Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting to Know…New International Vice President Marit Kristansen

The lovely Marit Kristiansen moved up to the role of International Vice President at this year's International Convention in San Diego. That convention kicked off a very looong trip for VP Kristiansen, so I was lucky to catch her when she had only just returned. Read on to find out more about this outgoing woman who joined Sons of Norway when she was just 24 years old!

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was born in Norway in a little place called Vaag and that’s in the kommune of Gildeskaal, but I came to Seattle at the age of five.

Q: Why did you join Sons of Norway back in ’68?

A: Because it was a family organization; it was a place where when my husband was working out of town I could go and bring my two daughters. Everyone was so welcoming, it became my social outlet. And of course my Norwegian roots.

Q: How has the organization changed over the past forty years?

A: It has become more informal in its business meetings and ritual. I do like the ritual, I think it gives it meaning. I think s/n has hit a good balance by having various ceremonies so we can choose what suits out lodge best. I think lodges are doing a good job with programming, and it has changed by focusing on better programming.

Q: What made you initially want to get involved with Sons of Norway leadership?

A: At my very first meeting, the secretary was absent so they asked, ‘Marit, can you take minutes? Can you write English?” I like parliamentary procedure and the business aspect. Once I got involved, it was fun. I went through district board and lodge positions and so moved on up.

Q: Any VP initiatives you are considering for the next biennium?

A: The vice president’s work basically focuses on membership. I think where we need to focus is membership retention. We sign them up right and left, but I think we have to focus more on keeping them.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

A: To spend time with the family. I have four grandkids. That, and I like to go dancing. And I like play my accordion.

Q: Best vacation? Why?

A: I think the best vacation I had was when my husband and I (back in ‘85) spent two months traveling. We went to London and Aberdeen, then flew to Nice and took a cruise in the Mediterranean and spent some days in Venice and Paris. Then up to Norway. That was the best – that one stands out because we saw so much we hadn’t seen before.

Q: Favorite Norwegian food?

A: Homemade bread with gjetost. I can’t live without my gjetost!

Q: Top convention memory from any convention?

A: Perhaps the one that was meaningful for me was the installation ceremony in Stavanger in Norway. It happened in my husband’s town and my family was there and that they could be present for my installation as international director.

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