(Article and photograph courtesy of the Concordia Marketing and Communications Office)
Blake Kragnes '20
Sport: Football (2019 MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention)
Major: Business with concentrations in Healthcare Leadership and Long-Term Care Administration
What drew you to the field of long-term care?
Healthcare gives me the opportunity to fulfill my personal aspirations to help and serve all people. Healthcare adds longevity to the lives of many, allows people to have fulfillment by reaching their purpose, and influences the everyday lives of all individuals in the world. Strong teamwork abilities, hard work, and commitment to excellence will drive my passion to help and serve people, as well as will allow me to find gratification in the work I do.
How have you been BREWing since graduation?
Since graduation, I have had the unique opportunity to be a part of the long-term care industry during a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has severe implications on the long-term care industry; however, the lessons learned from Concordia have prepared me to better navigate these tough everchanging times.
What aspect of your Concordia education has been most helpful in your new role so far?
Throughout my time at Concordia, I had the great opportunity to learn from two decorated leaders every day in the classroom. Professor Shelly Gompf and Dr. Dan Anderson put in endless hours of work and preparation to assure their students are best prepared to positively impact the affairs of the healthcare industry and the world. Professor Gompf's and Dr. Anderson's classes allow students the opportunity to learn book material, hear from professionals in the field of healthcare, and apply our learned knowledge through case studies, projects, and real-world applications. Professor Gompf and Dr. Anderson are the reason I am in my career today and I could not be more thankful for the shared insight and knowledge they shared with me in my four years at Concordia College.
Would you choose Concordia again? If yes, why?
Choosing Concordia was the best decision I have ever made. From the first day of college to the last, I was able to develop relationships that will last a lifetime. These relationships were all made possible because of the atmosphere at Concordia College. No matter where you are at or who you are around, everyone is friendly and seems to get along.
Do you have a favorite Concordia memory?
Through my time at Concordia, I experienced many great memories in my four years. I would say one memory that will stick with me forever is all of the relationships I developed with teammates, classmates, professors, and coaches. The overall welcoming atmosphere of Concordia is what really made my four years so memorable.
How valuable were your internship experiences?
My internships were extremely valuable. During my time at Concordia, I had a tremendous opportunity to have two 500-hour internships. My first internship was at Perham Health with Chuck Hofius and his team. This internship helped me gain an understanding of operations within a hospital and also the vital role a healthcare organization plays in a small town. My second internship was at Ecumen in Detroit Lakes with Danielle Olson '10 and her team. This internship was during the pandemic, which allowed me the opportunity to learn the importance of open communication, the significance of prior preparation, and the will to adapt to an everchanging environment.
What strengths have you always possessed but were able to grow at Concordia?
One characteristic I was able to grow throughout my time at Concordia was my leadership abilities. While at Concordia I was a part of the Cobber Football team, which has a strong tradition of excellence and a lot of pride. During my time with the football team, I was able to develop strong relationships with teammates and also learn leadership qualities from one of the best leaders, Coach Horan. He is a coach, leader, mentor to many of my teammates, and positively impacts the lives of around 130 football players year in and year out. Just some of the many traits of Coach Horan that I admire are his abilities to communicate with players, coaches, and colleagues, lead in an everchanging environment, and relate to all people.
What advice would you give to incoming first-year students on their first day of Orientation?
Be willing to put yourself out there, develop relationships, and build your professional network. These are the relationships that will catapult you into your career and allow you to find success and fulfillment in the work you choose.