I have been there before and absolutely love the environment.  There are beautiful murals on the walls in the hallway, stories about the children we have helped and of course books everywhere!  To date, First Book has distributed more than 135 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families.  First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis. 

I was able to sit down with Diana Peacock, who is First Book’s Senior Vice President of Development Alliances.  Diana provides strategic oversight for First Book’s corporate strategic alliance, individual giving and community based fundraising initiatives.  It was very exciting to drop off funds from my corporate partnerships and fundraising efforts.  Diana and I discussed the latest impact report and new fundraising techniques.  I can’t wait to try them out.


The next day we were off to the White House.  It was so nice to be reunited with my sister queens from across the country.  Mrs. DC International, Alegra Woodward, was incredibly sweet and took charge of arranging the tour for us.  At nationals, I made some close friends and it was wonderful to see them again.  I hold such a high respect for these women and all that they have accomplished with their platforms.  It was wonderful to see Mrs. International, Farabe Algor.  She is doing an incredible job as Mrs. International and taking the responsibility very seriously. 

The decorations in the White House were absolutely amazing!  Everywhere I looked there was another elegantly decorated Christmas tree.  I loved the long hallway overlooking the front yard that was filled with snowflakes.  The history, the pictures, the china, the furniture, the stories – it was all so incredible!  One of my favorite areas was seeing the different Christmas cards the Presidents have sent over the years.  Did you know that during the first year of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, the White House received so many Christmas cards that they had to hire a staff just to handle all the incoming mail – ha!


Happy Holidays!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe








Sunday, November 15, 2015

" Highland Friendship Club" By Kate Howe


I was invited to support the Highland Friendship Club at their annual Lanes for Friendship fundraising event.  The mission of the Highland Friendship Club is to serve individuals with disabilities from teens through adulthood by providing a range of opportunities to develop lifelong skills, friendships and connections within their community.  Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins have been huge supporters of the local organization.  I actually got to eat lunch with Joe – it was fun talking to him about his twin girls!


The members of the Highland Friendship Club stole my heart.  It was so much fun talking and bowling with them throughout the event.  Many of them have extremely supportive family members that were there to support them and the organization.  Highland Friendship Club provides countless activities and events for these individuals to participate in ranging from Yoga to Girls Night Out to Fitness Classes.  I absolutely loved hearing about how many of the members have become more confident and social after participating in the events Highland Friendship Club provides.  The best part was having two of the members help me bowl, since I am a horrible bowler!


The event was packed with local celebrities including Tim Mahoney.  I couldn’t help but tell him how my eyes watered during his performance at Target Center for the Tribute to Flip Saunders.  I even bowled next to Paul Monitor.  My Joey would have been in heaven with the room of Minnesota Twins and broadcasters.


One thing that never gets old is walking into a venue as Mrs. Minnesota International, not knowing one single person and walking out with new contacts, new friendships and an amazing new experience that leaves me on top of the world.  I am one lucky girl!


Loving Being Your 2015 Mrs. Minnesota International

Kate Howe