Tonya Holmstrom joined the Dakota Business Lending Board of Directors in July of 2019 and was recently elected to Chair of the Board in August of 2022.
In 2019, she became a partner in Schmitz-Holmstrom, an accounting firm in Bismarck, ND, with over 15 years of public accounting experience under her belt. She currently serves on several other boards throughout the state, including the Greater North Dakota Chamber, the Missouri Valley YMCA, the University of Jamestown Alumni Association, and the University of Mary’s Gary Tharaldson School of Business.
Q. How did you become involved with the Dakota Business Lending and how has it changed over time?
My involvement with Dakota Business Lending has gradually grown over time. I initially got connected with them in 2018 through their ACTIVATE Women program. Schmitz-Holmstrom presented at the first three sessions on financial statements to help kick off it off. I began to learn more and more about the organization and was later asked to be a part of their Board in 2019. In August of 2022, I was appointed to Chair of the Board.
Q. What are you passionate about?
I love learning…about anything and everything. I love hearing people’s stories and seeing what they are passionate about. It’s important to me to continue to grow my bank of knowledge and have those types of encounters with others. Health and fitness are also a very large part of my life. I love finding ways to fuel my body and feel better. At home, I spend a lot of my free time outdoors, either in my garden or at the lake with family and friends.
Q. How has Dakota Business Lending grown since you joined the Board of Directors?
The growth has been huge. On the loan side, the volume has significantly increased, and more staff have been added to help meet the demand. They’ve expanded into Montana and evolved not just in lending, but in creating additional resources to further assist small businesses. From the Vault to the New Markets Tax Credit program, there’s so many new things going on at Dakota Business Lending. It’s been incredible to see them grow in this way and makes me excited for the future.
Q. Thinking back on your time with Dakota Business Lending so far, what are you most proud of?
The growth that this organization has gone through is incredible, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am amazed at the resiliency and flexibility that the organization had during that time. They truly worked together to help each other and the businesses they serve, all while working from home and navigating any other challenges that arose during that time. They did what they could, and, from an outsiders’ perspective, it was seamless. I’m really proud of all that they have been able to accomplish.
Q. As a women business owner yourself, what words of encouragement do you have for other women business owners throughout ND, MT, and western MN?
You have more power than you think you do. I am always amazed at the incredible things that women can accomplish, all while juggling so many other things (being a wife, mother, business owner, board members, etc.). These experiences give you so many unique capabilities. Find those strengths and use them. Just dive in and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Q. What are you most looking forward to as Chair of the Board?
There’s great leadership and history at Dakota Business Lending, but there are always things that we can learn and small tweaks that we can make. My hope is that I can help shine a light in those places and continue to make those small improvements that will take the organization to the next level. My mother taught me to leave everything better than when you found it, so that’s what I plan to do.
Meet the entire Dakota Business Lending Board of Directors here.